Hammer Draw with Reds
By Tom Dowsett
Tuesday 05 Feb 2019 15:35:00
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There were further reasons for the home fans to celebrate in Stratford on Monday night. Not only had West Ham United followed up their win against Arsenal last month with a another positive result, but they had conceded less than four goals in a match with Liverpool for the first time in two seasons as they held the current Premier League leaders to a 1-1 draw.

Manuel Pellegrini made three changes to the side that faced newly-promoted Wolverhampton Wanderers last Tuesday, as Ryan Fredericks made his first start since the Carabao Cup tie against Tottenham Hotspur on 31 October, replacing Pablo Zabaleta who dropped to the bench. 

Aaron Cresswell regained his place in the side with Arthur Masuaku also taking his place amongst the substitutes, while Javier Hernández filled in for Marko Arnautovic, who was still suffering with his foot injury picked up in the 3-0 defeat at Molineux.

Although the Hammers had one extra day to prepare for this game, they still knew it would take something special to get anything from an encounter with Jürgen Klopp's men but they actually had the better of the chances in the first-half and created three before Liverpool got into their rhythm.

The home side almost took the lead as early as the third minute when Hernández found himself free in the box but unfortunately sent his curling effort wide.

With the visitors still not at their scintillating best, the Irons were able to have another go at goal this time through Cresswell but his effort went just past the post.

The Hammers continued to apply pressure on the visitors' goal but goalkeeper Alisson Becker was the one to thwart the striker this time.

Liverpool were lucky that they had been let off the hook and finally sprung into life on twenty minutes when the ball bobbled around and Roberto Firmino pounced but thankfully, Hammers' goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski saved well.

The Pole wasn't so lucky just two minutes later though, as the side who have still only suffered one defeat this season went in front.

James Milner received possession from Adam Lallana who then crossed for Sadio Mané to turn the ball home. However, linesman Simon Beck failed to spot that Milner was offside when he sent the ball over.

To their credit, West Ham didn't dwell on being behind and levelled matters just six minutes later when a clever freekick routine caught Naby Keïta out and Felipe Anderson combined well with Michail Antonio for the former Nottingham Forest man to fire across Becker with a deflection off the far post.

The hosts weren't letting up as the first-half drew to a close. In fact, they could have gone into the break with the advantage had Declan Rice done better with his free header from Anderson's precise freekick.

The hosts could be proud of their efforts as the two teams disappeared into the dressing rooms for the break and were keen to keep it going into the second-half. Pellegrini's men wanted to build on their first-half performance but Liverpool were determined to keep the pressure on Manchester City in the race for top spot.

The end-to-end nature of the game was still in evidence, though West Ham had to stand firm and repel everything that Liverpool were throwing at them.

Mohamed Salah had a great chance to restore his teams advantage but after motoring past both Robert Snodgrass and Rice, the home faithful were grateful that Fabianski was on hand to prevent any further danger.

Despite the visitors having the majority of the possession, the hosts still looked dangerous and missed a gilt-edged chance to turn the game on its head when the ball dropped invitingly for captain Mark Noble from Anderson's knockdown but he snatched at the opportunity and sent the ball flying over.

Pellegrini decided to help his side out by making a double change on 78 minutes. He introduced Pedro Obiang and Andy Carroll in place of both Hernández and the skipper.

The manager was keen to keep it tight for the rest of the game and just after Anderson was given the Man of the Match award by the sponsors and Fourth Official Graham Scott signalled that three extra minutes would be added at the end of the ninety, the manager made his third and final change. Masuaku took the place of the Brazilian midfielder.

Divock Origi could have sealed the points for visitors when he raced through but blazed over the top. Replays showed the officials had yet again not seen that he was offside.

West Ham did hold on for the point and they have a quick turnaround now as they make the trip across London to Selhurst Park and face Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon.

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