Reigning champions Liverpool will be raring to keep their hunt for the top spot alive when they encounter West Ham United at London Stadium on Sunday.
After an astounding triumph against Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur on Thursday, Liverpool will be under the microscope yet again, as they lock horns with a sturdy West Ham United side at the London Stadium.
David Moyes’ team have been venturing through a boisterous run, as West Ham United have managed to grab fourteen points out of a possible eighteen and they head into this clash on an eight-game unbeaten run across all competitions. The Hammers had pulled off another captivating triumph over Crystal Palace, beating them 2-3 earlier this week and are presently sitting on the 5th spot in the table, just two points behind Liverpool.
On the other hand, after a series of unanticipated drought for Liverpool, the 3-1 victory over Spurs on Thursday has certainly offered a glimpse of hope to build their momentum for the upcoming challenges. Even though Liverpool are now currently holding the fourth spot in the league, Jurgen Klopp is all aware of the fact that back-to-back positive results have become a much-desired concernment to uplift their chances for the top spot.
The reverse fixture, played at Anfield back in October last year, saw Liverpool come out 2-1 victorious, courtesy goals from Mohamed Salah and Diogo Jota, while Pablo Fornals scored the single one for the Hammers. Ahead of their latest meeting on Sunday, The Hard Tackle takes a look at both teams.
Team News & Tactics
West Ham United
David Moyes will be regarding this fixture as an important opportunity to snatch all three points from Liverpool and the Hammers step into this clash with a near full-strength squad. Goalkeeper Darren Randolph still remains sidelined along with him Arthur Masuaku, who is yet to recover from his knee injury.
The Hammers are expected to line-up with a 4-2-3-1 system, with Lukasz Fabianski being the formidable figure between the sticks. Vladimir Coufal should be securing the right flank of the backline, and the player’s ability to cause wreckage upfront could enhance the chances for David Myes’s team.
Aaron Cresswell has been putting up a sensational show as a left-back throughout the first half this season, as the player has already bagged 5 assists to showcase his attacking threat. Angelo Ogbonna will form the central defensive unit along with Craig Dawson, with the pair having a heavy task to pull off against the Liverpool forwards who are desperate to regain their venomous form.
22-year-old Declan Rice has been an influential part of the team in this campaign, as the player seems to be in full tune to secure the midfield region with ease. Tomas Soucek had a stellar outing against Roy Hodgson’s men where he scored two of the three goals for the Hammers and will form the double pivot with Rice.
— West Ham United (@WestHam) January 29, 2021
Jarrod Browen and Pablo Fornals will set the tone in the attacking region from both flanks, as Said Benrahma could reprise the No. 10 role to bamboozle the opposition half. Michail Antonio should be the centre-forward to lead this pack upfront, as the player has belted two goals and constructed an assist in his last three league fixtures.
Delighted with his side’s intention to hunt for the top four, West Ham Boss has secured another attacking option, as Jesse Lingard has joined the club on loan for the rest of the season. The 28-year-old’s arrival could offer an extra edge, though his availability in this game is doubtful.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Fabianski; Coufal, Dawson, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Rice, Soucek; Bowen, Benrahma, Fornals; Antonio
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp still has to deal with several roster issues, as Brazilian international Fabinho is all set to miss this crucial encounter with a minor muscle injury. Diogo Jota and Naby Keita are also among the absentees, as they still need a few weeks to get back on their feet properly.
The Reds’ captain, Jordan Henderson, will play the role of the central defender once again, as Joel Matip suffered yet another injury blow against Tottenham. Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez remain long-term absentees, as the Reds’ exploration for a decent central defender in the transfer market remains intact.
In goal, Alisson Becker will start, with Henderson and Nathaniel Phillips likely to be the preferred centre-back pair to hold the defensive unit tightly.
Trent Alexander-Arnold will be the player to occupy the right flank, as the No. 66 was finally able to regain his form during the Spurs’ game. Scottish international Andrew Robertson should be the starter from the left, as he intends to bombard the opponents’ half with his blistering pace and bustling energy.
Thiago Alcantara will be dictating the tempo from the midfield region with Dutch international Georginio Wijnaldum, and young Englishman Curtis Jones could also start in the centre of the park, as the player eagerly awaits to prove his worth in the team.
Roberto Firmino, who opened the scoring for Liverpool in the last outing should feature upfront to help his comrades, as his No. 9 role allows the other two forwards, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, to drive forward freely.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Phillips, Henderson, Robertson; Thiago, Wijnaldum, Jones; Salah, Firmino, Mane
1. West Ham Asian Handicap +1 @ 1.600
1. West Ham to win @ 4.33
2. West Ham Clean Sheet – YES @ 6.00
- In their last 21 meetings across all competitions, Liverpool have won 12 games against West Ham United (D4 L5).
- West Ham United have won 5 of their 10 home fixtures in the Premier League this season. Meanwhile, Liverpool do not have a pleasant record in the league in terms of away games this term, as they have just managed to win 3 out of 10.
- Liverpool, in their last five league games, have a track record of W1 D2 L2. On the other hand, West Ham United have won four and drawn one of their last five matches.
- Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah sits firmly at the top spot of the goalscoring charts in the Premier League this season with 13 goals.
- West Ham United are winless in nine Premier League meetings against Liverpool (D2 L7).
Player to Watch
The former Bayern Munich midfield general is yet to flourish under his present boss Jurgen Klopp, who is eagerly waiting for his summer signing to provide that extra bit of flavour into his principles. Thiago is regarded as one of those influential dictators in midfield, as he can carve open the opposition backline with his vision and distribution.
Jordan Henderson shifting from midfield to defence left a hole that needed to be fulfilled by someone experienced, who not only possesses the ability to stabilize the centre of the park, but also push with flair, and the Liverpool No. 6 is perfectly suited to that role.
Thiago will be looking forward to the upcoming encounter as an opportunity to showcase his skill to drive his team forward, while his range of distribution to open up the opposition backline could also play a decisive part in this massive game.
West Ham United 0-1 Liverpool
As one could expect, an intriguing affair awaits on Matchday 21 of 2020/21 Premier League, and it’s safe to say West Ham United will do everything to hold this Liverpool side at bay. The champions will dominate the proceedings with a heavy amount of possession, but whether they can make the most of it will be interesting to watch.
Liverpool’s fragility at the back could be a problem, as a confident West Ham tend to unleash their firepower whenever they get chances on the counter. However, having rediscovered their mojo with a thumping win in midweek, the Reds will be confident heading into this game. And, we at The Hard Tackle are backing Jurgen Klopp’s men to eke out a narrow victory.