Custom Search 1

Liverpool: is the pressure beginning to tell?

ON TARGET: Michail Antonio was on the mark against lacklustre Liverpool

LIVERPOOL DROPPED two points in east London and did little to dispel doubts about their ability to fend off Manchester City in the Premier League title race.

Jurgen Klopp will not enjoy the reminder but twice in the space of a week his team have dropped points to mid-table table opposition who more than held their own.

City can now return to the summit on goal difference with victory at Goodison Park on Wednesday.

On the night, West Ham enjoyed one of their better performances and Liverpool, who have occasionally been accused of lacking conviction in their play, never quite got to grips with their hosts.

Manuel Pellegrini’s side came into this match on the back of three consecutive defeats, all away from home, and ended that run with a display of expansive and purposeful football that might have yielded more than a point with more precise finishing.

Marko Arnautovic was missing from the matchday party but still West Ham made much of the running and persistently tested James Milner, who deputised once again at right-back. Put it down to jitters or a defence suffering from key absences but Liverpool were pierced in a manner seldom seen this season.

West Ham had spurned three glorious opportunities by the time Liverpool took the lead against the run of play with a move that demonstrated much of what is good about Klopp’s side as an attacking unit.

For all that, the goal owed as much to good fortune as it did to Sadio Mane’s fantastic finish.

It came on 22 minutes when Adam Lallana, making his first Premier League start since October, advanced down the right and did well to evade the attentions of Aaron Cresswell and Robert Snodgrass. Nevertheless, Milner was a yard offside by the time he drove on to Lallana’s dinked pass. Play continued, Milner crossed for Mane, who spun and found the bottom corner for his first goal away from Anfield since September 1.

Call it justice, call it karma, but Liverpool’s lead lasted barely six minutes and they were culpable in their own undoing.

Felipe Anderson’s free-kick was a well-executed move lifted direct from the training ground but the manner in which Michail Antonio beat the Liverpool offside trap and evaded the attention of Naby Keita was too easy. Still, the forward still had plenty of work to do but his fizzing shot left Alisson rooted to the spot as it cannoned in off the post.

It was no more than West Ham deserved and Liverpool too often ceded midfield control in the absence of Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum.

There were occasional sparks from Roberto Firmino, Mane and, of course, Mo Salah, but Lukasz Fabianski was rarely stretched in the West Ham goal.

Bournemouth’s visit to Anfield on Saturday, and Liverpool’s game in hand over City, now look more important than ever.

Subscribe to The Voice database!

We'd like to keep in touch with you regarding our daily newsletter, Voice competitions, promotions and marketing material and to further increase our reach with The Voice readers.

If interested, please click the below button to complete the subscription form.

We will never sell your data and will keep it safe and secure.

For further details visit our privacy policy.

You have the right to withdraw at any time, by clicking 'Unsubscribe'.

Facebook Comments