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Premier League

  • November 20, 2010
  • • 17:30
  • • Anfield, Liverpool
  • Referee: L. Probert
  • • Attendance: 43024
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Premier League Preview: Liverpool - West Ham United

Premier League Preview: Liverpool - West Ham United

Reds Looking For A Rebound

After a poor start to the season, Liverpool had finally begun to show some semblance of form by going on an unbeaten run of six games in all competitions. But a trip to Stoke City saw them relinquish their undefeated run by falling to a 2-0 defeat at the Britannia Stadium.

That game was reminiscent of the Reds’ inconsistency, as it was only a week before that they were celebrating a well-earned victory over Chelsea.

But Hodgson will know that he is one positive run of games away from resurrection, as six points separate the Merseysiders from fourth placed Manchester City.

And playing the bottom placed team in the standings at home can only prove to be a confidence booster in the quest to restore lost pride and reclaim what almost used to be a rightful place in the Champions League.

But for all that to happen, the home side will have to first overcome a few problems in their line-up, as talismanic captain Steven Gerrard has been ruled out for up to four weeks after picking up a hamstring injury whilst on international duty. To add to Hodgson’s woes, Lucas is suspended for this game, and Joe Cole remains a doubt.

This should give Christian Poulsen a chance to shine and redeem himself in the eyes of the fans, after experiencing a poor start to his career on Merseyside.

Hammers Still At The Bottom

Thirteen games gone, and West Ham have registered only one victory against their name and are currently at the very bottom of the Premier League - albeit on goal difference. Still, a tally of nine points from 13 games is an underachievement by any standards.

They won’t be able to get out of the drop zone by registering a victory over their opponents, but three points would be a massive step in the right direction.

Avram Grant’s head appeared to be on the chopping block some time back, but vice-chairman Karren Brady has maintained that the gaffer continues to have the owners’ blessing at the moment.

"When you make a very big and important decision to replace a manager you have to take a lot of things into account. We thought very carefully when we appointed Avram and I can assure you there is no finger on the button," she said recently.

"We are not getting results and the table does not lie but we will do everything in our power to support him. "

But having the favour of the upper echelon at Upton Park is far from what the Israeli boss needs at the moment, though it must certainly help in knowing that he is in no danger at the moment.

However, it also means that he has the future of the Hammers in his hands, as a continued inability to register a victory could see the club having to play a deadly catch-up just to secure survival – since they are already four points behind an 18th placed Birmingham City.

TEAM NEWS

Liverpool

Steven Gerrard (hamstring) is sidelined for up to four weeks after suffering an injury during the recent international friendly against France.

Worries abound in the engine room, as Lucas is suspended for this game. This means that the Reds will have two different central midfielders for this game.

Joe Cole (hamstring) is unlikely to return in time for this clash, while Daniel Agger (calf) will be unavailable through injury.

But manager Roy Hodgson is booster by the availability of Fernando Torres, Dirk Kuyt, Martin Skrtel and Glen Johnson for this encounter. Fabio Aurelio has also declared himself fit to face the Hammers, after playing 75 minutes in a reserve game against Blackpool.

Possible starting line-up: Reina; Carragher, Kyrgiakos, Skrtel, Konchesky; Meireles, Poulsen, Spearing, Maxi; Kuyt, Torres.

West Ham United

Julien Faubert is back in contention, but is unlikely to make the cut into the starting line-up. Meanwhile, Tal Ben Haim (ankle) is still a doubt, and may not make in time for the game.

Valon Behrami and Kieron Dyer are both doubtful for this encounter, but the latter could come back in time to feature at Anfield.

Manuel da Costa (ankle), Mark Noble (Appendicitis), Thomas Hitzlsperger (thigh) and Jack Collison (knee) all out with respective injuries, and will not make the trip to Merseyside.

Possible starting line-up: Green; Jacobsen, Upson, Gabbidon, Ilunga, Boa Morte, Kovac, Parker, Dyer, Obinna, Piquionne.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
25Pepe ReinaGoalkeeper
2Glen JohnsonDefender
23Jamie CarragherDefender
37Martin SkrtelDefender
3Paul KoncheskyDefender
11Maxi RodríguezMidfielder
5Christian PoulsenMidfielder
14Raúl MeirelesMidfielder
11Dirk KuytStriker
54David NgogStriker
9Fernando TorresStriker
1Bradley JonesGoalkeeper
6Fabio AurelioDefender
16Sotirios KyrgiakosDefender
34Martin KellyDefender
8Jonjo ShelveyMidfielder
-Ryan BabelStriker
39Nathan EcclestonStriker
1Robert GreenGoalkeeper
2Lars JacobsenDefender
20Matthew UpsonDefender
19Danny GabbidonDefender
23H. IlungaDefender
34Boa MorteMidfielder
15Radoslav KovacDefender
16Mark NobleMidfielder
33Victor Nsofor ObinnaStriker
9Carlton ColeStriker
39Frédéric PiquionneStriker
34Marek StechGoalkeeper
2Winston ReidDefender
5James TomkinsDefender
23Jonathan SpectorMidfielder
17Pablo Edson BarreraStriker
17Benni McCarthyStriker
-Frank NoubleStriker
Players to Watch
Fernando Torres
Fernando Torres
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 9
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
Fernando Torres has been showing signs of returning to his best, as he has scored thrice in his last three appearances for the club.

With skipper Steven Gerrard out of action through injury, the onus is on the Spaniard to deliver and propel his side to three points against the Hammers.
Frédéric Piquionne
Frédéric Piquionne
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 39
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
Frederic Piquionne has scored four goals and created one more for his side this season. And he will have to be in top form in the Hammers are to take away anything from their trip to Anfield, particularly in light of the fact that the visitors are yet to register their first victory on the road this term.
Prediction
Liverpool may be a little bruised after the game against Stoke City and may have a make-shift midfield to add to their troubles, but relatively speaking, the visitors have had an equally bad season. So there’s no reason why Hodgson’s charges should not take the three points on offer.
Editor's Prediction

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