Well that was stressful.
Liverpool kept themselves in the title race—but only just—squeaking past a persistent West Ham side to win 1-0 at Anfield.
The hosts dominated much of the first half, with David Moyes’ side fortunate to only be behind by the margin of Sadio Mané’s 27th minute strike at the whistle. However, the Londoners stepped it up in the second period, spurning a number of big chances as the Reds survived an entire half’s worth of squeaky bum time.
Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp appeared particularly relieved at the full-time whistle, seeming to put a little extra into his trademark fist pumps to the cheering Kop.
Klopp's fist pumps, featuring a quick drop of the shoulder to ditch the cameraman pic.twitter.com/5QLAdiTMeN— This Is Anfield (@thisisanfield) March 5, 2022
“It was difficult—it was a tricky fixture,” the German admitted in his post-match interview.
“We did really well in the first half. We knew what West Ham were good at and in the first half we denied them. We could have scored more but we didn’t.”
“The game was left open, they were pretty direct. [Michail] Antonio used his body pretty smartly, but they had moments because we didn’t defend the second balls properly in the second half.”
“If you are not well organized, you have to defend with passion, and that is what we did.”
After providing a league-leading 11th assist for the goal, Trent Alexander-Arnold did his utmost to preserve the result, clearing a chipped shot from Pablo Fornals, before later putting off Manuel Lanzini just enough for the Hammers attacker to blaze over the bar from five yards out.
How important could this goal-line clearance be in the title race?— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) March 5, 2022
Trent Alexander-Arnold's first-half heroics on the line proved to be decisive as Liverpool held on for a 1-0 win over West Ham! pic.twitter.com/3ZABUIQ7tu
“We didn’t defend the West Ham chance [Trent clearance] well enough,” Klopp continued.
“You can’t defend it like that. The other chances we lost the challenges. But you can’t win the amount we have without stressing your luck from time to time.”
“I am absolutely happy with the result but I know we can do much better. It is a very special win, it feels great. West Ham are a very strong opponent. It is no coincidence they are where they are.”
The result keeps the Hammers at fifth in the table, but narrows the gap between Liverpool and Manchester City at the top to just three points ahead of tomorrow’s Manchester derby. Meanwhile, Liverpool supporters can exhale for a few days before they welcome Inter Milan for the second leg of their round-of-16 Champions League tie.