Liverpool vs West Ham United Preview - Mid-table Hammers arrive at Anfield in confident mood
Venue – Anfield, Liverpool
Referee – Kevin Friend
Date & Time – Saturday, October 31st @ 17:30
Current Odds – Liverpool 4/11, Draw 17/4, West Ham United 13/2
As Liverpool’s injury concerns mount, there will be plenty of teams confident of taking the Champions down a peg or two. Yet, the attitude, professionalism and commitment of this group of players that Jürgen Klopp has assembled leaves no room for complacency among its members.
The Reds will battle on, no matter what player or players get injured, there will always be another leader to guide this troupe on the pitch. Yes, we may concede more goals this season but as long as we keep getting an extra one at the far end, that’s fine with me.
Liverpool have been grinding the results out, winning their last three games, after losing Virgil van Dijk to injury in the 2-2 draw at Everton. Even that Merseyside derby was a good performance from The Reds in a game where they really should have taken all three points. However, following Van Dijk’s injury, it has been a case of just trying to get the points on the table. They have done just that with wins against Ajax, Sheffield United and FC Midtjylland.
West Ham United Form
Since losing to Newcastle and Arsenal in their opening two league games, David Moyes’ West Ham have improved considerably. They are unbeaten in their last four games and all of those games would have been classed as very difficult fixtures. Those games were home to Wolves (4-0 win), away to Leicester City (3-0 win), away to Spurs (3-3 draw) and home to Manchester City (1-1 draw).
Liverpool Team News
Liverpool’s injury woes continued when Fabinho limped off after half an hour of The Reds’ 2-0 Champions League win over FC Midtjylland on Tuesday night.
Jurgen Klopp is now without Fabinho, Virgil van Dijk and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Van Dijk, of course, is out for the season while it’s hoped that Fabinho and Oxlade-Chamberlain can both return to the fold after the upcoming international break in November.
Klopp, with the condensed fixture list in mind, is also unlikely to risk any of the following for Saturday’s game – Thiago Alcântara, Joël Matip, Naby Keïta or Kostas Tsimikas.
Diogo Jota has been a revelation since joining from Wolves and his red-hot form means he has somehow played his way into Klopp’s starting eleven for now. This meant Liverpool changing from 4-3-3 to an attacking 4-2-3-1 shape. This may also help in defence as Klopp can let both Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum sit in front of the makeshift central-defence partnership of Joe Gomez and young Rhys Williams.
Mohamed Salah sits as the out-and-out striker in the 4-2-3-1 with Diogo Jota, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané just behind him.
West Ham United Team News
Michail Antonio is West Ham’s only injury doubt as he is recovering from a slight hamstring issue. However, as The Hammers’ top Premier League goalscorer last season (10) and with three goals already in 2020/21, David Moyes will be hoping the 30-year-old versatile forward will pass a late fitness test this week.
West Ham are not missing any players through suspension for this game.
Moyes has favoured a 5-4-1 formation for West Ham so far this season. Looking at the results in their last four league games, it seems the team unit is getting to grips with the setup, having abandoned last season’s 4-2-3-1 shape. Expect more of the same at Anfield on Saturday.
Liverpool XI (4-2-3-1) – Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Williams, Gomez, Robertson; Henderson, Wijnaldum; Jota, Firmino, Mané; Salah
West Ham United XI (5-4-1) – Fabianski; Coufal, Balbuena, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Masuaku; Bowen, Soucek, Rice, Fornals; Antonio
WHEN THEY LAST MET
Liverpool won 3-2 at Anfield against West Ham back in February. Gini Wijnaldum, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané scored for Klopp’s men that day. Issa Diop and Pablo Fornals got the visitors’ goals.
The Reds had beaten The Hammers 2-0 in London the month before, thanks to a penalty from Salah and a second-half goal from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
LIVERPOOL 3 – 2 WEST HAM UNITED
It could be a repeat scoreline from last season’s game on Merseyside. Liverpool will struggle to keep a clean sheet with the defence struggling without the more senior characters of Virgil van Dijk, Joël Matip and Fabinho. Michail Antonio is always a danger and could grab himself at least a goal on Saturday.
At the other end, Liverpool will hopefully create enough to get the win with Mohamed Salah in great form as are Sadio Mané and Diogo Jota behind him.