Liverpool suffer title slip-up in draw at West Ham (video)

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  • Liverpool’s title lead shrinks to 3 points
  • Reds score from blown offside call (22′)
  • West Ham fight back to 1-1 (28′)

When Jurgen Klopp‘s Reds visited West Ham United on Monday, Liverpool had — and missed — their second golden opportunity in a month’s time to build an insurmountable lead in the Premie League title race.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Liverpool’s draw with West Ham ]

1-1 was the final score at the London Stadium, and the current PL leaders, who saw their lead shrink from five points to three this weekend, were quite fortunate to come away with their point.

The game’s first scoring chance came with barely two minutes on the clock. West Ham quickly and fluidly worked the ball through Liverpool’s midfield and backline, but Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez curled his shot inches wide of the far post. The tone had been set, though: Liverpool were in for a tough fight.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The ensuing 15 minutes featured plenty more of the home side taking the game to the title leaders, as the Hammers caught the Reds out of shape on the counter. Ultimately, though, Aaron Cresswell smashed his 20-yard effort through a sea of bodies, only to see it goes inches — fewer the Hernandez’s effort eight minutes earlier — wide of Alisson‘s left-hand post.

West Ham’s control and threatening period came and went without the payoff they so desperately need, and they were unjustly punished for it. Sadio Mane opened the scoring in the 22nd minute, but the passage of play should have been halted well before the Senegalese dynamo put the ball in the back of the net.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Adam Lallana played a backheel into space for James Milner, whose cross into the box found Mane for the goal, but Milner stood a full two yards offside when the pass came from Lallana (WATCH HERE). West Ham defender Angelo Ogbonna seemed to switch off in anticipation of the offside flag going up, but it never did.

Justice was served in short order, however, as Michail Antonio pulled West Ham back to level terms six minutes later. Felipe Anderson started the training-ground masterpiece with a deftly played ball from his free kick, sending Antonio to a tight angle wide of the six-yard box, but the finish was impeccable.

Once back on level footing, West Ham returned to the front foot and should have gone a goal ahead once again in the 41st minute. Declan Rice beat Liverpool’s high line and had five yards of space between himself and the nearest defender, but the ____-year-old lifted his header of Anderson‘s free kick just inches — yet again — over the crossbar and let Alisson off no man’s island.

There was little hope for the second half to live up to the lofty standards of its predecessor, but Liverpool were determined in their desperation to match Manchester City’s result against Arsenal on Sunday.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Mohamed Salah was effectively neutralized for much of Monday’s matchup, but the Egyptian nearly broke the deadlock with a brilliant slalom through the Hammers’ penalty area and curled shot in the 61st minute, but Lukasz Fabianski was all over it to make the diving save. Beyond that move just after the hour mark, Liverpool were threatened very little and West Ham were able to usher the game toward full-time with an unexpected measure of comfort.

Despite frustrating the league leaders, West Ham remain 12th in the league table.

VIDEO: Lo Celso escapes red card via VAR after horror challenge

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Giovani Lo Celso can count himself a lucky man after his horror challenge on Cesar Azpilicueta wasn’t deemed worthy of a red card by VAR.

What on earth is going on.

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Lo Celso stamped on Azpilicueta’s leg as the Chelsea skipper slid in to get the ball and even though the Spanish defender was on the floor, Spurs’ Argentine playmaker had enough time to pull out of the challenge.

After a lengthy VAR check no red card was given as Chelsea’s fans, players and coaches looked on in bemusement after Olivier Giroud’s early goal gave them the lead.

Check out the video of the incident below and let us know what you think in the comments section below.


VIDEO: Giroud delivers for Chelsea v. Spurs

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Olivier Giroud delivered a stunning finish to put Chelsea ahead against Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge.

Giroud, starting for the first time since November, used all of his experience to run the Spurs defense ragged and provide a threatening focal point for the Chelsea attack.

The Frenchman, 33, jumped off the bench and had a goal disallowed by VAR in the 2-0 defeat against Man United on Monday but even after a VAR check for offside against Spurs, this time his goal stood.

Click play on the video above to watch the clinical finish.

It was a good job Giroud didn’t leave Chelsea in the January transfer window (as a move to Spurs seemed highly likely) after all.

Watch Live: Chelsea v. Tottenham

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Chelsea host Tottenham Hotspur in a massive London derby on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) at Stamford Bridge.

With Frank Lampard‘s slumping Chelsea in fourth and just one point ahead of Jose Mourinho’s fifth-place Tottenham, this is a massive game in the battle for Champions League qualification.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE

Injuries are piling up for both sides but Chelsea’s lack of clinical finishing has hurt them for several months as they’ve won just four of their last 14 Premier League games. Mourinho knows this is a good time for him to take his team to Stamford Bridge, even with his own injury crisis to deal with.

Not only does the Mourinho storyline carry significant weight ahead of Saturday’s showdown at the Bridge, so too does the two sides’ increasingly tight battle for a top-four finish. As recently as Jan. 17, Chelsea enjoyed a nine-point lead on Tottenham, but the Blues’ current run of just one win from their last six PL games has seen that advantage shrink to a single point with the very real possibility of flipping two points in the opposite direction once the full-time whistle blows.

On the other hand, Spurs would already be miles clear if not for dropping a combined seven points from three games against the current 12th-, 19th- and 20th-place sides in recent weeks.

In team news Chelsea are without N’Golo Kante, Christian Pulisic and Callum Hudson-Odoi who are all out injured. Olivier Giroud starts up front with Tammy Abraham only fit enough for the bench, while Chelsea have three center backs and Ross Barkley and Mason Mount come into the starting lineup.

Tottenham must do without Heung-Min Son for potentially the rest of the season after he suffered a broken arm. Mourinho must turn to other attacking options with Harry Kane also out until April. Dele Alli has been left on the bench as Spurs go with what also looks like a back five.


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Hodgson vows to sign new Crystal Palace contract

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Roy Hodgson has revealed that he has been offered a contract extension to remain at Crystal Palace beyond the 2020-21 Premier League season, and also hinted that he is highly likely to accept it.

[ MORE: Mourinho: Top-four without Kane, Son would be “something incredible” ]

Following a period of turmoil and instability which saw them drop dangerously close to the relegation zone prior to his arrival in 2017, Hodgson has steadied the ship and guided the Eagles to 11th- and 12th-place finishes in his first two seasons and has them sitting just a point out of 12th with a dozen games to go this season. At no point in his tenure has Palace flirted with relegation, and that’s apparently enough to earn a new deal to remain in charge — quotes from Sky Sports:

“The club have presented me with a contract and although the chairman has been away this week I’ve had a cursory glance through it. It all looks fine to me so I am pretty certain that at some point soon we’ll sit down and get it signed.

“If I am going to stay, it will be because I believe funds will be made available because we’ve had the intention to improve the squad and the team for a while now.

“We all realize you can’t make improvements to the actual team without spending some money. But I would never make those type of demands, because you can’t make any guarantees in the transfer market.

“All you can do is have good intention and if I signed for another year, I would sign because I believed the intentions are true and that something will happen going into the next season.”

As for the transfer situation, that’s something that’ll need to be sorted out in very short order if Palace plan to maintain their current place in the PL’s hierarchy, otherwise they’ll learn a harsh — and quick — lesson about standing still while everyone else is moving forward.