Liverpool dominate West Ham to reach League Cup semis
LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — Liverpool destroyed West Ham 5-1 to reach the League Cup semi-finals on Wednesday, 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 all on the scoresheet for Jurgen Klopp’s dominant team.
They join Chelsea, Fulham and Middlesbrough in the last four of the competition.
No team have won more League Cups than Liverpool, who lifted the trophy for the ninth time in the 2021/22 season, and they tore into the visitors from the start at Anfield.
Liverpool, who had 34 shots against United on Sunday without finding the net, 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 the home side 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.
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, who had Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the bench, 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 players on the substitutes’ bench, with 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 Konate surged forward before finding Gakpo, who took a touch on the edge of the box and fired home.
Bowen pulled one back, cutting inside Quansah and producing a fine curling finish but Salah restored the three-goal margin and Jones scored his second of the night to complete the rout.