Sadio Mane’s close-range shot gave Liverpool a nervous 1-0 win over West Ham and the Reds reduced the gap to Premier League leaders Manchester City to three points.
West Ham are one of just two teams to have beaten the Reds in all competitions this season and the pursuit really struggled in Saturday’s game at Anfield.
Liverpool opened the scoring with Manes’ goal in the 27th minute and that was enough for the home side after West Ham squandered some great chances.
The Reds’ 11th win in 12 games in all competitions and their seventh in the league are putting the pressure on City ahead of Sunday’s derby against Manchester United.
West Ham, without key midfielder Declan Rice, were substituted in three minutes only for Lukasz Fabianski to thwart Mohamed Salah in a one-on-one.
Mikhail Antonio tested Alisson twice but it was Liverpool who scored the opening goal, with Mané practically staying in the game to convert Trent Alexander-Arnold’s shot.
After a lively end to the first half, Aaron Creswell blocked Luis Diaz’s shot on the line a minute before Alexander-Arnold did the same to thwart Pablo Fornals.
The visitors suffered a setback early in the second half as Jarrod Bowen limped away with an apparent foot injury but caused some trouble for opponents.
Manuel Lanzini fired over the top, only Alisson was ahead from eight yards and Antonio’s shot went wide in the final 10 minutes as Liverpool held on.
What does that mean? The Reds win again at Fort Anfield
West Ham won 3-2 in the second leg in November to give Liverpool an early title shot but the Reds have dropped points in just three of 16 games since.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have lost just one of their last 49 league games at home to the Hammers and their form at Anfield is a must.
The Reds have won their last seven home games by a aggregate score of 19-2 and are unbeaten in 18 league games at Anfield since March 7 last year.
Mane the winner of the competition
This was far from a classic win for Liverpool and was reflected in the win over Mane who now has 12 league goals for the season, one more than last season.
Alexander-Arnold has set that goal and now has 16 assists in all competitions for the Reds this season, his best in a single season, having previously netted 15 twice.
Salah has scored more goals than West Ham (nine) against any Premier League side, including goals in his last four games as a Liverpool player at Anfield.
However, he didn’t hit any of his six shots on Saturday – only against Stoke City in April 2018 in a league game with the Reds without a net (seven).
Both sides are focused on European affairs as Liverpool host Inter in the Champions League round of 16 on Tuesday, while West Ham travel to Sevilla in the Europa League.