James Milner believes that Liverpool’s lack of intensity cost them the chance to win the game against West Ham at Anfield on Sunday afternoon.
Liverpool started the game very well, playing exquisite football at times and fully deserved to take the lead through Adam Lallana after five minutes of play. Despite playing the better football, West Ham pulled one back after Lallana fouled Pedro Obiang and Dimitri Payet converted the subsequent free kick.
Things went from good, to bad to worse very quickly as Michail Antonio made the most of indecisive goalkeeping from Loris Karius to give the Hammers the lead five minutes before the interval.
Despite Divock Origi’s equaliser three minutes into the second half, Liverpool failed to replicate the intensity that has been on display for most of this season. James Milner, speaking to Liverpool’s official website, said that the reason the Reds lost the game was due to this inability to find the same rhythm and energy that has seen Liverpool catapulted into the title race.
“I thought we started pretty well, got around the ball, [played] some good bits of football,” he told Liverpoolfc.com.
“But when we went in the lead it seemed to change slightly; I don’t think it was bad but it wasn’t the same intensity.
“We didn’t keep it simple enough I don’t think and we’ve let them back into the game. We started the second half very well, but it’s too late then really.
“We got ourselves back into the game, had chances to win it, but it’s giving ourselves a lot to do from being in a good position.”
Liverpool squandered the opportunity to widen the gap between them and Manchester City and failed to make ground on league leaders Chelsea – the Blues are in excellent shape and have won their last nine Premier League games, having not suffered defeat since Arsenal trounced them in a 3-0 win back in late September.
While there has been plenty talk of Liverpool being out of the title race, a logical person could safely classify such talk as being too reactionary. Liverpool are six points behind Chelsea with 23 games of the season to play. While Jurgen Klopp’s side still have a lot of work to do, there is no saying that Liverpool or Manchester City are without a chance at winning the league.
Liverpool’s next game is a midweek clash with Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium. The away fixture will be tricky as Boro have proved to be a tough team to beat this season. Klopp will tell his players that it’s time to get back to winning ways and ensure that his side doesn’t slip further down the league table.