Another Saturday another late kick off on Sky as Liverpool travel to the Boleyn Ground to face West Ham United. After a couple of unconvincing performances against two defensive sides Aston Villa and Ludogorets this fixture couldn’t possibly come at a worse time.
Head to Head
The last 5 games against theses side has produced 3 wins for Liverpool 1 draw and 1 win for West Ham coming back in the 2010/2011 season. This fixture last season saw a close affair with Liverpool requiring 2 penalty goals from Captain Steven Gerrard to secure a 2-1 victory and keep on that amazing 11 game winning streak and 16 games unbeaten from New Year until the 27th April.
Liverpool: Daniel Sturridge remains on the side-lines however with rumours surfacing this week that he is recovering well he may feature on the bench for the Reds tonight. Joe Allen and Emre Can’s absences reduced Liverpool’s options in midfield whilst Glen Johnson’s return date it still unconfirmed. Liverpool fans will hope loanee Javier Manquillo can steer clear of injury as new emerged on Friday that he will be facing an extended spell on the treatment table after knee surgery. Martin Skrtel could make his return to the Liverpool defence after recovering from his injury.
West Ham: West Ham have 3 players out injured, Joey O’Brien, Kevin Nolan and surprise, surprise Andy Carroll whilst Matt Jarvis faces a late fitness test ahead of the game.
Liverpool: Brendan Rodgers has received some criticism over the past couple of games for his choice of tactics, Liverpool haven’t looked like scoring whilst using the 4-2-3-1 but have looked much improved when reverting back to the diamond. After impressing in his short Champions League cameo will Fabio Borini partner Mario Balotelli up top in the diamond or will Rodgers try Mario as the lone striker for the 3rd time. The attacking options are not the only problem Brendan Rodgers faces today, with Martin Skrtel back fit will he throw the Slovakian back into the mix or stick with the Lovren/Sakho partnership everyone had been crying for at the start of the season.
Mignolet, Manquillo, Lovren, Sakho, Moreno, Gerrard, Henderson, Coutinho, Sterling, Borini, Balotelli.
West Ham: After an entertaining performance against Hull on Monday night Sam Allardyce may be tempted to stick with the same team.
Adrian, Cresswell, Tomkins, Reid, (Jenkinson or Demel) Downing, Noble, Song, Kouyate, Sakho, Valencia.
Raheem Sterling vs Enner Valencia
One of the biggest potentials in world football vs one of the stars from the 2014 FIFA World Cup, who comes out on top? It’s Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling up against West Ham’s Enner Valencia.
Valencia hasn’t played enough minutes for West Ham this season to make using this season data so far worthwhile, only playing 112 minutes in 3 matches averaging 37 minutes per game. Therefore this week’s stats comparison will look at last season stats. It should be noted that Raheem Sterling was playing Premier League football last season whilst Enner Valencia was playing in the Mexican League for Pachuca.
Raheem Sterling played 2219 minutes in 33 games for Liverpool last season , Enner Valencia racked up 1944 minutes in 23 games so despite the 10 game difference it only works out at just over 3 games.
Despite the gulf in class between the leagues the two played in last season Raheem Sterling comes out on top in 3 of the 4 parameters tested. All stats on in per 90 minute metrics with the first being chances created. Raheem Sterling created a respectable 2.07 chances per 90 minutes last season whereas Valencia only managed 0.60; pass completion is a much closer call, there only 2% in it with Sterling just edging it with 82% compared to Valencia’s 80%. Sterling’s take on success rate was 64.34% last season comparing this to Valencia’s 35% makes Sterling look incredible. One of Sterling major downfalls last season (for the first half at least) was his lack of cutting edge in front of goal. This is where Valencia out does him having scored 15 goals 0.83 per 90 compared to Sterling 9 at 0.37 per 90.
Without Sturridge it won’t be easy for Liverpool but we can only hope Balotelli kicks on from his goal in midweek and we can grind out a 1 or 2 goal victory, even if Penaltypool have to return.