[DOWNLOAD EPL HIGHLIGHTS] Liverpool 2 – 0 West Ham

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_80701161_andy-afpDaniel Sturridge scored on his comeback from injury as Liverpool made it five wins in six Premier League games with victory over West Ham United.

Raheem Sterling struck for the eighth time this season after latching on to Philippe Coutinho’s clever pass.

Substitute Sturridge, out for five months, doubled the lead 12 minutes after coming on with a low drive following another Coutinho assist.

West Ham rarely threatened, Andy Carroll going closest with a header.

Sturridge had not played since suffering a thigh injury while on England duty in September. Since then he has injured his calf and thigh again._80701164_liver-getty

But the 25-year-old, making his first appearance in a Reds shirt since 31 August, sealed a thoroughly deserved victory.

The result lifts Brendan Rodgers’ side one place up the table to seventh on 38 points, four behind fourth-placed Southampton.

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Liverpool are hitting momentum at a crucial stage of the campaign, and they head into the Merseyside derby at Everton on 7 February having taken 17 points from a possible 21.

In contrast West Ham have now won once in their last six top-flight outings.

Sam Allardyce’s side created few serious chances but their stubborn defence frustrated the hosts until Sterling made the breakthrough after the interval.

Jordan Henderson and Lucas Leiva spurned good chances, while Coutinho was denied by a fine save from Adrian after Sterling’s clever back-heel._80699769_rah

There was controversy at the end of the first-half when Sterling went down inside the area following a challenge by Joey O’Brien.

But while Liverpool fans screamed for a penalty, the ball fell invitingly for Lazar Markovic who fired wastefully wide.

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The hosts went ahead six minutes into the second-half as Sterling produced a composed low finish after a delightful back-heel by Coutinho.

Sturridge received a rapturous reception when he was introduced in the 68th minute.

Twelve minutes later he was celebrating his second goal of the campaign, a trademark low finish following Coutinho’s pass.

West Ham had their moments.

Carroll, who was substituted, forced Simon Mignolet into a save with a close-range header, while Enner Valencia also tested the Liverpool keeper from distance.

But this was a fine response from Liverpool after their Capital One Cup semi-final defeat by Chelsea in midweek.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers: “The team stood up to the aerial duels very well, pressed the game well and they got their rewards for that.

“On the back of 120 minutes in midweek, we knew today was going to be a tough game. West Ham have been excellent this season, scored goals throughout the season and been very tough to play against.

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“But after the first 15-20 minutes, when we had to compete and battle physically, the players earned the right to play. Some of their football today was outstanding.”

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce: “I thought we were more than comfortable in the first half without being as good as we know we can be.

“We’ve had three players come off injured. We didn’t create much. But I hoped with the number of set-plays we were getting and balls behind the Liverpool defence, particularly in the first half, we might have got a little bit more on target.”

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