Premier League: are Liverpool running out of steam in the title race?
Man City could reclaim top spot with a win against Everton on Wednesday
West Ham United 1 Liverpool 1
It’s official. Liverpool are in trouble. Having led the rest of the Premier League by nine points at the end of the year, the Reds are now just three points ahead of Manchester City after dropping four points in their last two matches.
Last week’s 1-1 draw at home to Leicester City was repeated last night in east London when West Ham held the leaders to a draw.
The Hammers had lost their last three games when they went into last night’s clash with the Reds. Another defeat looked set to be on the cards when they went behind to a strike from Sadio Mane on 22 minutes.
But it took West Ham just six minutes to find an equaliser when Michail Antonio powered home as a sluggish Liverpool defence looked on. The visitors created only a handful of chances in the rest of the game in another worrying display for their fans.
City in with a shout
The results mean that if Man City beat Everton tomorrow night at Goodison Park they’ll reclaim the top spot they lost to Liverpool on 5 December.
There will also be a spring in the step of Tottenham’s players this morning as they arrive for training with the Lilywhites just five points behind the leaders.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp blamed the snow for the points dropped against Leicester and last night injuries were held responsible. “It’s just a fact, it’s not an excuse,” he said. “The preparation for the game was far from being perfect and we still got a point.”
Dejan Lovren, Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum were missing from the line-up. They joined Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold on a lengthening Liverpool injury list.
If the Reds have been unlucky with injuries of late, they were fortunate that Mane’s goal stood because James Milner was offside in the build-up.
“Klopp is used to winning with offside goals,” said West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini, referring to an incident in 2013 when his Malaga side lost to Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League quarter-final.
“He beat me against Malaga with a goal seven metres offside. So he cannot complain about anything.”
But Klopp did, claiming that the officials’ mistake in allowing Mane’s goal made them overly cautious in how they controlled the rest of the match.
“If I know I have made a big mistake in the first half, I don’t want to open the gap any more,” said the German. “Apparently our goal was offside and maybe the referee knew that in the second half.”
That remark will be used as evidence by the Reds’ rivals that the pressure is starting to get to Klopp, who must address the mini crisis ahead of two crucial matches.
After hosting Bournemouth at Anfield on Saturday, the Reds will play Bayern Munich in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie, before travelling to Old Trafford to face Manchester United on 24 February.
“It’s not about pressure, it’s about enjoying the situation you are in,” said Klopp in response to a question about Liverpool’s dropped points. “We have 62 points, [and] have lost one game in the whole season so far, which is very positive.”
Premier League results, fixtures and TV guide
- Tottenham Hotspur 1 Newcastle United 0
- Brighton & Hove Albion 0 Watford 0
- Burnley 1 Southampton 1
- Chelsea 5 Huddersfield Town 0
- Crystal Palace 2 Fulham 0
- Everton 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 3
- Cardiff City 2 AFC Bournemouth 0
- Leicester City 0 Manchester United 1
- Manchester City 3 Arsenal 1
- West Ham United 1 Liverpool 1
FixturesWednesday 6 February
- Everton vs. Manchester City (7.45pm)
Saturday 9 February (3pm unless stated)
- Fulham vs. Manchester United (12.30pm, live on Sky Sports)
- Crystal Palace vs. West Ham United
- Huddersfield Town vs. Arsenal
- Liverpool vs. AFC Bournemouth
- Southampton vs. Cardiff City
- Watford vs. Everton
- Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Burnley (5.30pm, live on BT Sport)
Sunday 10 February
- Tottenham Hotspur vs. Leicester City (1.30pm, live on Sky Sports)
- Manchester City vs. Chelsea (4pm, live on Sky Sports)
Monday 11 February
- Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Newcastle United (8pm, live on Sky Sports)