Liverpool vs West Ham preview | Confirmed team news | Expected line-ups | Prediction
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has vowed to fight tooth and nail and ‘deal with the situation’ as injury woes leave the Reds defence in bare-bones ahead of their Premier League clash against West Ham at Anfield on Saturday [kick-off: 5:30 pm].
With three consecutive wins under their belt in all competitions, the Premier League champions should head into the fixture with lots of confidence, but defensive set-backs are making the challenge harder for the Reds with every passing week.
In their last Premier League game against Sheffield United, Klopp deployed a 4-2-3-1 system, relying heavily on his attacking set-up to deliver. While Liverpool came out victorious, they struggled to dominate at home, with the two-man midfield often overrun, leaving the already vulnerable defence brutally exposed.
Now, with Fabinho injured and Joel Matip yet to return to full fitness, Klopp has no option left but to rely on young talents like Rhys Williams or Nat Phillips to step up to the plate. This leaves the Liverpool boss in a tactical conundrum, as to whether to continue with the four-man attacking system or bring in an extra midfielder to protect the backline.
West Ham, on the other hand, have made a brilliant start to the campaign, with David Moyes doing a superb job in getting the best out of his players.
The Hammers bounced back strongly in the league after losing back to back games at the start of the season, and are now unbeaten in their last four Premier League matches. After winning against Wolves and Leicester, and drawing against Tottenham and Manchester City, Moyes is now expecting his side to offer a strong challenge at Anfield tomorrow.
Liverpool will be without Fabinho for this game after the Brazilian picked up a ‘little injury” during their Reds’ 2-0 win against FC Midtjylland in the Champions League clash in midweek. Klopp has confirmed the Brazilian will not only miss this weekend but could be out for a while.
Thiago Alcantara and Naby Keita are closing in on a return to action but chances are high that Klopp won’t risk either player from the start against West Ham. Both Kostas Tsimikas and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are long-term absentees with thigh and knee injuries respectively.
Klopp is set to recall some of his big-guns with the likes of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Gini Wijnaldum expected to come back in after being rested in midweek.
Moyes will be without the in-form Michail Antonio – who will miss the Anfield test with the hamstring injury which forced him out of the action during the 1-1 draw against Manchester City.
Liverpool (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Williams, Gomez, Robertson; Henderson, Wijnaldum; Mane, Salah, Firmino, Jota.
West Ham (5-4-1): Fabianski; Masuaku, Cresswell, Ogbonna, Balbuena, Coufal; Fornals, Rice, Soucek, Bowen; Haller.
Liverpool 2-1 West Ham: Following their recent impressive run of form, the Hammers will be confident that they can get something from a fan-less Anfield, as Moyes has highlighted that it is a motivating factor for them.
The Hammers will fancy their chances against the bedraggled Liverpool defence, but the Reds’ attacking quartet upfront could bail them out once more. We’re predicting a narrow 2-1 home win.
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