Liverpool title hopes ebb away after West Ham draw

Jurgen Klopp said he was “not in the mood” to discuss Liverpool’s Premier League title chances after a 2-2 draw at West Ham on Saturday effectively snuffed out their hopes.

Just weeks ago Liverpool were on course for a quadruple of trophies but Klopp’s final season at Anfield is fizzling out.

The latest blow came at the London Stadium, where the visitors realistically had to win to have any chance of staying in the hunt alongside Arsenal and Manchester City.

A goal from Andy Robertson and an own goal from West Ham goalkeeper Alphonse Areola put Liverpool 2-1 in front but Michail Antonio powered a header past Allison Becker to pull David Moyes’s side level.

The single point leaves Liverpool third in the table on 75 points, one behind defending champions City, who have two games in hand. Leaders Arsenal are two points clear of Liverpool, with a game in hand.

Klopp, whose side were dumped out of the FA Cup and Europa League at the quarter-final stage, brushed aside questions about the title race in the aftermath of the disappointing draw.

“I’m not in the mood to talk about that to be honest or look at that at all,” he told TNT Sports.

“We had to win here, we knew that, and we didn’t, and now we have a little bit more time between now and the next game. We try to get the boys ready again and we will go again.”

The German bemoaned his side’s squandered chances, which have cost them dear in recent weeks.

“When we are 2-1 up we could control it, and still, as I said, in a lot of moments playing really well but the final situation we didn’t take,” he said. “That has been the story of the last four weeks.”

– Missed chances –

Liverpool were on the front foot from the start at the London Stadium but energy quickly drained out of the encounter and the atmosphere went flat.

West Ham midfielder Lucas Paqueta was lucky to escape punishment after a reckless early tackle on Alexis Mac Allister.

The contest livened up in the closing minutes of the first period, with Luis Diaz hitting the post for the visitors after good work down the left.

Two minutes later Liverpool goalkeeper Allison was called into action, making a sharp save from Jarrod Bowen’s deflected shot.

But he was powerless to keep out Bowen’s header from the resulting corner, which took the England forward to 16 Premier League goals this season.

Liverpool emerged for the second half with renewed intent and Ryan Gravenberch fired over from just inside the box.

They were back on terms in the 48th minute when Robertson squeezed a shot past Areola at his near post.

Gravenberch attempted a flick minutes later but the chance went begging.

Angelo Ogbonna then made a crucial block as the game opened up before Trent Alexander-Arnold’s shot from distance was saved.

Liverpool got their noses in front in the 65th minute after Cody Gakpo’s shot hit Ogbonna, Tomas Soucek and Areola on its way into the net.

The visitors had chances to pull further ahead but Antonio headed home a Bowen cross in the 77th-minute to level.

Klopp threw on Mohamed Salah, Darwin Nunez and Joe Gomez after the equaliser in a desperate search for a winner.

Salah, who appeared to direct angry words at Klopp before he was introduced, raced forward as the clock ticked down.

His pass fell behind Nunez but Harvey Elliott picked up the ball, rattling a shot off the crossbar — Liverpool’s final clear chance.

West Ham, eighth in the Premier League table, face a battle in their bid to secure European football next season.

Moyes last season delivered the club’s first major trophy for 43 years but has been coy over his future.


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