- 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.
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.
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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.
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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.
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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.