Liverpool draw at West Ham to leave title hopes in tatters

Liverpool’s Premier League title hopes have been left in tatters after a 2-2 draw at West Ham, with the Reds now winning just one of their last five league matches.

After their 2-0 defeat to Everton in the Merseyside derby on Wednesday, the Reds needed a win if they were to realistically keep themselves in the race with Arsenal and Manchester City at the top of the table.

But a sluggish first half saw them fall behind as Jarrod Bowen (43) nodded home for West Ham from a quick corner. However, Liverpool were level three minutes after the break when Andy Robertson (48) turned home.

It was a far better performance from Liverpool in the second half and they deservedly went ahead as Cody Gakpo’s shot pinballed in off Alphonse Areola (65).

But another unmarked header from Michail Antonio (77) saw West Ham equalise to leave Liverpool two points behind Arsenal and one behind Man City, with the two still to play this weekend. The Hammers remain four points behind seventh-placed Newcastle after the Magpies, who have played a game less, defeated Sheffield United later in the day.

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Sky Sports‘ Eleanor Roper and Charlotte Marsh dissect the dispute between Jurgen Klopp and Mo Salah during their match against West Ham.

When asked about slipping behind in the title race, Klopp said: “I don’t think about it really. I said before, we need to win our games. We didn’t win the game. That doesn’t improve our situation now massively.

“Do they [Man City and Arsenal] look like they will lose two or three games? I don’t think so but, honestly, I’m not angry or whatever… I don’t think about it. We just have to win football games and let’s see what that means in the end.”

Liverpool’s frustrations were perhaps clear in the immediate aftermath of West Ham’s leveller too as substitute Mohamed Salah – dropped from the starting XI – appeared to argue with manager Jurgen Klopp as he came on.

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Jurgen Klopp says the side-line disagreement between himself and Mo Salah has been resolved in the dressing room after the match.

While the manager did not elaborate on the cause, he told TNT Sports after the game: “We spoke already in the dressing room. For me, that’s done.”

Asked further in his press conference if Salah was also OK with the dressing room conversation, Klopp replied: “That’s my impression, yes.”

Later, Salah walked through the post-match mixed zone declining interview requests, telling reporters: “If I speak today there will be fire.”

Mohamed Salah and Jurgen Klopp exchange words prior to the Egyptian entering the fray against West Ham
Mo Salah and Jurgen Klopp clashed on the touchline

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Tim Sherwood looks at Liverpool’s dwindling title hopes and whether or not they should sell Salah this summer

How Liverpool lost more PL title race ground

Liverpool saw the better of the chances in the opening 30 minutes, during which they also had a penalty overturned. Referee Anthony Taylor had initially pointed to the spot amid a melee of potential fouls, but the offside flag was up against Luis Diaz in the build-up. VAR checked the decision and it proved to be correct.

Shortly after, a burst of pace from Diaz saw him whack an effort onto the bottom of the crossbar. At the other end, Alisson made a great save from Bowen’s shot – which led to an important West Ham set-piece.

Team news headlines

  • Mohamed Salah and Darwin Nunez were dropped in five Liverpool changes from their 2-0 defeat in the Merseyside derby. Ibrahima Konate, Dominik Szoboszlai and Curtis Jones also dropped to the bench.
  • Wataru Endo, Cody Gakpo, Harvey Elliott, Ryan Gravenberch and Jarell Quansh came into the XI.
  • West Ham made two changes from last weekend. Jarrod Bowen in place of James Ward-Prowse, who dropped to the bench. Alphonse Areola also replaced Lukasz Fabianski in goal.

With Liverpool still setting themselves up defensively, the Hammers took a quick, short corner. The ball into the box found an unmarked Bowen in the middle and he looped his header home.

Cody Gakpo celebrates after his deflected shot gives Liverpool the lead at West Ham
Cody Gakpo’s deflected shot saw Liverpool ahead in the second half

Minutes after the break, and Liverpool equalised. Diaz found Robertson in the middle of the box, with the defender’s shot bouncing past Areola’s weak hand via the post.

Liverpool continued to press for a second, and made the breakthrough in the 65th minute. It was pinball off three West Ham players from Gakpo’s shot, with the last touch coming off an unfortunate Areola.

Jarrod Bowen leaps in celebration after giving West Ham the lead against Liverpool
Jarrod Bowen is only the second West Ham player to score in three different games against Liverpool in a single campaign after Geoff Hurst in 1964-65

Despite Liverpool’s improvements and push for a third goal, it was West Ham who struck the next blow with an equaliser. It was a teasing cross that an unmarked Antonio rose to meet, powering past Alisson – who had made a superb leaping save just seconds beforehand.

Andy Robertson celebrates after equalising for Liverpool at West Ham
Andy Robertson celebrates his equaliser just after the break

It was in the immediate aftermath of the goal, the Reds made a triple change, and there looked to be a confrontation between Klopp and Salah, with fingers pointed and a particularly animated Salah. He also had to be pushed away by fellow substitute Darwin Nunez.

The Reds continued to press for a winner – Emerson twice needing to clear off the line and Harvey Elliott hitting the crossbar. But the draw ultimately leaves their Premier League title hopes fading fast.

Player ratings:

West Ham: Areola (6), Coufal (6), Zouma (7), Ogbonna (7), Emerson (7), Soucek (6), Alvarez (6), Kudus (6), Paqueta (6), Bowen (7), Antonio (7).

Subs: Ward-Prowse (6).

Liverpool: Alisson (7), Alexander-Arnold (6), Van Dijk (7), Quansah (7), Robertson (7), Mac Allister (6), Gravenberch (6), Endo (6), Elliott (6), Gakpo (6), Diaz (8).

Subs: Salah (7), Nunez (6), Gomez (6), Szoboszlai (n/a).

Player of the Match: Luis Diaz.

Klopp: This has been story of last four weeks

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp to TNT Sports: “Very disappointed, obviously. I think everyone can see that only one team wins the game, and that is us with the chances we created, with the possession we had, with all the things we did. It was a tough one at the end of a four games in 10 days period, but I think the players did really well.

“We just conceded out of nothing and need a few more chances and kind of scrappy goals in the end to score twice. When we are 2-1 up we could control it, and still as I said in a lot of moments playing really well but the final situation we didn’t take. That has been the story of the last four weeks.”

On if it is unlucky for a few attackers to be out of form: “It is what it is. You see the games. We are together and we go through that together, that is all. The boys want it, they fought hard, gave absolutely everything. For some of them it was definitely too hard today, and yes that’s it.”

On the second-half response: “Very pleased. It was very good and it was what we needed, the early goal helped obviously. We find chances always, you see in the first half we have a lot.

“What I don’t understand is that with each chance we miss everyone is there throwing arms, but a chance is the closest you can get to a goal so we have to be more positive there. Accept these kind of things happen and then do it again, and again and again.

“We played well but didn’t finish the situations off and now we have to acknowledge and carry on.”

Moyes: We did great to keep going

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West Ham manager David Moyes answers why he won’t miss departing Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp in a hilarious press conference.

West Ham boss David Moyes to TNT Sports: “I think we did [bounce back well from last week]. I would have liked more than a point, we’ve drawn a lot and today is another. It is a good point and to be 2-1 down and take a battering, we did great to keep going.

“The first goal was important for us. Great credit to the lads for the character they showed to come back from there.

“They were really good goals. I enjoyed them. Jarrod [Bowen] is in goalscoring form. Congratulations to him on 20 goals in all competitions. I think it is a long time since someone has done that at West Ham. He is a fantastic player. I hope he keeps going.”

On Bowen equalling Paolo Di Canio’s 16 goals in a Premier League season: “That is where I’d like the 20 goals, I’d like them to be 20 Premier League goals. I’ve got something for him to chase in the last three games.”

On Antonio’s display: “He’s got fitter in the last three or four months. We missed him around November time, he got an injury with Jamaica, but he’s come back, led the line well and got a few goals for us, which was missing from his game a little.”

Opta stats – Bowen equals Di Canio record

  • Jarrod Bowen’s opener (his 16th league goal of 2023-24) saw him become the joint-top scorer in a single Premier League campaign for West Ham, equalling Paolo Di Canio’s haul of 16 in 1999-00.
  • Liverpool have gone 1-0 down in 16 different Premier League matches this season. Indeed, it’s the joint-most games they have conceded first in a single league campaign under Jürgen Klopp (also 16 times in 2022-23).
  • Only Sheffield United (6) have scored more own goals than West Ham (4) in the Premier League this season, while no side has benefited from more own goals in the competition this term than Liverpool (5).

What’s next?

Sunday 5th May 3:30pm

Kick off 4:30pm

West Ham travel to London rivals Chelsea on Sunday, May 5, kick-off 2pm, while Liverpool are next in action on the same day against Tottenham at Anfield, live on Sky Sports, kick-off 4.30pm.

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