It took them a while to get going in 2021 but Premier League defending champions Liverpool marked their return with an all-out 3-1 away win over West Ham on Sunday.
Jump to: Rooney, Giroud, Bruno among the top goals conceded
After running dry on the field for the first 483 minutes of the New Year, the Reds scored six goals in two games after beating Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 last Thursday. These two consecutive victories in London within four days drove Jürgen Klopp’s team back into the hunt for the title and advanced to third place in the table – just four points behind Manchester City at the summit.
Mohamed Salah scored twice against the soaring Hammers, becoming the first Liverpool player since Ian Rush in 1984-85 to score 20 or more goals in four consecutive seasons. The Egyptian striker opened the gate with a decent curling attempt after jumping into the box in the 57th minute, but his second goal of the afternoon is the one that will undoubtedly be remembered for longer.
It started with the Hammers tossing a corner into Liverpool’s penalty area in search of an equalizer and ended 14 seconds later when Salah carefully pushed the ball past Lukasz Fabianski at the other end of the field. In fact, only six clinical touches carried the ball the length of the field and into West Ham’s goal.
𝐉𝐔𝐒𝐓, 𝐖𝐎𝐖! 🔥
– Liverpool FC (@LFC) January 31, 2021
While Trent Alexander-Arnold’s search output to the left wing was excellent on its own, it was quickly eclipsed by Xherdan Shaqiri’s magnificent cross on the toe of Salah for the first time, rocking the observing world with the level of skill shown by everyone involved .
The pass of Trento
The goal of Salah
– ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) January 31, 2021
It’s not the first time Liverpool have torn the Hammers apart on their own turf with a dynamic counterattack goal for Salah. As early as November 2017, it was Sadio Mane who led the lightning attack before giving his strike partner a chance on a plate. After Salah got the ball rolling, the Reds won 4-1 that day.
– Liverpool FC (@LFC) February 1, 2021
Only two teams have scored more counterattack goals than Liverpool (4) this season, with Manchester United and Leeds United both scoring 5 goals in 2020-21. The Reds led the counterattack scorers list last season with a total of 11 points, two more than Leicester City (9) in second place on the 2019-20 list. The remainder of the podium was filled by Chelsea (8) and Tottenham (8) who both finished third.
In terms of all-time record (since the Premier League began in 1992/93), Liverpool have conceded a total of 70 goals. Only Manchester United (72), Manchester City (79) and Tottenham (81) have scored more.
– Stream ESPN FC Daily on ESPN + (US only)
– ESPN + Viewers Guide: Bundesliga, Serie A, MLS, FA Cup and more
There are few better sights in football than a cavalry charge of a counterattack on the field. Here are some of the best the Premier League has seen.
United swept the seagulls aside, Fernandes scoring two goals that night. The second hit was a classic breakaway, with five quick touches carrying the ball from one penalty area to another before the Portuguese midfielder shot home.
Leicester, led by Jamie Vardy, turned the counterattack into such a fine art that it led it to the Premier League title in 2015-16. While Vardy is often the one who puts the finishing touches, this is where he became Perez’s supplier, and the Spaniard applied the simple finish to a devastating attack.
A classic ‘wengerball’ goal, with the Gunners flowing through the retreating Palace defenders in a multitude of silky flicks before Giroud steered home with an impromptu Scorpio rear-wheel volley. Oddly enough, the Frenchman’s masterpiece wasn’t good enough to be named Premier League Goal of the Month at the time, but it won the Puskas Award in 2017.
Another Arsenal classic, this time from the fateful night all of Anfield bowed to a tiny winger. Arshavin scored four goals in a wild 4-4 draw. The Russian’s final goal was the beauty of a counter-attack that came seconds after a Liverpool corner. Nobody looked more surprised than him.
The formidable Rooney-Ronaldo Axis was in full swing when they teamed up to decimate Bolton at Old Trafford. The latter picked up the ball in his own 18-yard box, traded a neat one-two with his cohort, then returned the favor for Rooney of knocking the ball past the goalkeeper.