• May 20, 2024
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Antonio’s equalizer denies Liverpool title hopes

Antonio’s equalizer denies Liverpool title hopes

Saturday, 27 April, 2024

Liverpool’s Premier League (PL) title bid is now all but over as they were held to a 2-2 draw by West Ham United at the London Stadium, a result which means their opponents have now lost just two of their previous 19 home games.

The Reds’ midweek Merseyside derby defeat to Everton dealt a huge blow to their realistic PL hopes, while an exit from the UEFA Europa League and supporters’ continued frustration with manager David Moyes meant the Hammers’ mood was not the best either.

As such, much of the opening period at the London Stadium felt flat as both teams struggled to assert their authority.

Liverpool dominated possession, but besides Luis Diaz’s effort that struck the post, they rarely troubled Alphonse Areola between the sticks.

West Ham, too, were far from dangerous themselves for the most part of the first half, yet they still went into the break in front.

With the break fast approaching, Jarrod Bowen’s deflected effort was pushed round the post by Alisson Becker and from Mohamed Kudus’ cross following a short corner, the England international powered a header home.

Not only did it put his side in front, but it also meant Bowen equalled the record for the most goals scored by a West Ham player in a single PL campaign – his 16th of the season pulled him level with Paolo Di Canio’s haul from the 1999/2000 term.

As the HT whistle blew, Jürgen Klopp ran down the tunnel, a familiar sight during his eight-year stint in England.

He was clearly able to transfer his sense of urgency to his players, too, as they equalised within five minutes of the restart. Andrew Robertson was the unlikely goalscorer, firing in from Diaz’s pass.

The visitors sustained their pressure and, after Trent Alexander-Arnold had a shot pushed to safety by Areola, they took the lead midway through the second half.

The goal itself was rather fortuitous, with Cody Gakpo’s effort deflecting first of Angelo Ogbonna and then Tomas Soucek before nestling into the bottom corner.

There were further opportunities for Liverpool in their search for breathing space; first, Diaz’s toe-poke after being put through was kept out, before Areola also denied Alexis MacAllister from close range.

Ultimately, those stops proved to be crucial, as West Ham soon found a way to restore parity.

Michail Antonio has been the thorn in many a side in recent years, and it was his header from Bowen’s cross that left Alisson rooted to the spot.

In the end, neither side could find a winner, meaning they had to settle for a point that does little to boost their hopes of achieving their respective goals.

Liverpool are now two points adrift of league-leaders Arsenal having played a game more, and have just three matches to close the gap – and that isn’t even bringing Manchester City into the mix.

West Ham, meanwhile, remain eighth, with their quest for more European football suffering a setback as the race for the top seven heats up.

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