An exquisite lob from Diafra Sakho earned West Ham their second Premier League win of the season as they outplayed Liverpool with a 3-1 victory at Upton Park on Saturday.
The Hammers were 2-0 up after seven minutes as Winston Reid headed in before Diafra Sakho exposed the Reds’ defensive inadequacies once more with a stunning chip.
Mario Balotelli and Adrian were booked following an altercation after the Liverpool striker’s late tackle on the West Ham goalkeeper, who reacted angrily.
The visitors were expected to add to West Ham’s misery and inflict a third home loss of the season after Tottenham and Southampton won at Upton Park last month.
Liverpool had Martin Skrtel restored following a three-match absence with a knee injury, but a defensive reshuffle was required after 22 minutes, by which time the visitors were already two down.
The source of the first goal was former Reds winger Stewart Downing, whose inswinging free-kick found James Tomkins at the back post.
Tomkins’ nodded back across the six-yard box was turned goalwards by Reid, whose header went in off Dejan Lovren.
Downing seemed determined to impress and danced around Steven Gerrard before Mark Noble darted from left to right and fed Diafra Sakho.
The Senegal forward, a summer recruit from Metz, burst into the area and had the audacity to lob the ball over Simon Mignolet into the far corner for his third goal in three games.
Aaron Cresswell then tried his luck from 25 yards and Mignolet turned the ball round the post.
Balotelli showed his better side when bringing down the cross which led to Raheem Sterling pulling a goal back for the visitors, but the hosts were superior throughout.
Liverpool exerted some more pressure, with Fabio Borini and Balotelli each twice finding shooting space without really testing Adrian.
As the visitors pushed forwards gaps in their defence became evident — Diafra Sakho was unable to punish a Skrtel lapse as he lifted the ball over, but a third West Ham goal came when they broke and Downing threaded the ball through for substitute Amalfitano to score.
Alex Song — on his first start following his loan move from Barcelona — Cheikhou Kouyate, striker Enner Valencia and goalscorer Diafra Sakho were influential for Sam Allardyce’s men, who inflicted Liverpool’s second away loss in 2014.
Liverpool are now six points behind leaders Chelsea in the table having played a game more, while the pressure on Allardyce — in front of his own fans at least — has lessened with a second home win in six matches.