West Ham United 0, Liverpool 4: Champions League return beckons for Reds after Philippe Coutinho leads Hammers drubbing

Frank Dalleres
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Coutinho scored twice as Liverpool climbed to third place (Source: Getty)

West Ham United 0, Liverpool 4

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp warned his team not to take Champions League qualification for granted after they tightened their grip on a top-four finish with a ruthless drubbing of West Ham.

Man of the match Philippe Coutinho netted twice, Daniel Sturridge scored on his first Premier League start since January and fellow striker Divock Origi completed the rout.

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Klopp’s men can clinch a return to Europe’s top competition if they beat already-relegated Middlesbrough in their final fixture on Sunday, but the German insists it is no foregone conclusion.

“It will be difficult. They have nothing to lose while we have everything to win,” said the German, whose team climbed back into third.

“I said in the dressing room immediately after that we have known for weeks that we will have to go until the end, so that’s no problem for us.

West Ham United v Liverpool - Premier League
Sturridge scored on his first league start since January (Source: Getty)

“If we win, we deserve to be in the Champions League, if not, then we don’t deserve it. But counting points before you have them is really silly, so we will not do this.”

West Ham boss Slaven Bilic, whose team are 12th, admitted his relief at completing their last home match of a turbulent first season at the London Stadium.

“It’s been a very difficult one and a very long one,” said Bilic. “We’ve had many obstacles but it wasn’t all about the stadium. We need time to adjust, and we knew that before, but we’ve also had too many injuries.

“That is why I’d like to give credit to the players, because it was very hard. We have achieved our minimum goal and we’re going to benefit from this in the long term.”

Liverpool’s win, which dented Arsenal’s hopes of qualifying for the Champions League for a 20th consecutive season, was rarely in doubt after Sturridge ran onto Coutinho’s through-ball and rounded Adrian.

West Ham United v Liverpool - Premier League
Ayew wasted West Ham's best chance just before half-time (Source: Getty)

West Ham should have equalised just before half-time when Andre Ayew hit the post from two yards out and the visitors punished them with three more goals in the second period.

Coutinho planted a low shot past Adrian on 57 minutes and smashed another from close range moments later.

Origi poked a late fourth after the Hammers goalkeeper had thwarted Adam Lallana.

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