Liverpool's already ambitious hopes of finishing in the top four on the Premier League table took a major hit on Sunday, as the Reds only managed a scoreless draw against West Ham.
The Reds were clearly the more dangerous team, with 57 percent of possession, 10 shots on goal and 12 corners, but West Ham simply wouldn't allow the ball to find the back of the net.
Liverpool were the aggressors early. Daniel Agger played Philippe Coutinho into a shooting opportunity in the seventh minute which was thwarted by a Jussi Jaaskelainen save. A few minutes later, Luis Suarez sent a cross into Steven Gerrard, but the midfielder couldn't quite handle it on the volley.
Liverpool dominated most of the first half, and Gerrard was once again busy in the 24th minute. He sent a cross into Stewart Downing which the winger could only weakly head into the arms of Jaaskelainen.
Minutes later, Jaaskelainen again loomed large, blocking a Suarez shot on the Liverpool counterattack. Liverpool ended the half frustrated, unable to solve Jaaskelainen and the West Ham defense.
The Reds picked up where they left off in the first half, once again pressing up the pitch and bringing the game right at the West Ham defense.
The moment of the match—or moment that wasn't allowed, perhaps—came in the 66th minute, when substitute Daniel Sturridge looked as though he had scored the game's first goal off a Gerrard cross. Alas, he was ruled offsides.
Perhaps the most controversial moment, at least in the eyes of Liverpool's faithful, came in the 70th minute. Gerrard was taken down in the box by James Tomkins, though it did look like Tomkins cleanly swept the ball away.
Jaaskelainen continued his strong afternoon, denying Sturridge in the 78th minute and Suarez in the 93rd. Liverpool pressed and prodded all game long, but the Reds simply couldn't crack the West Ham defense.
Below are grades for the key contributors in the match.
Luis Suarez, Liverpool: B
Suarez was busy as ever, putting himself in dangerous positions and creating several scoring opportunities. But the Premier League's leading scoring was unable to capitalize on any of his chances.
Three points would have been huge for Liverpool's Champions or Europa League hopes. Suarez wasn't able to find the goal that would do just that.
Jussi Jaaskelainen and the West Ham Defense: A+
Despite being under constant pressure for most of the game, Jaaskelainen and the back four in front of him stifled Liverpool all afternoon long.
While I'm sure West Ham's fans would have liked to see the team with a bit more of a cutting edge on the counterattack, the effort from the team's defense and keeper was superb.
Steven Gerrard, Liverpool: B
Like Suarez, Gerrard was active and created a slew of scoring opportunities for his team.
He was also unable to finish the chances he had, leaving the Liverpool faithful wondering what might have been on the afternoon.