It has been a terrific week for Liverpool fans around the world. They beat Chelsea on penalties in the FA cup final at Wembley in yesterday’s showpiece and then watched on with ecstasy as Jarrod Bowen tore through Manchester City twice to help the Hammers secure a draw at the London Stadium.
After a pre-match send-off for club captain Mark Noble, an emotionally-heightened London Stadium saw the visitors dominate the opening exchanges.
Oleksandr Zinchenko found himself deterred by the recovering Declan Rice before Fernandinho and Aymeric Laporte struck over the bar. Gabriel Jesus also saw his shot blocked in what was a lightning start to the game from the Citizens. They also had a penalty shout waived away. Jesus was bundled over in the area, but the referee was not interested in his appeals.
West Ham’s set-up proved to be dangerous. They countered clinically twice before the break, one of which saw Pablo Fornals pick out Jarrod Bowen, who rounded Ederson. The goal meant that West Ham have now scored in every home league game of a top-flight season for only the second time. It got better for the hosts as Michail Antonio, after winning the ball high up the field, fed Bowen, who doubled his tally and West Ham’s lead clinically in first-half stoppage time. West Ham 2-0 Manchester City.
Manchester City arrived on the back of five straight wins by three or more goals. West Ham was always going to be a tricky tie, but the visitors seemed a different proposition in the second half. Pep must have reminded them that their potential fourth title in five years was in jeopardy.
Barely three minutes after the restart, Jack Grealish pulled one back for City when he volleyed home a Rodri knockdown. The Champions were coming for them on all sides, but Antonio should have restored their two-goal advantage. His audacious lob sailed wide after good pressure from Declan Rice. The hosts were punished when Vladimír Coufal headed a Kevin De Bruyne free-kick into his own net to draw City level.
Fired up after the equalizer, Guardiola’s men pushed for a third goal to complete the comeback. Five minutes to full time, they were awarded a penalty when Craig Dawson tripped Jesus.
Only a handful of players have a better conversion rate than Riyad Mahrez from 12 yards out, however, the Algerian saw his penalty saved by Łukasz Fabiański. The Polish goalkeeper dived correctly to his left to preserve a precious point for West Ham.
The results means West Ham will finish in the top seven in consecutive PL seasons for the first time. Meanwhile, Pep Guardiola knows his side have just dragged Liverpool back into contention for the title. Not that the reds were ever officially out, but they will move within a point of City should they secure a win when they travel to the Saint Mary’s stadium to face Southampton on Tuesday.