Three points at the Boleyn Ground on Sunday saw Liverpool move back to the top of the Premier League ahead of this weekend’s clash with fellow title challengers Manchester City. A pair of penalties on either side of the half from Steven Gerrard was enough to seal the deal, though West Ham United drew level just before the break under controversial circumstances.
After initially catching a Mark Noble corner, Simon Mignolet appeared to be fouled by former Reds striker Andy Carroll, causing the Belgian to drop the ball into the path of a lurking Guy Demel. The French defender poked home the equalizer, and despite voracious protests from the Anfield outfit, the goal was allowed to stand by referee Anthony Taylor. In seasons past this may have been enough to derail Liverpool’s hopes of securing three points, but nothing about this season has been typical.
“It was very important that we moved on quickly from the goal,” Mignolet told the official website. “There was still 45 minutes to play to get the result we wanted.” With 19 minutes remaining, Liverpool won another penalty when Hammers ‘keeper Adrian upended Jon Flanagan as he ran onto a perfectly placed through-ball from Lucas; in typical Steven Gerrard fashion, the skipper made no mistake from the spot.
“By drawing or even losing the game, it would have stopped our good run going, at least two points would have been dropped and it would have been a major setback mentally” continued the Belgian shot-stopper. “Now it’s only one goal more conceded and a clean sheet less.” Not only have the Reds returned to the summit of the table, but they’ve kept their winning run going, chalking up their ninth win in as many matches on Sunday – something that Mignolet puts down to the attitude of the team.
“So I was very pleased after the game with the response and mentality we showed both individually and as a team to get the result” he enthused. “Every game is important at this stage of the season so with this win we can keep our good run going. Three points is the only thing that matters in these games.”