- West Ham United 2 Liverpool 0
- Antonio nods Hammers ahead
- Can clips crossbar for Reds
- Carroll doubles hosts’ lead
- Noble clears Lucas effort off line
Michail Antonio fired the Hammers in front with a powerful headed effort as West Ham drew first blood at Upton Park after just eight minutes – and they never looked back.
Jurgen Klopp’s men did little to threaten Slaven Bilic’s back line throughout the afternoon in what was a disappointing performance for Liverpool and just nine minutes into the second half, Andy Carroll doubled the hosts’ lead with a header of his own.
The Reds struggled to muster up any attempt to haul themselves back into proceedings and as the rain poured at full-time, the weather reflected the mood in the Liverpool camp as they were well beaten.
The game got off to a slow start under the greying conditions but Upton Park was awoken from its slumber within the first 10 minutes as Antonio headed home an inviting ball from Enner Valencia from close range after outmuscling Nathaniel Clyne at the far post.
A bad start for Liverpool threatened to get worse as Maniel Lanzini powered a ferocious shot from the edge of the box which thundered back of Simon Mignolet’s right-hand post as the Hammers sought to double their advantage in the early exchanges.
Liverpool, though, started to find their rhythm but after the half-hour mark were still waiting to test goalkeeper Adrian in the West Ham net, and Roberto Firmino threatened to do so but the Brazilian could only drag his shot wide after a clever Christian Benteke lay-off.
The Hammers were then forced into a change as Pedro Mba Obiang replaced Argentine Lanzini as he hobbled off with an injury of the thigh issue that plagued the 22-year-old over the busy Christmas period.
As the opening half came to a close Reds midfielder Emre Can saw an effort clip the top of the crossbar after some clever play between Jordan Ibe and Firmino fed the German the ball just inside the Hammers box.
Klopp sent out his side early following the break and the Reds started the second half at a blistering pace and could count themselves a little unlucky to fall two behind in the 54th minute as former Liverpool striker Carroll, who had a quiet opening period, made his presence felt as he powered a header past the onlooking Mignolet.
The Reds then made a double substitution in response, with Adam Lallana and Brad Smith replacing the outgoing Alberto Moreno and Firmino. Dimitri Payet also returned to action, replacing Valencia in attack for the Hammers.
Payet immediately made his presence felt as West Ham almost grabbed a third. The Frenchman played a lovely cushioned pass to left-back Aaron Cresswell as he bombed the the byline to float a ball into Carroll. This time, though, Mignolet was equal to the 26-year-old’s effort, making a fine double save as Liverpool scrambled the ball to safety.
As the rain started to fall, Liverpool’s efforts to haul themselves back into the game picked up momentum and Lucas saw a headed effort cleared off the line by Hammers skipper Mark Noble.
Both managers decided to use their final substitutions with just minutes remaining as Joe Allen replace Mamadou Sakho for Liverpool, and Hammers goalscorer Antonio made way for defender Carl Jenkinson.
Allen had a golden chance to at least put some gloss on the scoreline in added time but his wayward headed effort was as close as the Reds got to a consolation goal as Liverpool were well beaten to kick off the New Year in disappointing fashion.