West Ham United v Liverpool Preview: Reds to make Bilic walk the plank?

West Ham United v Liverpool Preview: Reds to make Bilic walk the plank?

The Details

Venue – London Stadium

Referee – Neil Swarbrick

Date & Time – Saturday, November 4th @ 17:30 BST

Current Odds – West Ham 4/1, Draw 3/1, Liverpool 8/13

Form

West Ham have been as inconsistent as Liverpool in the opening 2/3 months of this season. After losing their first two league games, they have just lost three of their most recent 11 games in all competitions. They’ve lost two of their last three home games (0-3 v Brighton, 2-3 v Spurs). However, they will be out for retribution after suffering a humiliating 0-4 thrashing against Liverpool at London Stadium in May.

Liverpool are, theoretically, over their tough period of opening fixtures. Now is the chance for the Reds to start moving up the table. Of course, it’s never that simple. But Liverpool have slowly been getting back to winning ways with victories in their last two outings, genting promo certainly had Liverpool as favourites in the last two games. The Spurs result aside, Liverpool have been dominating teams on a regular basis since the defeat at City. Lately, and more importantly, they have been displaying a professional patience that has been missing at times when up against teams with a low block. Huddersfield and Maribor were both eventually defeated after piercing their congested rearguards (sounds dirty, that). This is a vital trait to display as a ‘bigger’ club when inferior opposition turns up with one objective in mind.

Here’s hoping Klopp & co can keep the upturn in form moving in the right direction.

Team News

Slaven Bilic has serious defensive issues due to player unavailability. Zabaleta misses out through suspension, while Collins, Byram, Reid and Fonte are all due to miss out as well. Michail Antonio is also still out due to injury also.

Fernandes should come in to replace Zabaleta on the right with Kouyate slotting in to help out at the back.

West Ham’s Top 3 Rated Players this season (WhoScored.com)

  1. P. Zabaleta (DR)    6.96
  2. J. Fonte (DC)          6.89
  3. C. Kouyate (DC)    6.79

Liverpool are not without their own injury concerns, however. Clyne, Lallana, and Mané are still out. Coutinho and Lovren are still doubtful and may not be available again for Klopp until after the international break while Wijnaldum awaits the results of a scan on the ankle injury sustained against Maribor. I expect Klavan and Milner to keep their starting places from the midweek game and I really hope Klopp gives Sturridge a start up front with Salah and Firmino.

Predicted XIs

West Ham United XI (3-5-2) – Hart; Rice, Kouyate, Ogbonna; Fernandes, Obiang, Noble(c), Lanzini, Cresswell; Carroll, Ayew

Liverpool XI (4-1-2-3) – Mignolet; Gomez, Matip, Klavan, Moreno; Henderson(c), Can, Milner; Salah, Sturridge, Firmino

When they last met

Liverpool won 4-0 at West Ham in May, in one of the last league games of last season. Coutinho was in excellent form that day, in a new deeper role than what he had been playing. The little Brazilian bagged two goals and created one for Sturridge. Origi added a fourth in the 75th minute.

The earlier fixture at Anfield, last December, ended 2-2. Payet and Antonio responded for West Ham after an early Lallana opener. Origi equalised for the Reds early in the second half.

Prediction

West Ham United 1 – 3 Liverpool

Liverpool have been slowly taking steps forward over the last month. Yes, that period included two steps backwards in the collapse at Wembley, but generally speaking, the Reds have been improving. Also, they have been displaying patience, failing to panic when an early breakthrough hasn’t come against the likes of Huddersfield and Maribor. The Reds put in a fantastic performance at London Stadium towards the end of last season, winning 4-0. I predict another victory for the Reds on Saturday, in a high-scoring game.

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