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BBC Sport's Stuart Hall
"Liverpool simply gorged on West Ham"
 real 14k

Liverpool's double-goalscorer Robbie Fowler
"I was pleased with my football today"
 real 56k

Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier
"We've got to keep the good work going"
 real 56k

West Ham boss Harry Redknapp
"They were better than us"
 real 56k

Saturday, 3 February, 2001, 18:58 GMT
Hammers downed by Fowler fire
Robbie Fowler
Robbie Fowler came close to a hat-trick
Liverpool 3-0 West Ham

Robbie Fowler inspired Liverpool to an emphatic victory over West Ham as the Reds climbed to third place in the Premiership table.

Vladimir Smicer set Liverpool on their way with the opener after 20 minutes before Fowler took centre stage with two predatory strikes.

Liverpool's win was all the more impressive given that they were without Danny Murphy, Jamie Carragher and Michael Owen as well as long-term absentees.

They also lost Markus Babbel, Igor Biscan and Nicky Barmby during the game through injuries, and played most of the game with debutants in both full-back positions.

It was a good win and a good display. We showed strength all round the park. Robbie Fowler's team play was outstanding and it was one of his best games in the past two years.
  Gerard Houllier

West Ham's Cup hero Paolo di Canio was ruled out with flu, with former Kop favourite Titi Camara coming in alongside Frederic Kanoute.

Craig Forrest replaced the injured Shaka Hislop in goal.

Liverpool gave a debut to French teenager Gregory Vignal, while Emile Heskey and Fowler started in attack.

The Hammers made a lively start, and Sander Westerveld had to race off his line to deny Kanoute after three minutes.

Sebastien Schemmel's follow-up hit the side netting.

  Key incidents
20 mins: Smicer fires Liverpool ahead
33 mins: Wright replaces Babbel for league debut
44 mins: Fowler fires home Reds' second
51 mins: Kanoute misses West Ham's best chance
57 mins: Fowler finishes off neat move - 3-0
72 mins: Fowler "goal" disallowed after Smicer runs ball out
80 mins: Outplayed Cole replaced by Soma
The head-to-head between Joe Cole and Steve Gerrard provided an interesting sideshow.

The young Hammer had the better of the early exchanges before Gerrard, aided superbly by Dietmar Hamann, took over.

After adopting an ultra-cautious approach early on, Liverpool forged their first opening after 18 minutes, when Forrest did well to tip over a stinging Smicer drive.

He was powerless to stop a repeat effort two minutes later later.

Smicer exchanged passes with Heskey before firing into the top corner from 30 yards.

Liverpool were buoyed by that stunning strike, and, as they upped their game to a new level, Fowler tested Forrest after 28 minutes.

And the stand-in stopper produced a fine block to deny Heskey seconds later.

The Reds suffered a blow after 33 minutes when Babbel was stretchered off after a tackle by Kanoute.

Stephen Wright came in for his Premiership debut but it failed to disrupt the rhythm.

Liverpool played well and it was one of our more disappointing performances. We looked tired but I have no excuses they were much better than us
  Harry Redknapp

Wright's deft flick carved open the West Ham defence to allow Fowler time to pick his spot past Forrest for Liverpool's second after 44 minutes.

Heskey almost got in on the act on the stroke of half-time, diverting Smicer's cross just the wrong side of the post.

Just as it appeared they had the match under control, Liverpool almost gifted the Hammers a lifeline.

Stephane Henchoz and Westerveld almost collided in attempting to clear Kanoute's flick-on.

The French striker was played through by Cole after 51 minutes, but his effort was deflected narrowly wide as West Ham resumed with purpose.

Any hopes of a West Ham comeback were shattered after 57 minutes.

Fowler foiled

Heskey and Smicer combined well with the Czech crossing for Fowler to stroke the ball into the empty net for his second.

Fowler, back to his brilliant best, was denied a hat-trick by Forrest after 67 minutes.

He had the ball in the net minutes later, only for the strike to be disallowed as they ball was adjudged to have gone out of play.

Ther match then petered out as a contest, with Liverpool content to sit on their lead.

In defeating West Ham they achieved, for once, what Manchester United could not.

Liverpool: Westerveld, Vignal, Hyypia, Henchoz, Babbel, Biscan, Hamann, Smicer, Gerrard, Heskey, Fowler.
Subs: Ziege, Barmby, Nielsen, Wright, Litmanen.

West Ham: Forrest, Stuart Pearce, Schemmel, Winterburn, Dailly, Tihinen, Carrick, Cole, Lampard, Camara, Kanoute.
Subs: Song, Ian Pearce, Bywater, Soma, Todorov.

Referee: S Bennett (Orpington)

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