Liverpool romped to a commanding 4-1 win over West Ham United on Saturday night and there were plenty of talking points from the Premier League clash at the London Stadium.

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We discuss why it wasn’t a perfect Liverpool performance and more in our five talking points below:

Returning Sadio Mane the difference

Mohamed Salah will dominate the headlines after his brace, but he was provided with quality service by one man: Sadio Mane.

Returning early from an hamstring injury, the Senegalese winger was decisive despite clearly not being at 100 per cent.

If his assist for the opener was deft, the second was terrific.

Sadio Mane, West Ham United vs Liverpool, Liverpool F.C., Premier League
West Ham were unable to live with Mane’s (L) pace! (Photo: AFP)

 

Riding two meaty challenges from the typically robust Hammers players and then finding Salah with a pin-point cross was nothing short of brilliant. His directness will always cause defences problems, but the fact that he’s clinical in the final-third gives him an edge over the rest of his teammates.

Let’s not forget, Mane was the Reds’ best player by a country mile last season and one can expect him to put Salah in the shade after the international break concludes.

Alexis Sanchez and Eden Hazard have competition

Alexis Sanchez and Eden Hazard would probably be the first names a fan would respond with when asked who the Premier League’s finest wingers are but along with the Manchester City duo of Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling, Mane and Salah are entering the conversation.

Salah in particular, has outshone some of the league’s leading lights with a flurry of goals (7 so far) this season.

Mohamed Salah, West Ham United vs Liverpool, Premier League, Liverpool F.C.,
Salah’s celebrations are fast becoming a regular sight! (Photo: AFP)

 

The Egyptian has been guilty of profligacy as well, but it’s easy to forget that he’s still only 25 (as is Mane) and the upside for the Liverpool wide-men is immense.

As they continue to play games together, their chemistry is only bound to improve and the Reds should make a strong challenge for the UEFA Champions League spots if their African wingers can stay healthy.

Slaven Bilic next Premier League manager to get the sack?

Even in his post-match interview, West Ham manager Slaven Bilic had an air of resignation. He refused to be drawn on his future but took the blame for the heavy defeat.

The Croatian’s admirable honesty may win him plenty of fans, but at a time when the Hammers are in a crisis, the board may take it a sign to get rid of him.

So far they have backed him publicly, stating that his future will be discussed in the summer but in modern football, such guarantees cannot be taken too seriously.

 

West Ham vs Liverpool, Premier League, West Ham United F.C., Slaven Bilic
It seems unlikely now that Slaven Bilic will remain West Ham boss after the international break (Photo: AFP)

Former Manchester United and Everton boss David Moyes is reportedly being courted by the Hammers, who are on the verge of dropping into the relegation zone after a horrendous start to the season.

Will Bilic become the third Premier League manager to get the sack after Frank de Boer and Craig Shakespeare’s dismissals earlier in the season?

The odds aren’t in the 49-year-old’s favour and crunch talks with West Ham bosses may lead to Bilic’s departure.

Reds’ defensive issues persist despite Dejan Lovren’s absence

Jurgen Klopp sprung a surprise when he benched Dejan Lovren for the tie at the London Stadium and while Ragnar Klavan wasn’t as calamitous as expected, the defender wasn’t exactly tested by a sub-par Hammers offence.

After Andre Ayew hit the post early on, the hosts struggled to fashion clear-cut chances in the first-half and the Reds defence dealt with whatever came their way fairly easily.

Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool F.C., Premier League, West Ham United vs Liverpool
Klopp was understandably happy after the full-time whistle, but he will know his team still needs work! (Photo: AFP)

 

The second-half, however, saw them conceded early on and once again, it was comical defending at its best. Joe Gomez inexplicably chose to hold off Manuel Lanzini instead of clearing a routine cross.

Lanzini would shrug of the the fullback’s challenge to control the ball on his chest and his fine finish would beat Simon Mignolet from a tight angle but the goal was entirely of Liverpool’s making.
How many times have the Reds been irresistible in attack but make schoolboy errors while defending?

Tougher tests than West Ham await Jurgen Klopp’s men and they best shore up their defence if they wish to sustain a serious challenge for the UEFA Champions League spots.

Liverpool make light of Philippe Coutinho and Jordan Henderson’s absence

No Adam Lallana, Philippe Coutinho and Jordan Henderson in midfield yet Liverpool churned out a special performance away from home.

Yes, West Ham aren’t in top gear at the moment but the Hammers beat Tottenham Hotspur in the League Cup not so long ago and away wins in the English top-flight aren’t that easy to come by.

When the trio return, expect the competition for a starting spot to be immense and that augurs well for their prospects this season.

Coutinho and Henderson are confirmed starters for they automatically improve the side and while Lallana isn’t, the Englishman can change the complexion of a game with his fine ball-playing abilities.

In the meantime, the much-maligned Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain delivered a solid performance on his first league start, chipping in with a deserved goal to silence his critics for the moment.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Liverpool F.C., Premier League, West Ham United vs Liverpool
Chamberlain had come under a barrage of criticism after an underwhelming start to his Liverpool career, but seems to have put that behind him! (Photo: AFP0

 

The former Arsenal man was bound to come good sooner rather than later and along with Emre Can and Giorginio Wijnaldum, Liverpool seem to have a healthy reserve in midfield.