Antonio and Carroll head Hammers to win over limp Liverpool

Date published: Saturday 2nd January 2016 2:39

Michail Antonio: Celebrates with fellow goalscorer Andy Carroll

Michail Antonio: Celebrates with fellow goalscorer Andy Carroll

Michail Antonio and Andy Carroll scored with headers in either half as West Ham claimed a relatively-straightforward 2-0 win over Liverpool at Upton Park.

The Hammers made a bright start and took the lead after just 10 minutes when Antonio won the ball back in his own area, raced 100 yards up the other end and planted a firm header past Simon Mignolet following a cross on the right from Enner Valencia.

With Liverpool struggling to get a foothold in the game, West Ham could have found themselves 2-0 up when Manuel Lanzini cut inside and saw a dipping shot completely deceive Mignolet but cannon back out off the post.

West Ham continued to have the better of the first half, but the visitors could have been level at half-time when Emre Can saw a curling effort hit the crossbar from outside the area.

Andy Carroll: Celebrates West Ham's second with Mark Noble

The Hammers continued where they left off after the break and doubled their lead on 55 minutes when Mark Noble whipped in a perfect cross from the right and Carroll outjumped Mamadou Sakho to power in a trademark header.

The Hammers brought on Dimitri Payet to a rousing reception following a two-month injury lay-off and although Liverpool finished the stronger, West Ham claimed a comfortable victory.

Carroll proved a thorn in Liverpool’s side all afternoon and did as much as anyone to bring their recent revival to an end.

Carroll, who was let go by former Anfield boss Brendan Rodgers after just 18 months on Merseyside, scored with a trademark header to sink his old club.

The goal clearly meant a lot to the striker as he celebrated wildly, with the Hammers registering back-to-back wins while ending Liverpool’s run of two straight victories.

Liverpool were hugely disappointing and, with just one shoot on target all game, rarely looked capable of getting back into the match after Antonio fired the hosts ahead.

Antonio’s first goal for the club, against Southampton last Monday, had more than a touch of fortune about it after a clearance hit him on the head and flew into the net.

But there was no doubt about his second of the season as the winger thumped in a close-range header from Enner Valencia’s cross after 10 minutes.

Lanzini, back in the West Ham side after a spell out injured, showed what they have been missing recently with a vicious, swerving shot which crashed back off the inside of Mignolet’s post.

Nathaniel Clyne: Holds off Enner Valencia

Unfortunately the Argentinian midfielder, who had been the game’s most influential player, limped off just before half-time with what looked like a recurrence of his thigh injury.

West Ham continued to cause Liverpool problems, though, with Aaron Cresswell’s deflected shot forcing Mignolet to save at his near post.

Liverpool, by contrast, were dismal in attack in the first half, and yet they were inches away from going in level at half-time after Emre Can’s curler from the edge of the area clipped the crossbar.

The visitors emerged for the second half early, presumably with a flea in their ear from frustrated boss Jurgen Klopp.

They attacked with more purpose and Philippe Coutinho fizzed a shot over before Alberto Moreno’s low cross found Christian Benteke, only for the striker to miss his kick in front of goal.

But just as Liverpool threatened to get back into the game Carroll snatched it away from them, rising above Nathaniel Clyne to powerfully nod Noble’s cross past Mignolet and into the back of the net.

Carroll could have piled on the misery with another header from Cresswell’s cross but Mignolet made a fine save.

Liverpool almost pulled one back with 10 minutes remaining but Lucas’ header was cleared off the line by Noble.

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