West Ham 0-2 Liverpool: Reds win game in hand to move 19 points clear
(Photo by Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

Liverpool have one hand on the Premier League trophy after dispatching West Ham United at the London Stadium. 

Mohamed Salah gave the Reds the lead from the penalty spot on 35 minutes before teeing-up Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for a decisive second goal early in the second half.

The victory moves Liverpool onto 70 points from 24 matches, with nearest rivals Manchester City languishing on a mere 51. 

Story of the game

It took Liverpool until just past the midpoint of the first half to truly get going, with Andrew Robertson at the heart of their surge.

The full-back saw a dinked effort cleared off the line by Issa Diop before Divock Origi went close to converting his low ball across the six-yard box. 

Shortly afterwards, the increasing pressure told. Roberto Firmino gathered Trent Alexander-Arnold's cross and squared to Origi, who went down under challenge from Issa Diop and debutant Jeremy Ngakia, prompting Jon Moss to point to the spot.

After VAR dismissed any suspicions of a Firmino handball in the buildup, Salah stepped up to drive the penalty beyond Lukasz Fabianski in the last real action of the first half.

It was a lively start to the second period, with Manuel Lanzini squandering a good opportunity to level from the centre of the area following Declan Rice's pinpoint cross just a minute before the ball broke for Firmino around eight yards out and he forced Fabianski into a fine low save on the swivel. 

Both teams had threatened, then, but it was Liverpool who clinically struck.

After the visitors cleared a corner, Jordan Henderson volleyed a pass into a charging sprinting Salah, who composed himself before finding the run of Oxlade-Chamberlain with a supremely accurate outside-of-the-boot ball.

The Englishman shrugged off Lanzini's challenge and coolly slotted the ball into the corner for his sixth goal of the season.

Georginio Wijnaldum then very nearly gifted the Hammers a route back into the game when he inexplicably gave the ball to Lanzini on the edge of his own area. The ball was shuffled to Robert Snodgrass, whose leaning cross-goal effort was pushed around the post by Alisson.

Salah and Origi pursued another, but the former saw a whipped effort strike the post and sent a header wide while the latter was smartly denied by Fabianski when he drilled one goalwards. 

Meanwhile, Rice looked to spark a Hammers rally. There was a heart-in-mouth moment for the white shirts when he weaved through the defence, Alisson parried and Alexander-Arnold, looking to put it behind, crashed the ball off his own post.

And then, with five minutes of normal time remaining, Alisson had to be alert to thwart the midfielder after he connected with a free-kick.

On the whole, though, there was a lack of belief about David Moyes' men, who will look for much-needed points elsewhere. 

Takeaways

Liverpool should wrap-up the title in record time

When Liverpool battled past their archrivals Manchester United earlier this month, it seemed any doubts as to the outcome of the title race had been dismissed.

And now, we have reached the stage of combing the schedule to see when their long-awaited success will be confirmed.

The Reds' staggering advantage means they are within eight wins of securing the title. If they remain relentless, they can seal glory on the defending champions' patch on 4 April, and that's assuming a Manchester City side plagued by inconsistency win all their games up to that point.

United hold the record for the swiftest confirmation, having won the 2001/02 title after 33 games on 14 April. 

That may be just one of a multitude of fresh benchmarks set by this extraordinary team, eyeing up the status of 'invincible centurions'.

They have now beaten every league opponent for the first time in their history.

Alisson is the best goalkeeper in the Premier League

Despite having missed seven games through injury, Alisson now has as many clean sheets as any other goalkeeper in the Premier League. 

Back-to-back golden gloves appear now to be a formality for a 'keeper who, make no mistake, is having to earn each and every one of these shutouts.

He produced four commanding stops here with the air of a man who has mastered his discipline.

It was a display that should not be overlooked as part of a thoroughly impressive team performance. 

Irons must maintain perspective

This performance need not lead to significant introspection in the West Ham camp. In fact, they would do well to move on almost instantly, with a vital home game against Brighton looming at the weekend.

Their next eight matches include clashes with five of the top seven (indeed, a trip to Anfield is on the horizon), but also comprise two 'six-pointers' at the London Stadium, the second of which comes against Southampton on 29 February.

Moyes cannot let defeats such as this sap morale and his side ought to channel most of their energy into more winnable contests ahead of a favourable run-in. 

Man of the match

Mohamed Salah takes it after one of his best away performances of the campaign. A goal, and a dazzling assist ensured Sadio Mane's absence was not felt. 

He will look to add his tally on Saturday when Liverpool welcome Southampton to Anfield. 

VAVEL Logo