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EPL week 25 review: Liverpool draw at West Ham thanks to an offside goal

TAGs: English Premier League, liverpool, Manchester City, West Ham

Week 25 of the English Premier League ends with the gap between Manchester City and Liverpool now three points, after Jürgen Klopp’s side drew 1-1 with West Ham at the London Stadium.

December 29 and Liverpool seemed welded to the summit of the English Premier League (EPL) unmoved by the 19 teams blowing a gale force wind below. February 4, and the weld has come away; Liverpool is swaying on a rickety scaffold.

EPL Wk 25 Review: Liverpool draw at West Ham thanks to an offside goalWhen West Ham welcomed Liverpool to the London Stadium, you sensed ‘history’ between the two bosses. Manuel Pellegrini played the role of ‘Avenger’ with unfinished business from his days as Malaga boss (he lost to Klopp’s Dortmund in a contentious Champions League Quarter-Final in 2013), and with City still providing room service to his heart. Klopp…well, he’s the man, and there’s a lot of pressure that comes with that position.

That pressure leaked out of the German boss looking to bring the title to Liverpool for the first time since 1990 when he criticised referee Kevin Friend for showing favouritism to West Ham after his linesman had missed James Milner’s offside in the build-up to his side’s opening goal.

“I heard our goal was offside; I’m pretty sure the ref knew that,” Klopp told BBC Sport after the game. “In 50-50 situations it was always a free-kick for the other team.”

Then later, speaking to Sky Sports, Klopp added: “As a human being, if I know I have made a big mistake in the first half, I don’t want to open the gap any more.”

Talking about gaps, and Liverpool’s second successive draw, coupled with Manchester City’s return to form means the lead at the top has shrunk from nine points to three in the space of five weeks. Man City could even return to the top if they beat Everton on Wednesday night.

Back to the game, and it’s one that West Ham should have won. Pellegrini’s side was at it from the beginning with Javier Hernandez twice coming close to opening the scoring either side of an Aaron Cresswell drive that whizzed past the post.

Then came the controversial moment that led to much finger wagging between the two ‘gaffers’ after the match.

Adam Lallana picked up the ball on the right-hand side of the pitch. The England star pirouetted like a ballerina in the midst of a pack of hungry hammers before passing to James Milner in an offside position. The Liverpool captain put the ball into the box, and Sadio Mané collected it with his back to goal, turned, and scored with a left-foot drive. It was Mané’s third consecutive goal for the club, and Milner’s 81st EPL assist, one more than David Beckham, and the most of any player still alive and kicking in the world’s top division.

West Ham reacted brilliantly.

Six minutes after going behind, Felipe Anderson picked out the diagonal run of Michail Antonio with a cute free-kick, and the versatile player scored off the foot of the post with a low drive.

The Hammers had the better chances from that point onward. Declan Rice missed the pick of the bunch when he headed over the bar, unchallenged, from another sweet delivery from the man of the match, Anderson. Mark Noble blasted over the bar from inside the box on 73-minutes.

Liverpool could have snatched it with the last kick of the game when Naby Keita (who broke the record for playing in the most EPL games without losing: 18) chipped the ball over the West Ham defence, and substitute Divock Origi failed to bring the ball under control with only Lukasz Fabianski to beat.

Fortunately, Origi didn’t score, because he was offside, and I don’t think the Avenger could have taken it.

Liverpool will be hoping to get back to winning ways when bruised, and battered Bournemouth arrives at Anfield on Saturday. West Ham, ended a run of three straight defeats with this draw, and face a tricky trip to Crystal Palace on the weekend.

Results in Full

Spurs 1 v 0 Newcastle
Everton 1 v 3 Wolves
Chelsea 5 v 0 Huddersfield
Brighton 0 v 0 Watford
Burnley 1 v 1 Southampton
Crystal Palace 2 v 0 Fulham
Cardiff 2 v 0 Bournemouth
Leicester 0 v 1 Man Utd
Man City 3 v 1 Arsenal
West Ham 1 v 1 Liverpool

Premier League Table

1. Liverpool – 62 points
2. Man City – 59
3. Spurs – 57
4. Chelsea – 50
5. Man Utd – 48
6. Arsenal – 47
7. Wolves – 38
8. Watford – 34
9. Everton – 33
10. Bournemouth – 33
11. Leicester – 32
12. West Ham – 32
13. Brighton – 27
14. Crystal Palace – 26
15. Newcastle – 24
16. Southampton – 24
17. Burnley – 24
18. Cardiff – 22
19. Fulham – 17
20. Huddersfield – 11

Odds

To Win

Liverpool 8/13
Man City 11/8
Spurs 25/1

Top 4 Finish

Spurs 1/8
Chelsea 8/11
Man Utd 6/4
Arsenal 3/1

Relegated

Huddersfield 1/100
Fulham 2/9
Cardiff 1/2
Burnley 2/1

Top Scorer

Mohamed Salah Evens (16 goals)
Sergio Aguero 3/1 (14 goals)
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 10/3 (15 goals)
Harry Kane 14/1 (14 goals)

Next Manager to Leave

Claude Puel 6/4
Marco Silva 2/1
Neil Warnock 6/1
No Manager to Leave 6/1

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