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Liverpool 2-0 West Ham United: Coutinho shines, Sturridge scores in return


Liverpool’s English midfielder Raheem Sterling celebrates scoring the opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and West Ham at Anfield in Liverpool, northwest England, on January 31, 2015. AFP PHOTO / OLI SCARFF RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or live services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)

AFP/Getty Images

All the headlines will be about Daniel Sturridge’s brilliant return to the pitch in Liverpool’s 2-0 win on Saturday, but Philippe Coutinho’s service was the stuff of genius on both Reds’ goals.

The Brazilian provided the assists, and both Sturridge and Raheem Sterling netted as Liverpool held possession and now has all three points in a comfortable win over the visiting Hammers.

Liverpool leapfrogs its opponents on the table, moving into 7th with 38 points.

[ RELATED: Watch full match replays ]

The Reds should’ve been up just before halftime, as Raheem Sterling was nearly NFL-tackled inside the box, but he went down softly on the follow-up foul. Regardless, the ball came to Lazar Markovic near the penalty spot but he curled the ball just wide of the goal.

Liverpool v West Ham United - Premier League

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 31: Daniel Sturridge of Liverpool comes on as a substitute for Lazar Markovic during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and West Ham United at Anfield on January 31, 2015 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Getty Images

But Liverpool found the back of the net off a congested play just outside the West Ham 18. Coutinho first-touched side-footed pass in to Sterling, and Adrian looked baffled, allowing the Liverpool star to finish with class and make it 1-0.

[ RELATED: Latest Premier League standings ]

And Sturridge lifted the Anfield crowd into ecstasy by scoring on his return to the lineup after five months, burying a slick through ball from Coutinho. He made no doubt of it, and certainly the Anfield set will again be daydreaming about the Top Four with their leading striker back in the frame (literally and figuratively).

The Reds out-attemped West Ham by a 3:1 margin for most of the day. At one point, it was 21-7 in attempts.


Liverpool: Mignolet, Can, Skrtel, Sakho, Henderson, Lucas, Moreno, Markovic (Sturridge, 68'), Lallana, Coutinho (Ibe, 81'), Sterling

Goal: Sterling (51'), Sturridge (80')

West Ham United: Adrian, O’Brien, Collins (Demel, 74'), Reid, Cresswell, Song, Amalfitano (Noble, 55'), Nolan (c), Downing, Carroll (Cole, 63'), Valencia

Follow @NicholasMendola