Liverpool v West Ham preview: Reds close to full strength for visit of Hammers
Last Updated: 24/02/18 1:53pm
Liverpool will be close to full strength when they host West Ham in the Premier League on Saturday as they look to put pressure on the teams around them.
The Reds are currently in third place - one point ahead of Chelsea and two behind Manchester United, who play each other live on Sky Sports on Sunday - and recorded a storming 5-0 win against Porto in their previous fixture.
A win could see them temporarily go into second place, but Jurgen Klopp is under no illusions about the difficulty of facing West Ham, saying: "We need to be ready for a difficult game tomorrow because they - I don't know exactly the results but - drew against Tottenham, lost with one goal at [Manchester] City, stuff like that. It shows you need to do it.
"They always have opportunities with counter-attacks and set-pieces to score by themselves. They will defend a little bit deeper, probably, and we need an atmosphere that is ready for that as well."
The Hammers are currently 12th, although they remain four points from the drop zone, and David Moyes knows how tough a trip to Anfield can be.
"It's tough for any club going to Liverpool," he said. "It always has been and I've never known it any different as a fan, player or manager, everybody finds it tough going to Anfield so it will be a tough game but we are looking forward to it.
"Over the years I have done my best to get wins there, which has been hard, but finishing above them was nice [as Everton manager]. We've got a bit of confidence, we're in a good run of form ourselves but it will be a big test."
Liverpool have no real injury worries. Jurgen Klopp reported a couple of players had minor issues but nothing that is likely to keep anyone out of the squad for the Anfield encounter.
Emre Can is available again after being suspended for last week's Champions League victory over Porto, while Joe Gomez could return to the starting line-up for the first time this month after overcoming a knee injury.
Manuel Lanzini will return to the West Ham squad after a month out with a hamstring injury. Winston Reid is also available after a throat infection kept him out of the win over Watford a fortnight ago.
But Andy Carroll, Pedro Obiang and Edimilson Fernandes are still injured, Arthur Masuaku is suspended and Jose Fonte has joined Chinese Premier League side Dalian Yifang.
Liverpool have won their last two Premier League matches against West Ham, 4-0 in May 2017 and 4-1 in November 2017 - they haven't scored 4+ goals in three consecutive PL games versus a single opponent since doing so versus Norwich between 2012 and 2013.
West Ham are unbeaten in their last three away games in all competitions at Liverpool, drawing the last two (W1 D2). Prior to their win in August 2015, the Hammers had gone 45 matches without a win at Anfield (D12 L33).
Only against Everton (61) have West Ham lost more away matches in top-flight than versus Liverpool (60).
Jurgen Klopp failed to win any of his first four matches against West Ham as a manager (D2 L2), but has since guided his Liverpool side to two wins in a row versus the Hammers.
David Moyes has never won against Liverpool at Anfield in all competitions as a manager (D7 L7), failing to win with Everton, Man Utd and Sunderland.
David Moyes has collected 21 points in 16 Premier League games as West Ham manager this season (W5 D6 L5), just three points shy of the tally he managed last season for Sunderland (24).
Under Moyes, Marko Arnautovic has had a hand in 10 Premier League goals (seven goals, three assists), more than any other Hammers player since the Scot's first match in November.
Mohamed Salah is averaging a goal or assist every 64 minutes in home Premier League games this season (11 goals, five assists).
I have no idea how West Ham can go about stopping Liverpool's front three, they are very, very good.
West Ham won't have written this game off but it is a free swing, if they lose this game it doesn't affect them in the grand scheme of things.
PAUL PREDICTS: 3-0 (7/1 with Sky Bet)