Liverpool vs West Ham United | Match Preview
Following an eventful opening three weeks to the season for West Ham which has seen two players sent off, one player arrested (again), one player going AWOL, and two more strikers injured, they travel to Anfield on Saturday to face a Liverpool side full of confidence and in good form. Not the best preparation.
The Hammers don’t have a good record against their opponents, claiming only 25 wins in total and notching up seven of those since the Premier League began back in 1992. The games over the years have also resulted in them being on the receiving end of some pretty big score-lines with Liverpool scoring 4+ goals on at least nine occasions. West Ham have only scored 3 goals at Anfield in the Premier League era with the home side keeping 15 clean sheets during those matches.
You have to go back to 14th Sep 1963 to find West Ham’s last victory at Anfield where goals from Martin Peters and Geoff Hurst clinched a 2-1 win in Division One. Liverpool’s biggest win at Anfield against the Hammers saw Graeme Souness (2), Ian Rush (2), Kenny Dalglish, and Ronnie Whelan score.
Biggest win: West Ham 7 vs 0 Liverpool – Division One – 1st Sep 1930
Biggest defeat: Liverpool 6 vs 0 West Ham – Division One – 7th Apr 1984
Highest attendance: 45,007 – Premier League at Anfield – draw 0-0
The last two games West Ham have played have lived up the cliché of a ‘game of two halves‘ with League One-style first half performances all but condemning them to defeat, and second half performances reminiscent of their win at the Emirates seeing them remind us what they’re capable of.
Sadly that wasn’t enough to secure all three points in either game as the damage had already been done. Against Bournemouth they found themselves two-down in the first 28 minutes to a couple of well taken Callum Wilson goals after The Cherries had begun the game at a frantic pace, with a large portion of blame to be put squarely at the door of Aaron Cresswell who was at fault for both. Slaven Bilic must have given the players a rollicking in his half-time team talk because, much like they did against Leicester, West Ham produced a vastly improved second half performance beginning with a Mark Noble penalty within the first three minutes and seeing Cheikhou Kouyate follow that up with a well-taken goal just five minutes later to level the score.
The bubbles were blowing again but they were soon to burst.
Marc Pugh put the Cherries back in front before Carl Jenkinson incredibly became the FIFTH player to be sent off for West Ham this season after he tugged Max Gradel down in the box following the Bournemouth man beating him for pace, the resulting spot kick saw Wilson score to complete his hat-trick, and a memorable day for the Cherries. Despite the now-AWOL Modibo Maiga grabbing a late third to give ten-man West Ham a chance but they just didn’t have enough left in them to score a fourth and pinch an undeserved point. An epic game for the neutral but a bad day at the office for Bilic and his players.
Liverpool fans in contrast have experienced a much better and consistent start to their season so far, seeing their side boast two 1-0 victories against Stoke and Bournemouth – courtesy of goals from Phillippe Coutinho and Christian Benteke. They followed that up with a 0-0 draw away at the Emirates to take seven points from their opening three games. Although tougher tests await Brendan Rodgers he seems to be putting together a side which is capable of helping the Anfield faithful forget about losing Steven Gerard.
TEAM NEWS – WEST HAM
Darren Randolph will continue to deputise in-goal whilst James Tomkins could come in a right-back for the suspended Jenkinson. With Kevin Nolan departing the club in the last 48 hours, and the fact the Hammers have been crying out for wingers in their last two defeats there could be a space for Manuel Lanzini to come in and provide some much-needed width with Dimitri Payet being pushed out towards the right-wing. The rest of the midfield and defence should remain unchanged, whilst Diafra Sakho should have recovered from his slight groin injury to continue in attack. Andy Carroll has returned to full training and is expected to return for the game against Newcastle, however, he may well find himself on the bench depending on what he has been like after returning to training.
Injuries: Enner Valencia (Knee), Mauro Zarate (Hamstring)
Doubtful: Diafra Sakho (Groin/Pelvis), Joey O’Brien (Hamstring), Reece Oxford (Slight knock), Andy Carroll (match fitness)
Suspensions: Adrian – misses games against Liverpool and Newcastle due to red card at home to Leicester, Jenkinson – misses games against Liverpool, Newcastle, and Man City
Prediction: 3-0 to Liverpool