Liverpool took another step toward their long awaited Premier League crown with a dramatic 3-2 win over West Ham United on Monday. The win at home put them 22 points clear of second-place Manchester City. Liverpool now need 12 points from 11 games, with the quickest way to clinch the crown is with four victories. Liverpool's 21st straight victory at Anfield broke the record for most consecutive home league wins in English top-flight history, set by themselves in 1972. The win also equalled City's record for 18th consecutive Premier League victories. "I couldn't have wished for a better position to go into these last 11 games," Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said. "I never thought it was possible but each one of [the victories are] really difficult." Defeat leaves the Hammers on 24 points from 27 games, a point behind Aston Villa in the safety zone. It looked like business as usual for Liverpool when they went ahead in the ninth minute as Georginio Wijnaldum headed home Trent Alexander-Arnold's whipped cross from the right. Three minutes later, though, 18th-placed West Ham drew level with Issa Diop's angled header from a Robert Snodgrass corner beating keeper Alisson, who should have kept it out. Virgil van Dijk headed against the bar for Liverpool but Anfield was stunned in the 54th when Hammers substitute Pablo Fornals turned a low cross from Declan Rice into the far corner. An awful error from West Ham goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski allowed Jurgen Klopp's side to get back on level terms — Mohamed Salah's tame shot from an Andy Robertson pull back creeping through the legs of the Polish keeper. Fabianski was at fault again when he came off his line but failed to stop Alexander-Arnold looping the ball over him to Sadio Mane who slotted home. With the assist, Alexander-Arnold equalled his tally, set last season, of 12 — a Premier League record for a defender. Mane had the ball in the net again in the 86th minute but his effort was ruled out for offside after a swift VAR review. "We started really well, scored a wonderful first goal. Then we weren't good in the second ball situations," said Klopp. "We struggled in these situations, that was difficult for us tonight. "You have to squeeze it, force it and that's what we did tonight. It's so special, it's unbelievable." Liverpool's upcoming schedule include matches vs. Watford (a), Bournemouth (h), Everton (a), Crystal Palace (h). If both Liverpool and Man City win all their upcoming fixtures then the Reds will be champions on March 21 against Palace. The guard of honour would then come at reigning champions City on April 5. However, March 21 is reserved for FA Cup quarterfinal ties, so the Palace game may be postponed to a later date. If that is the case, they could win the title with a draw at Man City, then the guard of honour would come at home to Aston Villa. "I said at the beginning we want to write our own stories, create our own history," said Klopp. "Obviously, the boys took that really seriously and that is all cool but just not too important at the moment. "It's so special. The numbers are incredible, so difficult. We are just in the situation and want to recover and prepare for the next game."
Football PREMIER LEAGUE