West Ham v Liverpool – Match Report
Author: Emily Pulham. Published: 5 February 2019 at 6:14pm
West Ham United 1 – Liverpool 1
Match Report by @WestHamAmerican
West Ham drew even today with Liverpool 1-1 in a Monday night Premier League fixture in the London Stadium. A first half goal from Michail Antonio answered a somewhat controversial Sadio Mane goal and that early action was the final score sheet on a night that West Ham played inspired against the Premier League leaders.
Instead of playing behind the ball and limiting attacking, West Ham did take its chances, especially in the opening of the match. Liverpool, although a strong side, was without Dejan Lovren, Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold, which gave Antonio and Javier Hernandez some opportunities to pressure the Reds.
In the 22nd Adam Lallana broke free and passed to an offside James Milner on his overlap run. The assistant referee did not notice and Milner was able to find Mane for the easy goal. Milner’s position was behind the defenders such that no one thought to mark him.
Fortunately for the hosts, Felipe Anderson was able to find Antonio on a free kick moments later and Antonio’s strike found its way inside after tapping the post.
West Ham was able to threaten multiple times, especially via free kicks. Declan Rice had a good effort on a free kick header that missed. Aside from set plays, Aaron Cresswell and Hernandez each had shots that barely went wide.
But the story of the night was the play of West Ham’s defenders against the pace of Liverpool. Manuel Pellegrini selected Ryan Fredericks over Pablo Zabaleta. That, and the return of Cresswell to the squad, gave the Hammers stability in the back.
Lukasz Fabianski was spectacular once again. His best moment might have been the final seconds of the stoppage time as Divock Origi (who also was offside) broke through the back line and fired a one-on-one strike straight to the keeper from just beyond the six yard line. The great save sealed the hard earned point, and the London Stadium supporters could breathe again.
Saturday West Ham has another challenge as they face Crystal Palace. Whether Marko Arnautovic will be cleared to play or not, the squad looked strong enough today to take three points at Selhurst Park. However, for a seasoned manager like Pellegrini the maddening problem is how inconsistent this talented side can be.
The story for the remainder of this season is going to be how well this team is motivated to play week in and week out without domestic cups to win or European football on the horizon. Sitting at 12thwithout much relegation threat, Pellegrini’s great challenge will be keeping this team focused on the next match.
West Ham: Fabianski, Cresswell, Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Rice, Noble, Anderson, Snodgrass, Hernandez, Antonio
Subs: Adrian, Zabaleta, Obiang (79’), Carroll (79’), Masuaku, Diagana, Lucas
Liverpool: Alisson, Robertson, Matip, van Dijk, Milner, Lallana, Keita, Fabinho, Salah, Mane, Firmino
Subs: Mignolet, Camancho, Moreno, Jones, Shaqiri (69’), Sturrage, Origi (75’)