Writer: Gavin John Day
Date:Monday December 9 2013
Barclays Premier League
07/12/2013, 3.00pm GMT
Liverpool record handsome back-to-back home victories by dispatching West Ham United 4-1 at Anfield on Saturday afternoon.
Kop boss Brendan Rodgers made just the one enforced change from the side which thumped Norwich City 5-1 on Wednesday night; Mamadou Sakho replacing the unwell Daniel Agger.
Both sides started fairly brightly with the pace of Raheem Sterling causing the Hammers issues down the flanks.
Despite the hosts edging possession and territory it was Simon Mignolet who was forced into the first meaningful save to keep out a powerful Modiba Maiga header.
Liverpool showed plenty of neat, incisive football but without any end product of note until three minutes from the break.
Joe Allen robbed possession from the visitors in midfield before Glen Johnson set Luis Suarez away with a cushioned header.
The Uruguayan's firm, angled drive was initially kept out by Jussi Jaaskelainen but the ball ricocheted in off the unfortunate Guy Demel.
For West Ham further bad luck came at half-time when one former Red replaced another in a change enforced through injury.
Stewart Downing had been hurt by a poor Jon Flanagan challenge in the opening stages and subsequently needed stitches in a nasty Achilles wound, resulting in an appearance for Joe Cole.
Worse was to follow when Liverpool quickly scored a second after the restart via a wicked Steven Gerrard free-kick which was diverted goalwards at the back post by Sakho.
James Collins made a valiant attempt to keep the ball out on the line, under pressure from Martin Skrtel, but he was too late and could only redirect it into the roof of the net anyway.
A surprising change in the momentum followed and it coincided with Gerrard leaving the field after tweaking a hamstring.
The visitors were back in the match courtesy of a second own-goal of the afternoon within 10 minutes of the skipper's departure.
Skrtel, stretching to get to the ball before Maiga, inadvertently directed it past Mignolet after Matt Jarvis had headed Demel's cross back into the danger zone.
Miaga then had a chance to equalise but could only poke wide at the back post following a goalmouth scramble.
Hopes of West Ham earning a positive result were soon dashed though as an unmarked Suarez nodded home an excellent Johnson cross in the 81st minute.
The ex-Ajax man's crucial goal moves him to 14 for the season which is two clear of fellow South American Sergio Aguero at the top of the Premier League scoring charts.
What had been a decent showing by West Ham took a further negative turn when captain Kevin Nolan deservedly received a red card after raking his studs down the back of Jordan Henderson's calf.
A fourth was conceded almost instantly when some neat footwork by Suarez on the edge of the area resulted in a third own-goal of the contest.
This time Joey O'Brien was the luckless player as Suarez's strike deflected off the defender and into the opposite corner of Jaaskelainen's net.
Victory was Liverpool's fifth in a row at Anfield. A run which has seen a phenomenal 20 goals scored.
The three points were also enough to lift the Reds up to second after Chelsea lost at Stoke City and Manchester City drew against Southampton.
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Date:Monday December 9 2013
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