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Liverpool remain top after West Ham draw

Liverpool held to a 1-1 draw by a resilient West Ham as Michail Antonio’s first-half strike cancels out Sadio Mane’s opener.

It was a miserable performance from the Reds in London – no one stepped up to take hold of the opportunity to distance themselves from rivals Manchester City.

However, Klopp’s men have still managed to take a point away from a tough fixture, even with numerous injuries.

All things considered, they will need to jumpstart themselves back into form against Bournemouth and recapture their early season mojo.

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Goals

Mané 22′ (Milner)

Antonio 28′ (Anderson)

Forced changes

Injuries again forced Jürgen Klopp’s hand, with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Georginio Wijnaldum, and Jordan Henderson all unavailable for the trip to the Olympic Stadium. James Milner was drafted back into the lineup at right-back in Henderson’s stead, while Adam Lallana made just his fourth start of the season, replacing Xherdan Shaqiri on the right side of a midfield three.

The hosts nearly got off to a dream start, with Javier Hernández getting on the end of a slick opening move from Felipe Anderson and Declan Rice to curl just wide of Alisson’s left post inside three minutes.

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Aaron Cresswell, making his return from injury, went close on nine minutes with a fizzed drive from the edge of box that again flew just wide to Alisson’s left.

Hernández drew a strong save from Alisson on the quarter-hour mark, with Brazilian palming away his well-struck effort from the edge of the box following a turnover in midfield.

Roberto Firmino managed Liverpool’s first effort of the evening, latching onto a broken through-ball attempt and bursting into the box before firing a tame left-footed effort that Łukasz Fabiański corralled with ease.

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A few minutes later, Sadio Mané opened the scoring controversially following some brilliant play down the right from Lallana.

The Englishman played keepaway from two defenders and bought time before flicking a pass to Milner – replays showed Milner to be well offside, but the linesman’s flag stayed down and Milner took advantage, picking out Mané who corralled, turned his man, and buried a low, left-footed shot past Fabiański.

The lead was short-lived, as Liverpool were once again undone from an opposition set piece. Anderson was the architect of a clever free-kick routine, shaping to curl in a cross before sliding an inch-perfect ball past the Liverpool line for Mikail Antonio to run onto.

The Englishman finished with aplomb, sliding his shot across the face of goal and off the post to equalize.

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Declan Rice came inches from giving the hosts the lead from yet another dangerous set piece, as the Reds visibly struggled to deal with the Hammers’ dead ball routines.

A desperate 45 minutes

Liverpool came out of the break in need of a big half, but it was the Hammers who got the better of the early exchanges, with Angelo Ogbonna rising to head wide from a Robert Snodgrass corner just after the interval.

Milner saw an appeal for handball quickly waved away after his attempted cross struck Ogbonna’s arm in the West Ham box. Mohamed Salah then fired straight at Fabiański from the edge of the box following some good work between Lallana and Firmino.

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The game began to open up, as the Reds chased the advantage.

Just past the hour mark, Salah nearly manufactured the breakthrough with a moment of brilliance, turning a pair of defenders on the edge of the West Ham box before curling an effort to Fabiański. He took up a similar position a few minutes later, but blazed high and wide of the Polish keeper.

Klopp made the first change of the evening on 68 minutes, bringing on Shaqiri for Lallana in the hopes of a spark off the bench.

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Mark Noble seized upon a loose ball in the Liverpool box following a potential handball from Anderson, but he blazed well over Alisson’s bar.

On 74 minutes, Divock Origi came on for Firmino, who struggled to make an impact on the game despite seeing plenty of the ball.

Manuel Pellegrini responded with a double change a few minutes later, bringing in a bit more physicality in the form of Andy Carroll and Pedro Obiang, with Hernandez and Noble making way.

Unfortunately, it was more of the same for the remaining 15 minutes and the game ended 1-1 with Liverpool keeping their place on top of the table.

Liverpool

Alisson, Robertson, van Dijk, Matip, Milner, Keita, Fabinho, Lallana (Shaqiri 69′), Mané, Firmino (Origi 74′), Salah

West Ham

Fabiański, Cresswell, Ogbonna, Diop, Fredericks,  Anderson, Rice, Noble (Obiang 78′), Snodgrass, Hernández (Carroll 78′), Antonio

Alex Mansfield
Co-owner, editor-in-chief of LFC Transfer Room. @el_mansfield on Twitter. Love a good, civilized debate!

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