x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Hammers hold out for a point

Liverpool were booed off by a frustrated Anfield crowd after being held 0-0 by West Ham on Monday.

Liverpool's Ryan Babel, left, is thwarted by James Collins of West Ham as the two teams played out a 0-0 draw at Anfield.
Liverpool's Ryan Babel, left, is thwarted by James Collins of West Ham as the two teams played out a 0-0 draw at Anfield.

LIVERPOOL // Liverpool were booed off by a frustrated Anfield crowd after being held 0-0 by West Ham on Monday, squandering a chance to pull away from Chelsea at the top of the Barclays Premier League. The Reds now lead the Blues, who were beaten by Arsenal on Saturday, by one point, but missed a host of chances and allowed West Ham to earn their first points at Anfield in nine years. "The crowd is disappointed after a draw at home, but they will see the newspapers that say we are top of the league and that is important," the Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez said.

"We played much better than before so that is positive and if we can keep winning games the other teams have to keep winning." Sami Hyypia and Dirk Kuyt came close with first half headers, while West Ham's Craig Bellamy twice threatened to inflict damage to his former club's title ambitions. "I'd love to see Liverpool win every game for the rest of the season apart from when we play them," Bellamy said. "We tried to make it frustrating for them and also had decent opportunities. It's very difficult to get a result here because they have great players."

The third 0-0 draw of the season at Anfield came in freezing conditions against the stubborn Hammers, just nine days after the Reds were held to the same result by Fulham. "We clearly deserved to win. From the beginning to the end we tried to win and that's why they had one or two counter attacks in the second half," Benitez said. "We didn't play well against Fulham but in this game we had plenty of possession, passed and moved the ball, and had chances.

"If you play badly, don't have chances and the other team is in control, you can be worried. But we were much better." Benitez will have to hope that view is shared by co-owner George Gillett Jr, who was at Anfield for the first time since September as the Spanish manager negotiates a new contract. *AP