Stalemate – West Ham 2 Liverpool 2

Image for Stalemate – West Ham 2 Liverpool 2

A rather strange game at the London Stadium which saw long periods of rather dull football punctuated by moments of excitement.

It was pleasing to see the Irons not capitulating when they went 2-1 down, they kept fighting to the end and pocketed the draw

However, a draw was not much use to either side, with Liverpool needing a win to keep their faint hopes of winning the league alive, while West Ham needed all three points to maintain their push for a place in Europe.

Right, onto the game itself

As per usual West Ham sat back and tried to soak up the pressure in the hope of counter attacking.

Liverpool waited a whole five minutes before their first sight of goal . Robertson’s cross was flicked on by Gakpo and broke to Elliott at the back post. He hit it first time but sliced across it from the angle, going straight into the side netting.

Bowen sparked some life into West Ham with a lovely nutmeg on MacAllister before driving forward. Liverpool cleared for a corner, where West Ham made the first contact but Zouma could not direct it towards goal.

The atmosphere on the pitch and in the London Stadium stands was remarkably quiet, considering what was at stake for both teams.

On the half hour Cody Gakpo was felled by Ogbonna in the Liverpool penalty area and referee Anthony Taylor bided his time before awarding Liverpool a penalty! They did not get to take it, however, as Luis Diaz was offside in the build-up. There’s the usual way too long VAR check soundtracked by boos from the crowd and small wonder – it was such an obvious offside.

Finally a breakthrough!

Bowen breaks the deadlock with the opener against Liverpool

Just before half time, moments after going close with a deflected shot that Alisson was forced to put behind, Jarrod Bowen rose unmarked to head home from the corner. Liverpool conceded the first goal for the 16th time in the Premier League this season and Bowen equalled the great Di Canio`s record of most goals in a Premier League season, and today’s goal means he has become the first West Ham player to score in three appearances against Liverpool in the same season since Geoff Hurst in 1964/65 !

Sadly Liverpool were back on level pegging three minutes into the second half , when Luis Diaz teed up Andy Robertson to steer a volley into the corner. Areola got a touch and should have done better, but he may have been unsighted by Ogbonna.

In case anyone was counting, that is now 15 Premier League games without a clean sheet for the Irons !

Liverpool continued to dominate the second half with West Ham struggling to get a touch of the ball. Trent Alexander-Arnold tried his luck with a dipping diagonal shot from outside the West Ham penalty area that looked bound for the bottom corner. But Areola dived to his left to save well.

On the hour from a corner, Liverpool took the lead It fell to Gakpo at the back post and it squirmed through via a host of deflections! Gakpo’s strike comes off Ogbonna, then hits off Soucek and Areola on the line, before going in.

It could have been worse when Luis Diaz and then Alexis Mac Allister are both denied by Areola from close range in quick succession.

Then after soaking up countless pressure, Bowen crossed into the Liverpool penalty area from the right. Antonio drifted into the large gap between Alexander-Arnold and Quansah and headed past Alisson to level the scores !

With ten minutes to go,  Mo Salah, Darwin Nunez and Joe Gomes came on for Luis Diaz, Wataru Endo and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

A frenetic last few minutes saw even more Liverpool pressure with Elliot hitting the bar, but the Irons held out for a draw.

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