Liverpool vs West Ham: 'Cats Lives Matter' banner flown over Anfield for Premier League game

Liverpool vs West Ham United won’t be winning awards for entertainment any time soon.

Despite the clash at Anfield pitting two of the most impressive Premier League teams of the season up against one another, it didn’t live up to the billing as the Reds eventually walked away 1-0 victors.

The breakthrough moment came in the first-half when Trent Alexander-Arnold played a threatening ball across the penalty area that Sadio Mane bundled into the back of the net from close range.

Liverpool 1-0 West Ham

And while a lengthly check from VAR ensued, the lone goal of the game was confirmed to be a legal one with Liverpool duly keeping pace with Manchester City in the fight for the Premier League title.

West Ham did have their moments with Manuel Lanzini spurning a brilliant chance in the box over the crossbar, while Alexander-Arnold was called upon to make an impressive goal-line clearance.

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Let’s start easy: What was Tottenham’s old ground called?

Kurt Zouma controversy

As such, one of the prevailing themes of the game actually surrounded feline iconography presumably produced by Liverpool fans in light of the recent controversy surrounding West Ham’s Kurt Zouma.

The Hammers defender was the centre of a media storm in February when distressing footage of him kicking and slapping his pet cat spread online.

Zouma apologised for the episode which saw him slapped with a £250,000 fine from West Ham and lose sponsors such as Adidas and Vitality, while the cats themselves were seized by the RSPCA.

Soccer Football – Premier League – Liverpool v West Ham United – Anfield, Liverpool, Britain – March 5, 2022 Liverpool’s Luis Diaz is fouled by West Ham United’s Kurt Zouma REUTERS/Phil Noble EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club /league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

“Cats Lives Matter” banner over Anfield

And it would appear as though the alarming incident was one that certain fans took advantage of during the Hammers’ trip to Merseyside on Saturday night.

In fact, as confirmed by Carl Markham of PA Media, a plane carrying a banner with the message: “Cats Lives Matter,” was seen flying over Liverpool’s stadium ahead of the Premier League fixture.

Images of said plane later emerged across social media, as can be seen below:

Zouma, who started the 1-0 defeat at Anfield, was the subject of boos from Liverpool fans with sections of the crowd chanting: “A cat, a cat, a cat a cat a cat,” in his direction during the match.

Photographs also emerged that seemed to show fans holding aloft cat inflatables, which, again, must almost certainly have been a reference to the upsetting footage of Zouma and his pets.

Soccer Football – Premier League – Liverpool v West Ham United – Anfield, Liverpool, Britain – March 5, 2022 Liverpool fans hold up inflatable cats during the match REUTERS/Phil Noble EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club /league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

RSPCA statement on Zouma controversy

According to the Independent, an RSPCA spokesperson gave the following update on the incident in February: “The two cats are now in RSPCA care. Our priority is and has always been the wellbeing of these cats.

“They’ve been taken for a check-up at a vets and then will remain in our care while the investigation continues.

“We’re grateful to everyone who expressed their concern for these cats. We were dealing with this issue before the video went viral online and are leading the investigation. We continue to investigate so we cannot comment further at this time.”

Liverpool 1-0 West Ham Match Reaction (Football Terrace)

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