Liverpool - West Ham Preview: Hosts look to continue unlikely Champions League bid
Brendan Rodgers’ improving side have been on a good run of form of late and will be targeting a win over the mid-table Hammers to keep the pressure on the sides in the top four
By Rhys Turrell
Johnson, Carragher, Agger, Enrique
Coutinho, Henderson, Downing
Demel, Reid, Collins, O'Brien
Jarvis, Nolan, Vaz Te
Brendan Rodgers has no fresh injury worries for Liverpool's clash with West Ham at Anfield on Sunday, with only long-term absentees Martin Kelly (knee), Joe Allen and Fabio Borini (both shoulder) unavailable.
The visitors will be without the ineligible Andy Carroll, who can not play against his parent club.
Midfielder Mark Noble (shoulder) and defender George McCartney (knee) are unlikely to play again this season, but Joe Cole (hamstring) could make a return to the Hammers' squad against his former side.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Liverpool have won five of their last six matches at Anfield, with just a 2-0 defeat to West Brom spoling that sequence. A victory for the Hammers can be backed at 8/1 with bet365.
- Reds striker Luis Suarez (right), the Premier League's top goalscorer with 22 strikes, has won more penalties (five) than anyone else in the top flight this season.
- Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard is just one of three outfield players to have played every minute of every game in the Premier League this season (Leighton Baines and Matthew Lowton are the others).
- West Ham have scored just nine goals on the road in the Premier League this season, the joint lowest tally along with Stoke City.
- Only bottom of the table Reading have lost more away games (13) than West Ham's 10, a record they share with Newcastle and QPR.
- Hammers midfielder Joe Cole scored in the last league meeting between these sides - when he was a Liverpool player. He has scored three times against the Reds in the Premier League era, which is more than he has managed against any other side.
- Andy Carroll netted six goals in his 44 appearances for Liverpool, but already has five for the Irons in 17 appearances. He is unable to play against his parent club on Sunday.
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Top 3 Predictions
Liverpool 3-0 West Ham
- 23.73 %
Liverpool 3-1 West Ham
- 15.71 %
Liverpool 2-0 West Ham
- 14.47 %
|Premier League (EPL)||7 Dec 2013||Liverpool 4 - West Ham 1|
|Premier League (EPL)||7 Apr 2013||Liverpool 0 - West Ham 0|
|Premier League (EPL)||9 Dec 2012||West Ham 2 - Liverpool 3|
|Premier League (EPL)||27 Feb 2011||West Ham 3 - Liverpool 1|
|Premier League (EPL)||20 Nov 2010||Liverpool 3 - West Ham 0|
|15 Dec 2013||Tottenham 0 - Liverpool 5||EPL|
|7 Dec 2013||Liverpool 4 - West Ham 1||EPL|
|4 Dec 2013||Liverpool 5 - Norwich City 1||EPL|
|1 Dec 2013||Hull City 3 - Liverpool 1||EPL|
|23 Nov 2013||Everton 3 - Liverpool 3||EPL|
|12||Ricardo Vaz Te||Striker|
The Brazilian has been a revelation since his £8.5 million January move from Inter Milan, with the midfielder involved in five goals in as many games for the Reds. His ability to link up with striker Luis Suarez causes all manner of problems for defences with his technical skill and flair offering something different for Brendan Rodgers' side. Despite being slightly built, Coutinho has proven he can mix it with even the toughest of Premier League defenders, and he'll fancy his chances of adding to his two goals when Sam Allardyce's men visit Anfield.
The Hammers skipper is the club’s leading goalscorer this season, with his six goals from midfield helping the east London side enjoy a reasonably trouble-free campaign in which they have rarely looked like being sucked into a relegation fight. Nolan is a key presence in both penalty areas and is a vital part of a strong spine to the Irons team along with the likes of Mo Diame and James Collins. While not prolific, he can always pop up with a goal, and the Hammers will be looking to their captain for inspiration on Sunday.
Liverpool have recorded four wins in their last five games and, if they want to maintain their unlikely bid for Champions League football next season, they must take all three points against West Ham on Sunday. The visitors still need a further four points to ensure they reach the 'survival mark' of 40 points, but it is highly unlikely they will be dragged into a relegation fight at this stage. The hosts will be full of confidence after some good recent wins, and with the likes of Suarez, Coutinho and Gerrard in their side, they should have too much for a workmanlike Irons side.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed