Divock Origi’s second-half equaliser saw Liverpool salvage a thrilling 2-2 draw in an error-strewn Premier League match against struggling West Ham.
The Belgium international netted for the fourth consecutive match as Jurgen Klopp’s men recovered from losing an early lead at Anfield, but they now sit six points adrift of leaders Chelsea in third place after a second straight match without a victory.
Adam Lallana was brought back into Liverpool’s team as one of two changes and he opened the scoring with his first top-flight strike since September.
But Dimitri Payet equalised for West Ham with a trademark free-kick as poor positioning from home goalkeeper Loris Karius – who also made a mistake at last week’s late collapse at Bournemouth – helped his cause.
Michail Antonio had the visitors in front when he capitalised on a mistake from Joel Matip, but Origi scored from close range after Darren Randolph had dropped Sadio Mane’s cross shortly after half-time to claim a point.
West Ham boss Slaven Bilic was backed by the club’s board this week and while this result extends their winless run to six top-flight matches, it is enough to move them out of the bottom three.
The opener arrived in the fifth minute when Mane made ground down the left after linking up with Origi and sent in a cross for Lallana, with the midfielder afforded time to control and send a calm finish into the far corner from eight yards.
West Ham almost produced an immediate response, but Antonio’s effort was saved by Karius after Winston Reid’s throughball had sent him clean through.
But the visitors did move level after 27 minutes. Following Lallana’s foul on Pedro Obiang, Payet found the bottom corner from 25 yards, with Karius unable to keep it out having given the France international plenty of space to aim for.
Twelve minutes later, West Ham were ahead with some dreadful Liverpool defending punished.
Havard Nordtveit’s long ball forward deflected off Jordan Henderson and was completely missed by Matip, allowing Antonio to steal in and divert his finish past a hesitant Karius.
That meant the visitors went into the break in front, but only after surviving a scare in first-half stoppage time, Matip latching on to Henderson’s corner and seeing his looping header bounce off the crossbar.
Liverpool were not to be denied three minutes into the second half, though. Mane was again their creator on the left when his cross at the second attempt was mishandled by Randolph, giving Origi a simple finish from inside the six-yard box.
Georginio Wijnaldum fired just wide having been found by Mane before he curled another effort narrowly off-target as Liverpool looked to complete the comeback.
Randolph atoned for his earlier error with a superb diving save to keep out a magnificent 30-yard strike from Henderson that was flying towards the top corner.
Liverpool’s attacking play slowed in the closing stages, but they still had a late chance to grab victory, only for Nathaniel Clyne to fire over after an impressive team move, leaving them with only one win from four top-flight games.
Key Opta stats:
– Liverpool have scored more goals than any other Premier League side so far this season (37).
– West Ham have scored as many goals in their last two league games at Anfield as they did in their previous 20 (5).
– Since joining West Ham last season, no player has scored more goals from direct free-kicks in the Premier League than Payet (three, level with Gylfi Sigurdsson).
– Origi has scored in his last four games for Liverpool in all competitions, the first player to do so for the Reds since Daniel Sturridge scored in eight in a row in February 2014.
– Antonio scored his seventh Premier League goal of the season, but his first that wasn’t a header. His last non-headed goal was at Stoke on the last day of last season.