Football: Liverpool's Mane secures jittery win over West Ham

Liverpool's Sadio Mane in action with West Ham United's Craig Dawson. PHOTO: REUTERS

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND (REUTERS) - Liverpool forward Sadio Mane's first-half goal eked out a 1-0 victory over West Ham United and narrowed the gap to Premier League leaders Manchester City but Juergen Klopp's side could count themselves lucky to earn maximum points on Saturday (March 5).

Mane's close-range strike after 27 minutes proved enough for second-placed Liverpool to get within three points of City, but West Ham will rue squandering several gilt-edged chances.

Liverpool were far from their dominant selves as they claimed a seventh successive league win but were let off as West Ham's Pablo Fornals, Manuel Lanzini and Michail Antonio all failed to capitalise on their opportunities.

The hosts dominated possession and also had numerous chances but there was relief at the final whistle.

Liverpool have 63 points behind Manchester City, who host Manchester United on Sunday, on 66 having also played 27 games.

West Ham remain fifth on 45 points, until Sunday at least, but their top-four challenge is fading.

"I don't know if we will remember this game as one of the most important ones because it was a really tricky fixture in the first place," Liverpool manager Klopp said.

"We could have scored more and didn't - then the game is open. They had big chances but you can't win the amount of games we have won without some luck from time to time.

"It was a special win against a strong opponent."

Hammers threaten

West Ham's vastly experienced coach David Moyes has never managed a team to victory at Anfield, and will reflect on how close his side came to changing that statistic.

Even before Senegal international Mane stole in at the back post to stab home a volleyed cross by Trent Alexander-Arnold, West Ham had caused some problems in Liverpool's defence with Alisson making saves from Tomas Soucek and Antonio.

West Ham responded to falling behind with a long ball forward catching out Liverpool's high-line defence and putting Fornals through on goal but his attempt to lob Alisson was weak and Alexander-Arnold was able to clear off the line.

Sadio Mane scores for Liverpool against West Ham. PHOTO: REUTERS

Early in the second half Lanzini had an even better chance when he was picked out by a low cross in front of goal but after showing great footwork he sliced his shot over the bar.

Liverpool had ample chances to give themselves some breathing space with Mane having two efforts blocked and Luis Diaz curling a super effort just wide.

Mohamed Salah also had numerous sights of goal but could not beat goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski.

West Ham would not be shaken off though and when Mark Noble's lovely pass sent Antonio clear they looked poised to level but Andy Robertson managed to hold up the big forward before Naby Keita got in a vital block.

Liverpool have now won 12 games in succession in all competitions and host Inter Milan on Tuesday leading 2-0 and aiming to seal a place in the Champions League last eight.

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