Premier League: Liverpool’s slim title hopes fade further with 2-2 draw at West Ham

Liverpool’s slim Premier League title hopes faded further on Saturday when Michail Antonio’s late header earned West Ham United a deserved point with a 2-2 draw.

Liverpool, reeling from a 2-0 loss at Everton in the Merseyside derby on Wednesday, was marginally the better side in a flat first half. The visiting side had a penalty denied for an offside in the build-up before Luis Diaz hit the post.

It again conceded first, however, when Jarrod Bowen nodded home shortly before halftime, his 20th goal of the season in his 200th game for the Hammers.

The Reds levelled three minutes after the restart through Andy Robertson when his shot wriggled past Alphonse Areola at the goalkeeper’s near post.

Liverpool then took the lead in the 65th minute through the ugliest of own goals, with Cody Gakpo’s sliced effort bouncing off Angelo Ogbonna before Tomas Soucek’s attempted clearance hit the unfortunate Areola and crossed the line.

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Antonio dragged the hosts back on terms when he met Bowen’s cross with a powerful header in the 77th minute, shortly before Juergen Klopp introduced Mohamed Salah in a triple substitution preceded by a heated exchange with his manager.

“We spoke about that in the dressing room and it’s done for me, that’s all,” Klopp told reporters.

Salah, however, told reporters that “there’s going to be fire today if I speak”, in footage uploaded to social media.

Harvey Elliott hit the bar as Liverpool tried in vain to find a dramatic winner, but it was held to a draw and has now taken just five points from its last five league games as its title challenge has petered out.

Liverpool remains third on 75 points, one behind second-placed Manchester City, which has played two games fewer, and two behind first-placed Arsenal, which have a game in hand and a much-superior goal difference.

It can now only hope that City and Arsenal slip up and Gakpo told TNT Sports his side is in “a very, very difficult position”.

“It is going to be difficult, not impossible, but very, very difficult,” he added.

Asked if he had written off Liverpool’s title chances, a resigned-looking Klopp said: “I don’t think about it really. I said before we need to win our games, we didn’t win the game, that doesn’t improve our situation massively.

“Do they (City and Arsenal) look like they will lose two or three games? No, I don’t think so.”

West Ham keeps its faint chances of European qualification alive with a draw that means it stays eighth on 49 points, one behind Newcastle United and four behind Manchester United, both of whom have two games in hand.

West Ham boss David Moyes said he thought Liverpool was the better side, but praised his players’ character to get a result after falling behind.

“The players stuck at it, we have done it quite often to a lot of big sides here this season … so maybe you shouldn’t be too surprised that we’ve bloodied somebody’s nose,” he added.

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