LONDON (Reuters) - Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah ended his Premier League goal drought in style by scoring twice as the champions raided the capital again to crush West Ham United 3-1 on Sunday.
Liverpool came to life after a first half almost devoid of goalmouth action at the London Stadium, with Salah providing two superb finishes as Liverpool moved into third spot.
The Egyptian cut in to curl home with his left foot in the 57th minute -- his first league goal since Dec. 19 -- and doubled the lead with a silky close-range finish from a flowing 68th-minute counter-attack.
Substitute Roberto Firmino set up Gini Wijnaldum to tap home Liverpool’s third in the 84th minute before Craig Dawson replied for the hosts with a consolation goal three minutes later.
Thirteen of Liverpool’s last 14 league goals have come in London including three on Thursday down the road at Tottenham Hotspur -- a victory that ended their January slump.
Juergen Klopp’s side have 40 points from 21 games, four behind leaders Manchester City who they host next weekend. West Ham’s first league defeat in seven leaves them on 35 points.
“We scored wonderful goals, all three were unbelievable,” Klopp said. “Maybe in the last week we spoke the right stuff. These players are a good group and are not happy with not being successful. But they remained with the right attitude.”
With Sadio Mane ruled out injured and Firmino left on the bench, the onus was on the league’s top scorer Salah to provide Liverpool’s attacking threat and he delivered with a dazzling second-half display to take his tally to 15 for the season.
Salah managed Liverpool’s only shot on target in an opening period in which Divock Origi had a couple of half chances.
Considering the run West Ham had been on, winning four league games in a row, their approach against a Liverpool side with a patched up defence was surprisingly timid.
They barely created a chance, although Michail Antonio did fire narrowly wide in the 55th minute from Jarrod Bowen’s pass.
Liverpool found their spark when Curtis Jones replaced James Milner who looked mystified with manager Klopp.
But seconds later the switch proved to be a masterstroke as Jones did well to keep possession and play in Salah on the right. The Egyptian then cut in and curled home a superb finish.
Salah’s second was even better. When a West Ham corner came to nothing, Jones spread a long ball out to Xherdan Shaquiri whose first-time diagonal pass was caressed by Salah who then nudged the ball left-footed past Lukasz Fabianski.
Liverpool’s third was an intricate passing move that sliced through the West Ham rearguard before Firmino unselfishly squared for Wijnaldum to score.
Dawson swept home late on but it could not take the gloss off an impressive display by Liverpool.
Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ken Ferris and Pritha Sarkar
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