Steven Gerrard, Philippe Coutinho Denied As West Ham Holds Liverpool to Scoreless Draw

Philippe Coutinho, James Tomkins, James CollinsLiverpool was forced to settle for a point after it was held to a 0-0 draw by West Ham United at Anfield on Sunday.

The Reds carved out several opportunities to break the deadlock, the best of which resulted in Steven Gerrard‘s goal-bound shot being cleared off the line by James Tomkins in the early stages of the second half.

Substitute Daniel Sturridge also had an effort erased after running offside as West Ham held out to claim a draw.

Prior to kick off, Anfield held a minute’s silence in memory of the 96 supporters who died at Hillsborough ahead of the 24th anniversary of the tragedy on April 15.

Following last Sunday’s 2-1 victory at Aston Villa, Brendan Rodgers elected to name an unchanged line up for West Ham’s visit, as Liverpool looked to extend an unbeaten home record against the Londoners to 40 league matches.

And the Reds made a bright start in the spring sunshine with Philippe Coutinho‘s early low drive drawing a smart stop from Jussi Jaaskelainen.

Gerrard, Jordan Henderson and Luis Suarez all soon followed suit with efforts of their own, but West Ham could have taken the lead after 25 minutes when a powerful run by Mohamed Diame into the Liverpool box took him beyond three defenders before he blazed high into the Kop.

The Reds were then forced into making a substitution when Sturridge replaced Stewart Downing after the winger appeared to have picked up an injury.

A slick one-two between Suarez and Coutinho almost produced an opener for the hosts soon after, but the former’s low drive was thwarted by the boot of Jaaskelainen at close range.

At the other end, Lucas Leiva‘s untimely slip looked to have allowed Carlton Cole a clear strike at goal, but the Hammers striker was denied by a brilliant — and brave — block by Daniel Agger.

In first-half stoppage time, Jaaskelainen recovered well to save from Sturridge at point-blank range after the ‘keeper had misjudged Coutinho’s corner, ensuring the teams went into the break on level terms.

Liverpool continued to press after the restart and Gerrard’s burst into the box and low cross was hooked to safety from inches out by Diame with Sturridge lurking.

The skipper was then left clutching his head in his hands after his side-footer beat Jaaskelainen but was blocked by the sprawling Tomkins on the line.

Next, Suarez weaved his way past two defenders in trademark fashion on the touchline before drilling wide of the far post from the tightest of angles.

Sturridge did have the ball in the back of the net in the 66th minute when he diverted Henderson’s shot into the goal from six yards out, but any celebrations were cut short by the raised flag of the referee’s assistant. Moments later, Coutinho created space inside the box and arrowed just wide of the upright.

The Reds continued to toil in search of a winner in the latter stages, but West Ham clung on to clinch a point — and they could have even taken all three but Lucas cleared Jack Collinson‘s powerful header off the line with minutes remaining.

Liverpoolfc.com journalists’ man of the match: Steven Gerrard

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