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Mo Salah and Van Dijk explode in West Ham draw as Klopp's Liverpool career fizzles out


Jurgen Klopp’s farewell tour took another blow as his Liverpool side conceded late on to squander three points away to West Ham United. The championship-chasers had led with 15 minutes to play at the London Stadium, but the 2-2 draw all but rules out Liverpool’s chances of landing the Premier League title.

Once again it was lax defending that cost Liverpool, with Michail Antonio drifting in behind their defence, before nodding home an unchallenged header. It’s been the story of Liverpool’s season and something that could prove the difference in their quest for a second title in four years.

The Merseyside outfit trailed at the interval, but a rejuvenated Liverpool side turned the game on its head during the second half. Andy Robertson levelled things up shortly after the restart, before an Alphonse Areola own-goal gave the visitors a fortunate lead midway through the second period.

It was a sharp change in fortunes compared to the first half for Liverpool, who not for the first time in recent weeks were way short of their lofty standards. Jarrod Bowen had given the Hammers the lead shortly before half-time, heading home Mohammed Kudus’ searching cross – a goal that sparked a feisty reaction from skipper Virgil van Dijk.

Slot’s first task as Liverpool boss becomes clear

Had things gone a little differently this season, Liverpool’s next boss might’ve been inheriting the Premier League champions. Instead, it appears Arne Slot – or whoever takes the reins at Anfield – will have a hefty job on their hands.

However, before the Reds can even begin thinking about challenging for trophies again, Slot will have to arrest Liverpool’s biggest frailty. Bowen’s first-half goal marked the 16th time in the Premier League and the 23rd time across all competitions Liverpool had fallen behind this season.

While they’ve recorded several come-from-behind wins, it isn’t an approach conducive to success. The current Feyenoord manager, should he be appointed, simply has to get a grip on Liverpool’s defensive woes.

Salah future hanging in the balance after Klopp bust-up

Could Klopp leaving allow Liverpool to keep hold of Mohamed Salah? The pair’s relationship appears to have taken a turn for the worse in recent weeks, with Salah dropped from Liverpool’s starting XI once again for the West Ham game.

Salah had been left out of the starting line-up for last week’s win against Fulham, but returned to the XI on Wednesday against Everton. Serving up a dire showing at Goodison Park, Klopp decided to drop Salah for the game at the London Stadium, before bringing him off the bench with the game tied at 2-2.

However, the television cameras picked up a frank exchange between the pair on the touchline before Salah came on, with neither party looking best pleased. There was no reconciling after the full-time whistle, with Salah storming straight down the tunnel.

Having been linked to a move away from Liverpool last summer, talk about Salah’s future ahead of the 2024 summer window has already started to pop up.

Trent’s defensive issues haunt Liverpool again

It’s been a tough week for Trent Alexander-Arnold, with the right-back coming under heavy criticism for how he defended Everton’s second goal on Wednesday night. Those woes were compounded at the London Stadium, with a sleepy Trent once again switched off for West Ham’s opener.

While not as egregious an error, Alexander-Arnold drifted out of Liverpool’s rigid defensive line, allowing Angelo Ogbonna to stay onside. Bowen was the goalscorer, but it might’ve been ruled out for offside, given Ogbonna was in the eye line of Alisson Becker.

VAR shambles highlights reasoning for major change next season

It was a decision most people watching at home would’ve been able to confirm on first viewing. Luis Diaz was flagged offside following a Liverpool penalty appeal, with replays showing the Colombian had clearly gone too early.

Not that those in Stockley Park agreed, with close to two minutes needed to decipher whether Diaz was adjudged to have been offside. VAR eventually agreed with the on-field decision, but not before TNT Sports commentator Ally McCoist brandished the incident ‘unacceptable’.

Long waits for offside checks should become a thing of the past next season, with semi-automated technology heading to the Premier League. McCoist can take a huge sigh of relief.

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