Liverpool vs West Ham Preview: Can Reds Bounce Back vs Hapless Hammers?

Liverpool vs West Ham Preview: Can Reds Bounce Back Against Hapless Hammers?

Liverpool entertain West Ham United on Sunday in a bid to haul themselves back towards the top of the Premier League table, having lost ground on Chelsea last weekend.

Having not beaten the Hammers in any of the four previous meetings between the two teams, Liverpool fans will have some understandable nerves heading into the game, ones that need to be put to bed through a strong performance.


Match: Liverpool vs West Ham United

Venue: Anfield

Date: Sunday 11th December

Time: 16:30 BST

Referee: Mark Clattenburg


Having gone unbeaten in over three months following the defeat to Burnley in Matchweek two, Jürgen Klopp’s side finally suffered the taste of defeat once more last time out, going down 4-3 in an exciting game away to AFC Bournemouth. The Reds were 0-2 and then 1-3 up, but conceded three times in the last 15 minutes in their second South-Coast collapse of 2016, following the 3-2 defeat to Southampton last season.

Things were going well before that, although the draw at St Mary’s three weeks ago means that Liverpool have now only won one of three games since the November international break, a 2-0 win against Sunderland at Anfield.

Fortunately for the Reds, West Ham come into the game in even worse form. Slaven Bilic’s side came into the season full of hope, but it’s not gone at all to plan. Their misery was compounded with a 5-1 home defeat to rivals Arsenal, shortly after they threw away a 2-1 lead away to Tottenham Hotspur, losing 3-2 following goals in the dying minutes.

However, they have shown ability to take points off top teams still, evidenced by Diafra Sakho’s goal at Old Trafford two weeks ago, which earned the Hammers a 1-1 draw against Manchester United.

Liverpool go into the weekend third, a point off Arsenal in second and four from table-toppers Chelsea, but will hope to have closed the gap come Sunday evening. West Ham are 17th, and could end the weekend as high as 13th or as low as 19th.


Liverpool have suffered from a few more injury troubles in recent weeks than they’ve seen previously this season, starting with Philippe Coutinho being sidelined for the whole December schedule. Joel Matip, who missed last week’s defensive calamity with an ankle problem, is set to return to the side.

Other concerns include Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane, however they’re both expected to get over knocks and feature. Daniel Sturridge (calf) will most likely remain out, suggesting that Divock Origi will lead the line.

For West Ham, Diafra Sakho is out with a thigh injury, but Andy Carroll’s recent return to fitness could cause Liverpool notable problems. The Hammers are suffering something of an injury crisis at the moment, but are expected to be boosted by the returning Aaron Cresswell, Michail Antonio and Cheikhou Kouyate.

Liverpool Predicted XI: Karius; Clyne, Matip, Lovren, Milner; Henderson, Can, Lallana; Mane, Firmino, Origi.

West Ham Predicted XI: Adrian; Cresswell, Ogbonna, Reid, Collins, Antonio; Kouyate, Noble, Payet, Lanzini; Fletcher.


Liverpool played West Ham four times last season, losing twice in the league before drawing an FA Cup fixture at Anfield, losing the replay at Upton Park. The most recent fixture was that replay, one that West Ham took the lead in through Antonio, before a Ronaldinho-esque free-kick from Coutinho saw the Reds bag an equaliser. A young side including the likes of Brad Smith, Pedro Chirivella and Joao Teixeira battled well, but lost out to an Angelo Ogbonna header in the final minute of extra time.

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Do Liverpool really need to strengthen their defence in January?

Do Liverpool Really Need to Strengthen Their Defence in January?

After the capitulation at Bournemouth, questions marks once again hang over the Liverpool defence. Will that area of the team once again be the reason the Reds can’t sustain a title challenge? Is it a personnel problem or just a systematic issue that needs time to be ironed out? Was it simply just one of those games of football and you just have to accept it sometimes happens?

There are a lot of questions and very few answers for now. Many seem to be dependent on the long-term and it’s this that football fans appear to have trouble with. There’s a demand for instant results, instant answers, and instant gratification. Sometimes it’s just not possible though.

However, one thing that can be answered now centres around the heading of this piece. Do Liverpool really need to strengthen their defence in January?

There’s no right or wrong answer here but you’d have to assume if Liverpool really want to compete for not just a Champions League place but put in a valiant title challenge then yes, a new centre-back is needed in January. Now many may assume this is a knee-jerk response to Sunday and, I suppose, in many ways it is. But the need for a new centre-back, at least in my eyes, doesn’t come from the fact people still have concerns over Dejan Lovren as a starter for Liverpool. Putting my personal feelings about the Croatian aside I think the result against Bournemouth was a bit of an eye opener in terms of the drop in quality between the starting centre-backs and the reserve centre-backs.

When Ragnar Klavan signed in the summer Jurgen Klopp said he’s more than just a fourth choice centre-back, yet so far this season that’s exactly what he’s been. Lucas has jumped ahead of him as the substitute centre-back with Klopp utilising his ability on the ball and his aerial presence. The Estonian, who joined the Reds in a deal worth £4 million, initially impressed when he signed but he’s had some hairy moments in possession in various matches and it seems this has put him behind Lucas in the pecking order. Lucas has impressed many with how he’s adapted to life in his new role but in his last three outings as a centre-back he’s given away a goal against Leicester, gave away a penalty against Spurs and Liverpool conceded four against Bournemouth. It’s not exactly the best track record.

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Liverpool v West Ham Preview – Key Battles

Liverpool v West Ham Preview - Key Battles

After the implosion at Bournemouth, the Reds are back in Premier League action at Anfield. This time, the visitors are West Ham United. The Hammers themselves are in terrible form. They don’t have a win in their last six games in all competitions. Since beating Chelsea 2-1 in the 4th round of the EFL Cup, Slaven Bilic’s men have had two draws and four losses.

They seemed to be getting back on track with a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford but that has swiftly been followed with a 4-1 reverse at the same venue in the EFL Cup quarter-final and the 5-1 humbling by Arsenal at the London Stadium.

For Jurgen Klopp’s Reds, it is about putting Bournemouth out of the system. The team went on a bonding trip to Barcelona and even watched the Catalan giants thrash Borussia Monchengladbach in their last group game of the Champions League.

Joel Matip is likely to be back to provide a calm head in defence, and Sadio Mane has recovered from the knock he suffered against Bournemouth. There are question marks over the availability of James Milner though.

Here are a few individual battles that could well decide the outcome of the game.

Joel Matip v Andy Carroll

Matip’s importance to this Liverpool side was exemplified by his absence at Dean Court. He brings a calm and assured presence to the back four. With Alberto Moreno possibly filling in for Milner, Matip needs to be the man to bring Dejan Lovren to calmness and help him not get flustered.

West Ham will hoof balls up for Carroll and their game will revolve around crossing the ball in to find the head of the former Red. Goalkeeper Loris Karius has not exuded much confidence and he is under pressure. Bilic will look to play on that and bombard the young German with aerial balls from all parts of the pitch.

Matip though, will have other ideas. He has generally been regal in the air, his passing is terrific and he even moves forward at times with aplomb. One positive for Matip and Lovren will be the fact that West Ham will not press as much. That has never been the game of either Carroll or Dimitri Payet, but that will mean more numbers deeper for them. So even though Matip and Lovren won’t be under as much pressure when they have the ball, they will be tasked with finding a pass to the forward player in the most space and in the best position to move us forward.

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Is Origi pushing Sturridge out the team?

Is Origi pushing Sturridge out the team?

2013/14 was an exciting season for us Reds, as we all recall. The finest talent to wear the shirt in Suarez, some ruthless, entertaining football from the entire team and a born finisher – Daniel Sturridge – brought us close to the trophy that seems eternally unobtainable.

The English forward was a huge part of that near-success with 21 goals and displayed his undoubted poaching, scoring and intelligent striker-ship time and again.

Very different story for him this season though.

I love the bloke and there’s absolutely no question he is an exceptional talent. In my eyes, up with Harry Kane as England’s best finisher. He scored a top striker’s goal for the national side this season to prove that.

He’s not doing it in the red of Liverpool though, and that’s what matters most. Divock Origi, on the other hand, is slowly getting there.

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Liverpool Vs West Ham United Preview | Team News, Stats & Key Men

Liverpool Vs West Ham United Preview | Team News, Stats & Key Men

What a difference one year, a full pre-season, and some good signings make! This forthcoming game week in the Premier League will end with Liverpool hosting West Ham. Last season, at the end of 14 game weeks, these two sides were separated by a single point and two league positions. West Ham were having a wonderful season, raining on oppositions’ parades especially in big away games. At the same time, Liverpool were adjusting to life under a charismatic and more demanding Klopp after Rodgers’ poor start to the season.

Fast forward to the present and this Sunday, West Ham take on Liverpool at Anfield in the 15th game week. This season, Klopp’s swarming and pressing Liverpool are in the top four, while Bilic’s wonder has worn off for the Hammers and they are languishing one point above the relegation zone. While last season West Ham’s away form was wonderful, especially in the first half, this season they have taken just 4 points from 21 possible points. Liverpool meanwhile lost just the second match of the campaign last Sunday and are 7 points better off than last season. A total of 18 points separate the two sides in the table as of now.

For West Ham it seems that the move to the London Stadium and new training facilities have put off not only the fans but also the players. Many times during this season it has been very evident as heads have dropped easily at the slightest whiff of a difficult challenge during the season. After last week’s capitulation to Arsenal in the London Stadium, Bilic admitted that his team “don’t always train well”, indicating problems at the training ground as well. Whatever the malaise inflicting the Hammers, it seems that it is behavioral and not related to capability of the players really. While their transfers in the summer were conspicuously poor, they managed to keep hold of Dmitri Payet and also made Lanzini’s move permanent. This side, purely on ability, should be higher than 17th in the league after 14 matches. Bilic and the players of course know this and hence at least getting one point against a team they thoroughly dominated last season could blow some life into the team.

“It’s a wonderful story if you’re not part of it on the wrong side. Today we were. We have to learn from it, for sure.” Jurgen Klopp has his own style of admitting that his defense goofed up big time in the game against Bournemouth. To get on the right side of the wonderful story and to bounce back in to the title contention, Liverpool need to re-establish the dominance they have shown throughout this campaign. The Reds would be looking to score plenty of goals to ensure that the seemingly inevitable defending gaffes do not really lead to dropped points. Home form is in their favor, as Liverpool has dropped only two points at home this season. Despite Coutinho and Sturridge being ruled out due to injuries, the Reds will be confident of not allowing West Ham to repeat their Anfield heroics from last year, this time.

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Jürgen Klopp reveals fitness plan for Joe Gomez

Joe Gomez

Jürgen Klopp has revealed that Joe Gomez will remain at Liverpool as he continues to build up his match fitness rather than head out on loan in 2017.

The 19-year-old has made three outings for the U23s since his return after a year out of action with anterior cruciate ligament and Achilles injuries.

Klopp is a big admirer of Gomez, calling him an ‘unbelievable talent’, and the Liverpool manager feels he will benefit greatly by training every day at Melwood and continuing to improve his match sharpness by playing in Premier League 2 for the U23s.

Asked if Gomez would compete for a first-team spot in the new year or head out on loan, Klopp told the Liverpool Echo: “No to the second question about a loan.

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Divock Origi: Why Liverpool was the right club for me

Divock Origi

Divock Origi has revealed why he turned down the lure of some of the biggest clubs in football to continue his footballing education with Liverpool.

The Belgium international who has found the net in his last three successive games in a red shirt, offered a fascinating insight into why the move to Merseyside was right for him.

After starring in the World Cup for Belgium in 2014, Liverpool swooped to sign the in-demand striker and agreed to let him stay with Lille for the 2014-15 season before his arrival in front of the Kop.

Recalling why Liverpool was the only club for him, Origi said: “There were offers from everywhere. Bayern were interested, all these clubs.

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