West Ham United 1-1 Liverpool: Michail Antonio earns Hammers a point


Sadio Mane (right) has scored in three consecutive Premier League appearances for Liverpool for only the second time

Premier League leaders Liverpool suffered an uncharacteristic defensive lapse as they only managed a draw against West Ham to boost the hopes of their title rivals.

The Reds extended their lead over second-placed Manchester City to three points but the odds strongly favoured them taking all three against the 12th-placed side.

It started well for Jurgen Klopp’s men when Sadio Mane fired past Lukasz Fabianski in the 22nd minute, but prior to the goal the Hammers showed enough threat in attack to suggest it would not be one-way traffic.

Six minutes later they got a deserved equaliser when Liverpool’s defence failed to read Felipe Anderson’s disguised free-kick and spot Michail Antonio’s run into the area. The English winger finished off with a low angled drive which went in off the post.

Liverpool did not put the West Ham defence under severe pressure, with two efforts from Salah and a header from Mane comfortably dealt with by Fabianski before Divock Origi shot straight at the keeper when he had a clear sight of goal right at the end.

Reds attack fails to fire

It was a match where very little went right for Klopp’s side at either end of the pitch after Mane’s opener.

There was a suspicion of offside for that goal when Adam Lallana outmanoeuvred a couple of defenders on the right before playing a pass to the overlapping James Milner.

Milner looked to be a yard ahead of the final defender, but there was no flag as his square ball found Mane who turned and fired in.

Fabianski had little else to do until the final kick of the game when substitute Origi, who also looked offside, struck his effort straight at the Polish keeper from six yards.

The attack might have lacked its usual potency on Monday, but it was the defensive display that would have had Klopp most concerned.

Hammers take advantage of defensive lapses

The best defence in the league looked amateurish at London Stadium, as they repeatedly failed to track runners from free-kicks.

Antonio was the first to catch the Reds napping as they appeared set for Anderson to play a high ball into the area. Instead the Brazilian sent a low pass into the path of the English winger, who made a diagonal run before firing past Allison.

The jolt should have made the visitors wary of a repeat, but soon after the goal they experienced another lapse when Anderson was allowed to slip around the side of a wall and get a shot away.

That was no more than a half-chance but Declan Rice should have punished the league leaders shortly before the break.

Anderson was again involved as he swung in his delivery from the right into the area and found the unmarked Irish defender, but under no pressure he headed over from 10 yards.

Some would point to the absence of injured trio Dejan Lovren, Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold but they did have player of the year contender Virgil van Dijk marshalling the backline.

It is Bournemouth next for Liverpool and then the stiff tests of Bayern Munich and Manchester United to come later this month.

More to follow.