Suarez scores again, Liverpool beats West Ham 4-1
LIVERPOOL, England (AP)
??Striker Luis Suarez scored his fifth goal in two games as Liverpool beat West Ham 4-1 Saturday to keep the pressure on Arsenal at the top of the Premier League.
??The Uruguay international's shot produced Guy Demel's own-goal just before the interval at Anfield, he won the free kick from which Mamadou Sakho scored his first goal for the club and then added a late goal to calm the nerves after Martin Skrtel had put the ball past his own goalkeeper.
??Suarez came close to claiming the fifth goal but the ball deflected off Joey O'Brien for the third own-goal of the match.
Liverpool moved second in the league, ahead of Chelsea on goal difference.
??Suarez could have had back-to-back hat tricks after getting four in midweek against Norwich. He has scored 26 goals in his last 25 league matches and 11th in the last four games at Anfield, providing further proof that he is central to the Reds' bid to regain Champions League status.
??The only downside to the day was the sight of Steven Gerrard limping off injured midway through the second half, which prompted a period of uncertainty until Suarez's late intervention.
??In the first half, even with playmaker Philippe Coutinho pulling the strings, West Ham appeared to have worked out a way to stifle Liverpool's primary threat.
??The visitors packed central areas with plenty of bodies and if nothing else that restricted the space in which Suarez had to move.
??But even that tactic cannot cut Suarez entirely out of the game.
??Having seen a left-footed chip drift wide, the 26-year-old Suarez was a lively presence in and around the penalty area and had a shot from Gerrard's pass deflected wide before getting in the way of Jordan Henderson's effort after he cut in from the left.
Raheem Sterling provided plenty going forward for Liverpool but not nearly enough in the finishing department. His pace on the diagonal run from the right started to open up the Hammers' defence but his shot failed to trouble Jussi Jaaskelainen.
??That task fell to Suarez, whose angled shot just before the break was not held by the Finn and bounced into the path of Demel who diverted the ball back past his own goalkeeper.
??West Ham could feel slightly aggrieved as it had created the best chance when Modibo Maiga's header was brilliantly tipped over by Simon Mignolet. West Ham also saw Matt Jarvis' cross evade Mignolet and roll through the six-yard area after Johnson had given away possession to George McCartney.
??The goal forced the visitors to be more open after the break but only two minutes in they were further behind.
??James Tomkins went through the back of Suarez and Gerrard's free kick picked out Sakho at the far post.
??The France defender, making his first start since the Nov. 2 defeat at Arsenal, completely fluffed his shot but did just enough to divert it goalward and Collins could not keep it from crossing the line.
??Soon after, Liverpool lost Gerrard to injury as he raced down the inside-right channel.
??West Ham drew confidence from a sharp reflex save by Jaaskelainen to deny Sterling's first-time effort and then got a way back into the game when Skrtel scored his second own-goal in a week after turning Jarvis' header past Mignolet.
??Glen Johnson produced the perfect shot for Suarez to head home at the far post and then the Uruguayan smashed what would have been a second against O'Brien, across goal then home via the crossbar.