Liverpool dominate West Ham to reach League Cup semifinals
EPL

Liverpool dominate West Ham to reach League Cup semifinals

Dec 20, 2023

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Liverpool destroyed West Ham 5-1 on Wednesday to set up a League Cup semi-final against Fulham, easing the frustration of their weekend Premier League stalemate against Manchester United.

Curtis Jones scored twice and Dominik Szoboszlai, Cody Gakpo and Mohamed Salah were also on the scoresheet for Jurgen Klopp’s dominant team, who were trophyless last season.

Liverpool, who host Premier League leaders Arsenal on Saturday with a chance to leapfrog the London side, will face Fulham in the first leg of the two-legged League Cup semi-final in the week beginning January 8.

Middlesbrough will take on Chelsea in the other last-four tie.

No team have won more League Cups than Liverpool, who lifted the trophy for the ninth time in the 2021/22 season.

The Reds had 34 shots against United in Sunday’s Premier League match without finding the net, failing to win at home for the first time this season to their intense frustration.

Manager Jurgen Klopp said he was delighted with his team’s “joyful football” as they once again clicked in front of goal against West Ham.

“We were brave in our positioning, our second ball game was exceptional,” he said.

“It was a really, really good performance from start to finish.

“It is really tough for all of us, there’s a lot of games and the boys played a lot of football already.”

The much-changed home side, with Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the bench and Alisson Becker rested completely, launched wave after wave of attacks, with West Ham struggling to lay a glove on their opponents.

Harvey Elliott blasted over the bar in the 14th minute and Szoboszlai fired wide but the Hungary midfielder gave Liverpool the lead they deserved shortly before the half-hour mark.

It came after Said Benrahma lost the ball carelessly in midfield, squandering a chance for a rare West Ham break.

Dominant Liverpool

Jarell Quansah fed Szoboszlai on the right of the Liverpool attack and he let fly with powerful shot from outside the area that flew into the far corner, giving goalkeeper Alphonse Areola no chance.

The game continued in the same pattern, with West Ham forced to feed off scraps — a familiar feeling for a team who have won just once at Anfield since 1963.

The home side could have doubled their lead in the final moments of the opening period but Gakpo headed narrowly wide following a fine cross from Elliott.

Liverpool had 11 shots in the first 45 minutes to West Ham’s zero.

The London side also had a clutch of star names on the substitutes’ bench, with the impressive Lucas Paqueta and James Ward-Prowse omitted from the starting line-up.

The second half unfolded in a similar way to the first, with Liverpool probing and David Moyes’ men looking toothless.

Darwin Nunez, who started the game without a goal in his past 10 games for Liverpool, got a shot away after wriggling clear in the box but Areola was equal to the task.

However, Jones gave Liverpool a buffer in the 56th minute, firing the ball through Areola’s legs at the near post.

Moyes threw on Paqueta but Klopp countered by bringing on Salah, Alexander-Arnold and Ibrahima Konate.

Liverpool made it 3-0 when Gakpo fired low inside Areola’s right-hand post from the edge of the area following Konate’s charge forward.

Jarrod Bowen pulled one back, cutting inside Quansah and producing a fine curling finish around Caoimhin Kelleher but worse was to come for the hapless visitors.

Salah netted a breakaway goal from Alexander-Arnold’s pass and Jones capped a fine night with his second after dancing through the Hammers defence.

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