HomeViews and OpinionsLiverpool woeful in draw at West Ham

Liverpool woeful in draw at West Ham

Any lingering hopes of a late Liverpool title challenge were surely finally extinguished after a draw at West Ham. After a truly abysmal first half display, which saw Liverpool come from behind in the second period, they failed to hang on to the lead. Securing Champions League football is realistically all that’s left to play for, with Jurgen Klopp and his players having just three more opportunities to ensure that Arne Slot is competing in Europe’s premier competition next season.

Those of us who’d hoped for a positive reaction to the mid-week derby defeat, instead saw a quite shocking first half display from Liverpool. To describe the opening forty five minutes as mediocre would be to do a disservice to mediocrity. West Ham, barely any better themselves, did though manage to take the lead through Bowen just ahead of the half-time whistle.

Once again, schoolboy defending, players not facing the ball, players not being alert to a quick set-piece, cost Liverpool dear. So with monotonous regularity, Klopp’s team trailed. Surely changes would have to be made at the interval, but having made five changes to the starting eleven from the debacle at Goodison, Klopp evidently sent them out having surely tore into them in the dressing room.

Somewhat surprisingly, whatever was said at half-time, had the desired affect. There was energy, purpose and intensity. Andy Robertson set the tone, equalised from inside the penalty box and so, before the hour was up, Liverpool were in front. A close range shot from Cody Gakpo somehow finding its way into the net via a series of deflections. However, without a third, Liverpool always looked likely to squander their advantage, and so it proved.

Having barely had a kick for much of the game, it was Antonio who levelled for the Hammers. A thunderous header beating Alisson. Attention then turned to what looked like an ugly spat between Mo Salah and Klopp on the touchline.

Salah, benched after recent poor performances, took umbridge at something Klopp said to him, and was probably aggrieved that he hadn’t been introduced to the game prior to the 80th minute. However, it was ugly and perhaps betrayed what may have been going on behind the scenes, as Liverpool’s season has unravelled in the past three or four weeks. It will of course, also raise questions about the Egyptian’s future at the club.

So Liverpool, with just four points from nine on the road in the past week, look like limping towards third or fourth place in the league. Klopp meanwhile, must be at a loss as to what to do next. Multiple team changes over recent games seems to have made little difference. The players, almost all of them, looks bereft of confidence, energy and most alarmingly, desire.