Football Features

West Ham 0-2 Liverpool: Klopp’s boys overtake Mourinho’s Chelsea – next stop, Invincibles?

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 21:55, 29 January 2020

Liverpool recorded a 15th consecutive Premier League win after running out 2-0 winners at West Ham this evening.

Jurgen Klopp’s runaway league leaders were good for all three points and were seldom tested by a struggling Hammers side with a relegation battle now firmly their focus.

Mohamed Salah would open the scoring from the penalty spot. In the second half, the No.11 would set up Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s goal via an outside-the-boot pass as Liverpool broke from a West Ham corner.

The victory subsequently increases the Reds’ lead over defending champions and second-place Manchester City to an eye-watering 19 points.

As we catch our breath, here are five things we learned from this pulsating encounter.

1. Moyes’ bête noire

Not many can say they’ve managed both of Liverpool’s biggest rivals, but David Moyes can. So it comes as no surprise that he’s not a popular figure among the Anfield faithful. Given his lengthy managerial career, dominated by that spell at Everton, he’s faced the Reds plenty of times but success has been rare.

No side has caused Moyes more anguish, with this being his 17th defeat to the six-time European champions – the most he’s suffered at the hands of a single Premier League team. It’s now just three wins in 28 meetings against Liverpool. This 10.8% win ratio is his worst against any side he’s faced more than once in England’s top division.

2. Beaten ’em all

It’s not a question of if but when Liverpool are crowned English champions for the 19th time. This season will already go down in folklore and tonight saw another club record established. By leaving West Ham with all three points, Jurgen Klopp’s present incarnation become the first Reds side in top-flight history to defeat every league opposition in a single campaign at least once.

The only previous time such a feat was achieved by the Merseyside giants came in 1895/96. Back then, Liverpool were in the second division after being demoted the season prior. They would subsequently achieve promotion after winning the league and five seasons later under the leadership of Tom Watson – who also happens to be Liverpool’s longest-serving manager – a first championship arrived.

3. Capital drought over

Mohamed Salah couldn’t have started his Liverpool journey on a better footing. By sensationally hitting the ground running, the Egyptian forward would establish himself as one of the more feared players in European football. He also enjoyed his trips to London, scoring in each of his first four visits, before enduring a nine-match drought.

That would come to an end this evening in the East End when he stepped up, in the absence of James Milner, to convert a 35th-minute penalty after Issa Diop brought Divock Origi (filling in for the injured Sadio Mane) down when it looked certain the Belgian marksman would test Lukasz Fabianski from six yards out.

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4. Home discomforts

West Ham and relegation battles are nothing new. They’ve suffered two demotions in the Premier League era and there’s no guarantee a third will not be on the horizon. How we got here is disappointing given all the hopes in pre-season of a Hammers side potentially giving the ‘big six’ a run for their money, with many observers feeling they were in the race to be this season’s best of the rest. Instead, Moyes’ brief is to stave off another one way ticket to the Championship.

Their home form needs to improve fast. It’s fair to say the Hammers faithful haven’t exactly warmed to their new surroundings. Upton Park (or the Boleyn Ground) might have had its limitations, but it was home. From their opening 12 league games at the London Stadium this season, West Ham have managed three wins and registered 17 goals and conceding 22, only Norwich City (25) and Southampton (28) have shipped more. The 11 points they’ve accumulated sees them level with the Saints in possessing the worst record of the league’s 20 teams.

5. Move over Mourinho

Such relentless consistency from Liverpool over the past few months has seen them creep into intimidation territory. They are unquestionably first among equals in English football, and their manager Klopp deserves all the praise that comes his way. He’s forged a side approaching immortality. And not many before him – at Anfield, let alone elsewhere – have come anywhere close.

A 41st consecutive Premier League match without suffering defeat sees them move past Jose Mourinho’s first league-winning Chelsea side in the all-time standings regarding this particular achievement. Sitting at the top is Arsenal ‘Invincibles’, who notched 49 (2003-04) before infamously falling short of their half century at Old Trafford. In between that last great Gunners team and Klopp’s boys is Brian Clough’s impressive Nottingham Forest team, who managed 42 successive games unbeaten between 1977 and 1978.

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