London (AFP) – Jurgen Klopp described a near perfect Liverpool performance as a “joy to watch” as Mohamed Salah scored for the sixth straight game in a 4-1 thrashing of West Ham at Anfield on Saturday.
Klopp’s men moved up into second in the Premier League by edging a point ahead of bitter rivals Manchester United, who host fourth-placed Chelsea on Sunday, as Emre Can, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane were also on target.
“I don’t think as a manager you can expect a game like this, you can hope for it but it’s very rare you get it. We got it. It was a joy to watch,” said Klopp.
“It was intense, it was aggressive, it was angry, it was full of desire. I saw everything I wish to see in a game of football and it’s not often you see that.”
Salah also drew level with Harry Kane on 23 Premier League goals in an outstanding debut season at Liverpool in the battle for the golden boot.
The Egyptian was inches away from opening the scoring inside three minutes when he struck the post, but did have a hand when Can’s bullet header from Salah’s corner broke the deadlock on 29 minutes for Liverpool’s 100th goal of the season in all competitions.
Salah doubled Liverpool’s lead when he steered a shot into the far corner on his favoured left foot after the break from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s through ball.
Moments later it was Firmino who beat West Ham goalkeeper Adrian to Can’s pass before slotting into an empty net.
Substitute Michail Antonio pulled a goal back for the Hammers just a minute after coming on, but Mane ensured all of Liverpool’s prolific front three were on target when he converted Andrew Robertson’s cross 13 minutes from time.
“We always thought we had a chance of scoring today but we couldn’t keep their front players quiet,” said West Ham boss David Moyes. “Ultimately we are playing against a team in real form.”
– More West Brom woe –
At the other end of the table, promoted Huddersfield and Brighton moved clear of the bottom three.
West Brom are now seven points adrift of safety at the foot of the table as Huddersfield struck twice in eight minutes at the start of the second period through Rajiv van La Parra and Steve Mounie to win 2-1 at the Hawthorns.
Brighton moved up to 12th thanks to Glenn Murray’s double and late goals from Anthony Knockaert and Jurgen Locadia to end Swansea’s 10-match unbeaten run in a 4-1 thrashing that drops the Welsh side back into the relegation zone.
Dwight Gayle also scored twice, but Newcastle failed to back up their stunning win over Manchester United as they blew a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 at Bournemouth. Adam Smith and Dan Gosling struck for the hosts in the final 10 minutes.
Southampton also salvaged a point late on to edge out of the drop zone on goal difference.
Manolo Gabbiadini came off the bench to level in stoppage time and grab a 1-1 draw at Burnley, whose wait since December 12 for a Premier League win continues.
Earlier, Stoke boss Paul Lambert hailed Jack Butland as the “best goalkeeper in Britain” despite an own goal from the England international costing his side the chance to move out of the bottom three in a 1-1 draw at Leicester.
The visitors, who remain 19th, led through Xherdan Shaqiri’s long-range strike until Butland fumbled Marc Albrighton’s cross into his own net 20 minutes from time.
Watford moved into the top half of the table as captain Troy Deeney’s strike 11 minutes from time edge a low quality encounter 1-0 over Everton.
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