Two brilliant balls from the right wing and two outstanding headers, one of them from former Red Andy Carroll, allowed West Ham United to overpower Liverpool 2-0 in the English Premier League at the Boleyn Ground on Saturday.
Coming off two 1-0 victories and a top-four place well within their sights, Liverpool were handed a physical, mental and tactical lesson by Slaven Bilic's men, who looked in control from minute one to minute 90.
The goals came via two thumping headers – first from Michail Antonio and the second from Carroll – with West Ham moving above Liverpool in the table by two points courtesy the deserved victory.
Scoring goals has been a problem for Liverpool for the bulk of the season, and this was a game where their toothless nature really came to the fore. West Ham controlled the game right from the off, with Jurgen Klopp's decision to play Roberto Firmino, Philippe Coutinho and Jordon Ibe behind Christian Benteke not working at all.
Benteke cut an isolated figure for much of the 90 minutes, with Coutinho or Firmino unable to get into the game, to really have their say. Ibe had a couple of runs down the right, but for the majority was kept pretty quiet as well.
West Ham, though, always looked dangerous, and the opening goal came in the tenth minute of the match, in controversial circumstances.
Alberto Moreno, asked to provide the width down the left, was in the process of putting in a cross from the wings, when Antonio brought the left-back down. Referee Robert Madley, though, did not blow his whistle for a foul when he really should have done, and within 21 seconds, the ball was hitting the back of the net at the other end, with Enner Valencia providing a delightful cross for Antonio to head in.
West Ham nearly went 2-0 ahead soon after when Manuel Lanzini struck the post with Simon Mignolet a mere spectator, while Liverpool also struck the woodwork courtesy a thumping hit from Emre Can.
However, Liverpool were definitely second best in the first half, and despite starting the second 45 with plenty of possession, the game was put to bed by West Ham on 55 minutes. Again it was simple – a cross from Mark what-was-he-doing-there Noble from the right, a brilliant climb from Andy Carroll inside the box and an even better header into the top corner across goal.
It was a particularly sweet goal for the big centre-forward, his first against his former team since leaving Anfield, and Carroll nearly got another as well in the 68th minute, with Mignolet making a smart save off another header from a cross, this time, down the left from Aaron Cresswell.
Klopp made changes in the hope of sparking a comeback, and despite a brief spell of pressure, it was party time for West Ham, with those smiles in the crowd growing even wider when Dimitri Payet made his much-awaited return from injury.