Liverpool thrash West Ham to reach EFL Cup semis

Liverpool’s second goal from Curtis Jones was their 500th in the competition

Liverpool’s overwhelming performance against West Ham at Anfield saw them effortlessly advance to the Carabao Cup semi-finals.

Once Dominik Szoboszlai had driven a superb 25-yard effort into the bottom corner after 28 minutes, Liverpool’s place in the last four was never in doubt.

Curtis Jones added a second 11 minutes after the restart when he deceived Alphonse Areola into thinking he was going to cut a cross back from the edge of the six-yard box, and instead drove a shot through the Hammers’ keeper’s legs.

Cody Gakpo was given too much space to fire home his eighth goal of the season 19 minutes from time, then Mohamed Salah made it four when he raced clear of the visitors defence and finished, before Jones finished off an excellent run by adding his second.

There was a chance for more, as Salah missed the rebound after Areola had touched a Darwin Nunez shot onto a post, and there were also close looks from the excellent Harvey Elliott, Gakpo, and substitute Trent Alexander-Arnold.

It was the first time Liverpool had scored five at home against the Hammers since 1998 and keeps them on course for a record-extending 10th triumph in the competition they last won as recently as 2022.

They will face Fulham in the semi-finals, with the first leg in the week beginning 8 January and the second leg two weeks later.

For Hammers boss David Moyes, it was a disappointing night. The former Everton boss is still waiting for his first victory in this stadium after 21 visits and Jarrod Bowen’s 77th-minute goal with West Ham’s first shot on target was scant consolation.

Elliott outstanding in Reds romp

The match-winning hero at Crystal Palace on 9 December, Elliott has made all but one of his Premier League appearances this season off the bench.

In the cups, though, the 20-year-old has started every game, and provided more evidence of his talent as he excelled in both wide and central areas.

Elliott gave a sign of what was to come for West Ham as he cut in from the right wing and sent a shot narrowly wide from the edge of the area.

The England Under-21 international was just as likely to turn up on the left and at points in the second half, he played the midfield anchor as well.

Elliott drew applause from manager Jurgen Klopp for a deep cross to Gakpo, from which the Dutchman bounced a header millimetres wide of the Hammers goal.

Evidently, Elliott also has a bit of the cheeky chappie about him and after Areola had produced a decent save to turn away a close-range effort from an acute angle, the former Fulham youngster took a short break by sitting on the nearby LED board.

On a night when Liverpool matched their biggest win of the season, Elliott made a telling contribution without getting his own name on the scoresheet.

Woeful West Ham never a threat

West Ham’s sizeable travelling support would have felt better about their trip back to London had they been given any hope to grasp at in terms of a result.

With only one win on this ground in 60 years, the Hammers have a minimal record of success at Anfield – and their overall performance here was poor.

A side showing six changes from the excellent win against Wolves couldn’t string a succession of passes together to generate a meaningful goal threat.

The only time it seemed as though they would shoot in that first half was when Bowen waited for the ball to drop as it deflected into the area. The hesitation was costly as Kostas Tsimikas nipped in to snuff out the threat.

Mohammed Kudus went close with their first shot at goal just before Liverpool scored their third of the night. But by the time Bowen scored his 12th goal of an excellent personal campaign, the game was gone.

“Whatever you say about us tonight, their performance was very good and they were fast and quick and all over us, right from the first minute. We never got a chance to breathe,” said Moyes.

“I don’t rotate very often but you just can’t play them every game with what the scheduling is like.

“The only teams who’ve played more games than us over three years are Liverpool and Manchester City, and then we had the quickest turnaround. All of those things play a part.”

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