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Hammers hold Reds


Luis Suarez, right, and James Collins compete for the ball

Luis Suarez, right, and James Collins compete for the ball


Luis Suarez, right, and James Collins compete for the ball

Liverpool's top-six hopes suffered another crushing blow as they drew 0-0 with West Ham.

Three weeks after that dismal defeat at Southampton, Brendan Rodgers' side once again failed to spark, skipper Steven Gerrard coming closest to a winner when his effort was cleared off the line by the outstanding James Tomkins.

But the Hammers, for whom James Collins was equally impressive, also had a claim on the spoils, with Lucas Leiva denying them a first Anfield win in 50 years when he turned away Jack Collison's header five minutes from time.

For with top scorer Luis Suarez not quite on his A game, the hosts struggled to break down an obdurate West Ham outfit. Philippe Coutinho brought a decent early save out of Jussi Jaaskelainen, who also denied Stewart Downing before injury forced the former Middlesbrough man to give way to Daniel Sturridge.

But it was not until Coutinho found Suarez with an excellent return pass inside a crowded penalty area that Liverpool really came close, this time Jaaskelainen repelling the effort with his legs.

Mohamed Diame wriggled free of three Liverpool defenders before driving his shot over, whilst Carlton Cole should have done much better than drive an effort straight at Daniel Agger after Lucas had been rushed into an error.

Liverpool got better after the break without making that crucial breakthrough. Gerrard almost set up Sturridge before being presented with the clearest chance of the contest when Suarez's shot rebounded into his path off Guy Demel.

The Liverpool skipper could not quite pick his spot given the number of bodies in his way. In the context of this game though, it was a golden chance, which Tomkins superbly turned off the line as the home fans were about to start celebrating.

Suarez then fizzed a shot across goal that went through Jaaskelainen's legs and flicked off the far post, but brought no reward. Tomkins found himself at the centre of another key moment as he appeared to bring down Gerrard, who had cut inside the Hammers defence.

It would have been a certain penalty had it not been for Tomkins managing to get his foot on the ball before sending Gerrard sprawling. Gerrard curled another effort over as time began to drift away, and only Lucas' fine goal-line clearance from Collison's header prevented Liverpool from being sunk completely.

PA Media