Hammers dent Reds title hopes

Hammers dent Reds title hopes

West Ham 1 - 1 Liverpool

Liverpool have dropped two more points in the Premier League title race tonight as they were held to a 1-1 draw away to West Ham.

Sadio Mané gave Jurgen Klopp's side a 22nd minute lead at the London Stadium.

But that lead would only last six minutes, with Michail Antonio equalising.

The result moves Liverpool three points ahead of Manchester City at the top of the table.

City can take top spot with a win at Liverpool's Merseyside rivals Everton on Wednesday night.

James Milner returned to captain the Premier League leaders for the game.

Milner, who missed Wednesday's draw with Leicester due to suspension, was one of three changes made by Reds manager Jurgen Klopp with Adam Lallana and Fabinho handed starts and Xherdan Shaqiri and injured pair Georginio Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson making way.

Marko Arnautovic was left out of the Hammers' team after he suffered a foot injury in midweek, with Javier Hernandez taking his place in attack.

Aaron Cresswell and Ryan Fredericks also came into the team beaten at Wolves, with Pablo Zabaleta and Arthur Masuaku dropping to the bench.

The hosts started in a lively manner despite their recent poor form, and had the pick of the early chances.

Hernandez forced Alisson Becker into a diving save and dragged an effort wide, while Cresswell also drove one narrowly past the post from 25 yards as the Hammers started on the front foot.

Hammers dent Reds title hopes

However it was Liverpool who scored first, through Sadio Mane.

It was somewhat fortuitous as Milner was played in while well offside, but the skipper pulled back for Mane who turned inside the box and finished clinically to open up an important lead.

It did not last long, with a cleverly worked free-kicked from Felipe Anderson sliding the ball past the wall for Michail Antonio, who scuffed the shot somewhat into the far corner with the Liverpool defence caught sleeping.

Hammers dent Reds title hopes

Mane had a head saved from close range before Declan Rice missed a clear chance from another smart set piece as he beat the offside trap to be faced with goal, only to head over with the goal gaping as the teams went in at 1-1.

Chances were at a premium in the second half, with Mark Noble slicing over when he should have done better and Mo Salah's curling effort read by Lucasz Fabianski.

Divock Origi was played in one-on-one in the final seconds of the game, but fluffed his lines as the Hammers just about held on to a point to open up the title race once again, with Liverpool back to three points clear.

Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk told Sky Sports: "They (West Ham) were decent, they defended very well. But today was disappointing.

"We could have been a lot better I think but it is what it is. The referee was a bit easy at times but we need to do better as well.

Joel Matip partnered Van Dijk in central defence but the Reds have had injury issues in that department this season and the Dutchman continued: "I think all players who've come in have enough quality to do the job - but when you have a back four that doesn't change that's maybe a little bit easier.

"We take it game by game, we're still top of the league. We're still in the race...so we need to be our best for the rest of the season."

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