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West Ham 2-2 Liverpool: Antonio header damages Reds´ dwindling title chances

SoccerNews in English Premier League 27 Apr 2024

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Liverpool suffered another blow to their dwindling Premier League title hopes as Michail Antonio’s late header snatched a 2-2 draw for West Ham at London Stadium.

Jurgen Klopp’s side disappointed in Wednesday’s 2-0 defeat against Everton, with Jarrod Bowen’s goal and assist inflicting further pain for the Reds on Saturday.

Liverpool responded well to Bowen’s first-half opener, edging ahead through Alphonse Areola’s own goal after Andy Robertson’s 48th-minute leveller, only for Bowen to tee up Antonio’s headed equaliser 13 minutes from time.

This draw left Liverpool two points behind leaders Arsenal ahead of the Gunners’ Sunday meeting with Tottenham and one behind Manchester City – who have two games in hand on the Reds – while West Ham remain eighth.

A tepid opening befitted two sides struggling for form as both failed to carve out any gilt-edged opportunities.

Liverpool wanted a 27th-minute penalty for Angelo Ogbonna’s tackle on Cody Gakpo and, though an offside call against Luis Diaz silenced those appeals, that passage livened the game up.

Harvey Elliott’s curling attempt was held by Areola after Vladimir Coufal went close at the other end, before Diaz blasted a low strike against the West Ham goalkeeper’s right-hand post.

Bowen saw a deflected drive parried behind by Alisson but the West Ham forward headed Mohammed Kudus’ left-wing delivery into the far corner from the resulting set-piece two minutes before the break.

Ryan Gravenberch flashed a powerful half-volley over immediately after the interval – and West Ham did not heed that warning sign.

Diaz cut inside from the left to find Robertson before a slight deflection off Lucas Paqueta saw Areola caught off-guard as the left-back found the bottom-left corner via the post.

Gravenberch arrowed narrowly wide before one-way traffic finally paid dividends midway through the second half when Gakpo’s miscued strike from Trent Alexander-Arnold’s corner forced Areola to turn into his own net after a deflection off Tomas Soucek.

Alisson kept his side ahead with a remarkable stretching stop to thwart Emerson’s volley, yet the Liverpool goalkeeper was powerless when Antonio headed into the top-right corner from Bowen’s right-wing centre.

Elliott almost snatched all three points in the 89th minute but his dipping effort found the top of the crossbar rather than the right-hand corner from long range.

Reds falter once again

Under Klopp, Liverpool have only won more Premier League games against Crystal Palace (13) than West Ham (12).

Yet the visiting Reds faltered once more as what appeared to be a promising season continues to unravel in disappointing fashion for Klopp’s final campaign.

Having threatened an unlikely quadruple at the start of March, Liverpool now require a minor miracle – and slip-ups from Man City and Arsenal – to muster a slight shot at the title.

Bowen on target but West Ham struggle at home

Bowen had already found the net in the Premier League and EFL Cup against Liverpool this season and became just the second West Ham player to score in three different games with the Reds in a single campaign – after Geoff Hurst in 1964-65.

His well-taken headed opener eased the nervous home crowd, yet this draw left West Ham with just one win from their last nine Premier League home games.

That concerning home form may be what costs David Moyes’ side a higher finish. The Hammers trail seventh-placed Newcastle United by a point, despite the Magpies playing two games fewer.

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