ReportLiverpool suffer first defeat of season at West Ham
Liverpool suffered a first defeat of 2021-22 as they were beaten 3-2 by West Ham United in the Premier League on Sunday.
The Reds fell behind after four minutes at London Stadium when Alisson Becker was credited with an own goal from a Pablo Fornals corner after attempting to claim the ball under pressure from Angelo Ogbonna. Despite the protests of the visiting players and a VAR check, the effort was allowed to stand.
Jürgen Klopp’s side drew level, with Trent Alexander-Arnold arching a free-kick into the top corner from the edge of the box four minutes prior to the interval.
However, the Hammers went back in front midway through the second period when Fornals was sent through on goal and finished beyond Alisson, before Kurt Zouma headed in a third soon after.
Divock Origi came off the bench to pull one back, but Liverpool were unable to find a leveller as they were defeated for the first time since April.
Liverpool’s teamsheet showed one change from the midweek victory over Atletico Madrid, with Andy Robertson returning to the starting line-up in place of Kostas Tsimikas.
Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mane, Salah, Jota.
Subs: Kelleher, Konate, Thiago, Minamino, Tsimikas, Origi, Phillips, Williams, Morton.
Liverpool knew they would set a new club record, since joining the Football League in 1893, of 26 matches unbeaten in all competitions if they avoided defeat at London Stadium.
However, they found themselves behind inside four minutes when a corner from the left from Fornals found the net, with Alisson put under pressure by Ogbonna. The goalkeeper claimed he had been impeded, but the effort was allowed to stand following a VAR check and marked down as an own goal by the visiting stopper.
The VAR was also involved again soon after, this time checking for a possible red card for Aaron Cresswell following a challenge on Jordan Henderson, ultimately finding in favour of the West Ham full-back.
Liverpool were commanding the ball, but their first real sight of Lukasz Fabianski’s goal didn’t arrive until after the half-hour mark when Diogo Jota skimmed the roof of the net with a glancing header from a Henderson delivery.
Alexander-Arnold then scooped a volley over the bar from the edge of the box after Zouma’s headed clearance had fallen into his path.
Nevertheless, the No.66 would find the target with 41 minutes on the clock when he curled a sublime free-kick over a Hammers wall and into the top corner from the edge of the area.
The Reds threatened again before the break, but Sadio Mane’s goal-bound shot was blocked by Craig Dawson inside the box, while Michail Antonio thought he’d gone clean through only for his touch to evade him at the other end.
Then, deep into six minutes of first-half stoppage time, Virgil van Dijk brilliantly thwarted Jarrod Bowen as the home side’s forward looked to pull the trigger from a dangerous position inside the area.
The second period began with chances at both ends, with West Ham first seeing Dawson’s header from a corner come off the top of the crossbar and go behind.
Then, Robertson's first-time diversion from a pinpoint Alexander-Arnold pass picked out Mane, who had a volleyed effort from 12 yards beaten away by Fabianski.
Next, Mohamed Salah cracked a strike wide when the ball broke for him on the bounce via a deflection on a Mane cross.
But, on 67 minutes, West Ham regained the lead. Bowen held onto possession in midfield before sliding Fornals clean through, who struck low beyond the advancing Alisson.
Liverpool almost mustered an immediate response, but Jota headed into the side-netting from Henderson’s cross.
Thiago Alcantara and Origi were dispatched from the bench as the Reds sought to salvage something, but the home team went further ahead with 15 minutes remaining thanks to Zouma’s back-post header at a corner.
Origi’s smart turn-and-finish reduced the deficit with seven minutes remaining to give the visitors hope, but Mane could only send a stooping header wide in added time as Liverpool suffered a first loss of the campaign.