West Ham goal­keeper gifts Liver­pool point

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

LIVER­POOL: Divock Origi scored for the fourth con­sec­u­tive match to save a point for frail Liver­pool as they were frus­trated in their at­tempts to stay in touch with Premier League lead­ers Chelsea yes­ter­day. Jur­gen Klopp’s side took an early lead through Adam Lal­lana’s stylish fin­ish, but weak­nesses at the back al­lowed Dim­itri Payet’s free-kick and a neat fin­ish by Michail An­to­nio to give West Ham a sur­prise half-time lead at An­field. Loris Kar­ius, the Liver­pool goal­keeper, was ar­guably at fault for Payet’s goal, but then saw Ham­mers coun­ter­part Dar­ren Ran­dolph make a mis­take for Origi’s equal­izer by fail­ing to hold Sa­dio Mane’s cross.

The 2-2 draw did at least lift West Ham out of the rel­e­ga­tion zone, al­though it ex­tended their run with­out a Premier League vic­tory to six matches. It looked like be­ing a gloomy day for Slaven Bilic’s side when they con­ceded a well­worked goal in the first five min­utes, as Mane crossed from the left and Lal­lana took a touch to con­trol be­fore steer­ing a shot past Ran­dolph. Yet even in the early stages Liver­pool’s de­fen­sive frailties that marked last week­end’s 4-3 de­feat at Bournemouth were ap­par­ent once again.

An­to­nio found space too eas­ily as he sprinted be­tween cen­ter-backs De­jan Lovren and Joel Matip to col­lect Win­ston Reid’s long ball over the top, but Kar­ius turned aside the shot at his near post. Kar­ius was then caught out as West Ham drew level in the 27th minute, get­ting a hand to Payet’s free-kick as it was floated over the wall, but fail­ing to stop it. That equal­izer af­fected Liver­pool’s rhythm, de­spite half-chances for Jor­dan Hen­der­son and Roberto Firmino soon after­wards, and they went be­hind six min­utes be­fore half time to an­other soft goal.

This time Havard Nordtveit’s long di­ag­o­nal pass out of de­fense flicked off Hen­der­son to wrong-foot Matip, who was caught on his heels as An­to­nio ran into the space be­hind him to flick the ball beyond Kar­ius - who was caught in no­man’s land - and in. Liver­pool could have been level by the in­ter­val but Firmino glanced wide from Ge­orginio Wi­j­nal­dum’s cross and then Lal­lana had a penalty ap­peal re­jected af­ter tum­bling with Payet’s arm across his chest.

Ref­eree Mark Clat­ten­burg gave only a cor­ner and from it Matip nod­ded Hen­der­son’s de­liv­ery on to the face of the cross­bar. Klopp’s team were though level within three min­utes of the restart. Mane spun to cross from the left, Ran­dolph lost his bal­ance and the ball as he stretched to try to gather, and Origi turned it in via the post. Spir­its re­stored, Liver­pool al­most re­gained the lead within mo­ments, as Wi­j­nal­dum steered a shot just wide on the turn from the edge of the penalty area.

Wi­j­nal­dum had an­other good chance just af­ter the hour mark af­ter be­ing played into space down the left, but placed his ef­fort beyond the far post. Hen­der­son then bent a fine 25-yard shot to­wards the top cor­ner mid­way through the sec­ond half, only for Ran­dolph to deny him with mag­nif­i­cent fly­ing save. Bilic brought on for­mer Liver­pool striker Andy Car­roll with just un­der half-an-hour to play. The home side fin­ished the stronger, though, with full-back Nathaniel Clyne blaz­ing over af­ter Lal­lana’s clever back-heeled flick from Mane’s low cross.

LIVER­POOL: Liver­pool’s Sa­dio Mane and West Ham United’s An­gelo Og­bonna (back) jump for a high ball dur­ing their English Premier League foot­ball match at An­field yes­ter­day. — AP

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