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Reds looking to revive top-four chances without 'El Nino'...

Kick-off: Monday, April 19, 2010 - 20:00 GMT
Anfield, Merseyside

Liverpool's hopes of qualifying for the Champions League hang by a thread ahead of their clash with West Ham United on Monday night.

Tottenham Hotspur's big wins over Arsenal and Chelsea have seen them leapfrog Manchester City into fourth spot in the Premier League, leaving the Reds eight points behind in sixth place.

Thus, failure to beat the Hammers would all but kill the Anfield giants' push for a place in Europe's elite club competition - although they could sneak in if they triumph in the Europa League, where they will face Atletico Madrid in the semi-finals this week.

But even with that and the announcement that the club's American owners are ready to sell up, manager Rafael Benitez's focus must be fixed on a West Ham side who will be desperate to pick up any sort of result as they look to stave off relegation.

The Irons sit just one place out of the drop zone, three points above Hull City and four above Burnley (with Portsmouth already doomed to the Championship), and a surprise win on Merseyside would give them a welcome buffer heading into the last three rounds of the campaign.

FORM GUIDE

Liverpool


Apr 11: Liverpool 0-0 Fulham (Premier League)
Apr 8: Liverpool 4-1 Benfica (Europa League)
Apr 4: Birmingham City 1-1 Liverpool (Premier League)
Apr 1: Benfica 2-1 Liverpool (Europa League)
Mar 28: Liverpool 3-0 Sunderland (Premier League)

West Ham United

Apr 10: West Ham 1-0 Sunderland (Premier League)
Apr 4: Everton 2-2 West Ham (Premier League)
Mar 27: West Ham 0-1 Stoke City (Premier League)
Mar 23: West Ham 1-3 Wolverhampton (Premier League)
Mar 20: Arsenal 2-0 West Ham (Premier League)


Boy Done For Good? | El Nino is set to miss out

TEAM NEWS

Liverpool


Fernando Torres looks unlikely to feature at all. The Spaniard was scheduled for a trip to his homeland for examinations on his troublesome knee, but the volcanic ash fiasco has delayed that plan and boss Benitez appears unwilling to risk his star striker without specialist medical clearance.

Also missing will be Fabio Aurelio and Emiliano Insua, meaning Daniel Agger will likely line up at left-back once again - a role in which he has impressed so far.

Last starting XI (vs. Fulham): Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Kyrgiakos, Agger, Mascherano, Aquilani, Maxi, Gerrard, Babel, Ngog.

West Ham United

Gianfranco Zola's side will have to make do without Scott Parker, as the influential midfielder is serving a suspension.

Luis Boa Morte won't be risked as he recovers from a knee problem, while Kieron Dyer (hamstring), James Tomkins (ankle), Jack Collison and Herita Ilunga (both knee) are also out.

Last starting XI (vs. Sunderland): Green, Behrami, Upson, Da Costa, Spector, Faubert, Noble, Kovac, Stanislaus, Ilan, Cole.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Liverpool - Glen Johnson


A former Hammer, and one the Kopites will hope can batter his old club into submission. On his day the England right-back is as damaging as any out-and-out winger, and one would expect him to go forward with gusto in this sort of game.

West Ham United - Ilan

The Brazilian has proven to be something of a nuisance for opposition defenders since his January move from France. With three goals in seven games - including last week's winner against Sunderland - he is a man the Reds' reconfigured rearguard will have to keep an eye on.

PREDICTION

Liverpool 1-0 West Ham United


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