West Ham good value for point against Liverpool as Jarrod Bowen hits ground running after injury

Big influece: Jarrod Bowen was involved in both West Ham goals (Getty Images)
Big influece: Jarrod Bowen was involved in both West Ham goals (Getty Images)

If this is the day when Liverpool finally fell too far behind Arsenal and Manchester City to be considered part of the title race any longer, they can have no complaints about the manner in which they dropped two crucially important points.

This was not a smash-and-grab tale of David Moyes’s West Ham nicking a result they far from merited.

No. Rather, they went toe-to-toe with Liverpool at the London Stadium, not only claiming a 2-2 draw but deserving one.

The Hammers defended from the front with a carefully selected pressing strategy which forced Virgil van Dijk, Wataru Endo and Jarell Quansah to backtrack, pass vacuously between themselves, and struggle for long periods to play the ball forward and get Liverpool moving.

The signing of James Ward-Prowse has given West Ham a newfound aptitude from set-pieces, but it was before he had even entered the fray as Moyes’ only substitute of the afternoon that they opened the scoring from one.

Jarrod Bowen’s 21st goal involvement of the Premier League season — a fine header from a corner — reminded Moyes what he has been missing in the last four games when the forward was out with injury.

His 22nd goal contribution was just as important, sealing a point West Ham earned against a Liverpool side who threatened to run away with the game once they levelled through Andy Robertson three minutes after the break. To the credit of West Ham’s structure and diligence, that never did happen.

Michail Antonio headed home from Jarrod Bowen’s cross (Action Images via Reuters)
Michail Antonio headed home from Jarrod Bowen’s cross (Action Images via Reuters)

Instead, a 2-1 deficit was not to last. Bowen crossed with great precision onto the head of Michail Antonio, whose aerial threat is one of his greatest assets. Antonio nodded past the rooted Alisson. As unmoved as Alisson are West Ham — still eighth, still hunting for European football for the fourth successive year. Manchester United, Newcastle, Chelsea and Bournemouth around them all have games in hand, but the Irons are going nowhere.

Moyes, out of contract this summer, may well not be here next season, but he will work hard to get the club into Europe right until the end of the season. He and his coaching staff will have seen little here that greatly concerned them about their side.

That said, it is now nine games without a clean-sheet. “It’s been a big problem for us probably for a part of the season,” Moyes said on Friday.

While nothing much could be done to prevent Robertson’s super strike, Alphonse Areola’s own goal which gave Liverpool the lead on 65 minutes deflected off Angelo Ogbonna, Tomas Soucek and, finally, goalkeeper Areola before crossing the line. No goal is a welcome one to concede, but this was particularly ugly.

But it wasn’t Areola’s fault, and the Frenchman, at one end, and Bowen, at the other, ensured Liverpool were denied the victory their title charge desperately needed.

West Ham acquitted themselves well. Their point was merited.