0-1, Sturridge 35'. 0-2, Coutinho 57. 0-3, Coutinho 61'. 0-4, Origi 76'.
West Ham United 0-4 Liverpool: Coutinho carves Hammers apart as Reds inch closer to Champions League return

West Ham United 0-4 Liverpool: Coutinho carves Hammers apart as Reds inch closer to Champions League return

Liverpool breezed past West Ham United on Sunday, in a game where the woodwork was struck a staggering five times.

OliverEmmerson
Oliver Emmerson

Philippe Coutinho produced a midfield masterclass, scoring twice and assisting the first as Liverpool thrashed West Ham United 4-0 in East London.

With the pressure firmly on after Arsenal's win at Stoke City on Saturday, Liverpool responded perfectly and now just need to beat relegated Middlesbrough on the final day to secure their top four place. 

Jürgen Klopp brought Daniel Sturridge into the side for his first start since January, with Roberto Firmino ruled out of the matchday squad due to a muscle complaint. Slaven Bilic made two enforced changes after Mark Noble and Cheikhou Kouyate were ruled out until the end of the season.

Diamonds are forever

Setting up in a diamond formation to compliment the strengths of Sturridge alongside partner Divock Origi, the two strikers had to watch on as West Ham had the best early chance of the game, with Sam Byram dragging a shot wide from the right. 

However, Liverpool responded after a while and should have scored when Joel Matip ran free from a Philippe Coutinho corner, his header striking the bar after bouncing into and up off the turf. 

Fernandes and Coutinho then went on to both see shots from range fail to trouble the goalkeepers, before the opener did come thanks to Coutinho.

Sturridge strikes

With Liverpool on the break after Matip broke up a West Ham attack, Coutinho delivered a defence splitting pass to Daniel Sturridge. Having excellently stayed onside, Sturridge showed a level of composure that Liverpool have lacked in recent weeks, rounding Adrian after some quick step-overs to score. 

The first-half drama wasn't over there though, with it now being West Ham's turn to strike the woodwork - twice!

Liverpool were all at sea as a corner found it's way to Andre Ayew at the back post, the Ghanaian inexplicably hitting the post with the goal at his mercy, before doing so again when it bounced kindly to offer him a second chance. 

However, once the second-half got underway the Reds were straight back at it in an attacking sense, Adrian forced into three quickfire saves within the first 100 seconds of the restart. 

First from Origi and then Sturridge and Wijnaldum, the Spanish 'keeper kept the margin at one superbly, but couldn't repeat the feat shortly after.

Coutinho dazzles

Having provided the first, Coutinho scored the second after a magnificent volley from Wijnaldum clanged back off the crossbar. 

James Collins nodded the ball away, only as far as the Brazilian who took the ball under control superbly before firing into the bottom corner. 

He couldn't believe his luck minutes later as two became three, Coutinho scoring again after another incident involving Wijnaldum.

This time at the other end, Wijnaldum looked like he was guilty of a handball as the ball struck his arm whilst he wrestled with Collins in the air, Neil Swarbrick pointing to play on.

With the London Stadium aghast as they cried for a penalty, Liverpool stayed in tune and swept forward at pace, Coutinho eventually the man who would clinically finish, dancing past two defenders before lashing the ball beyond a helpless Adrian. 

Reds keep foot on pedal

With West Ham seeing Collins booked for the protests that inevitably followed Coutinho's second, Liverpool searched for a fourth goal and almost had it as Divock Origi became the fourth to hit the woodwork during the game with a long range effort that struck the bar. 

Origi would be the man that got that fourth goal though, with 15 minutes to go. Superb work from Sturridge saw him breeze past Aaron Cresswell before squaring to Lallana, the ball bouncing off him and Wijnaldum before Origi prodded it in. 

The Reds, playing in a toxic thunder kit that they've found inconsistency in this season, were showing no signs of taking their foot off the gas as the goal difference looked to get a boost, Origi nodding over shortly after getting on the scoresheet. 

It certainly should have been another for Sturridge just after that header as another lapse in concentration from the West Ham defence allowed Origi to break free, the Belgian shooting straight at Adrian rather than playing it across to Sturridge. 

Bilic had made changes to try and resurrect some pride for the Hammers, substitute Robert Snodgrass providing a rare moment of quality from the hosts as he volleyed wide in the dying minutes. 

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