Hammers next up

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West Ham v Liverpool
Barclays Premiership
Tues, 29 Jan 2007, 7:45pm | Upton Park

Liverpool are back on the road after an inspiring win against Chelsea to take on more Londoners, this time possible relegation threatened West Ham United.

Liverpool will be aiming to close the gap even further between themselves and Chelsea, albeit only until the 31st when Chelsea complete their game at hand against Blackburn Rovers.

West Ham on the other hand will look to claim any importaint points they can to avoid the drop at the end of the season.

The meeting between the clubs earlier in the season was a tough one for the Reds coming at a time when new team-mates weren’t quite gelling and away form being abysmal to say the least. The home side conceded early via Bobby Zamora cross-come-shot which deceived an out of form Pepe Reina. It looked to be another one of those days for Liverpool, until Daniel Agger popped up with a stunning swerve shot into the top left corner to equalise in front of the Kop on it’s 100th anniversary match. Peter Crouch scored the winner just before half time to seal a narrow victory against a determined West Ham side.

Since then, Liverpool fortunes have changed in league dramatically conceding only once in the past 10 league fixtures.
West Ham has been unlucky this year, unable to improve last year’s performance in the league. Much of this has been down to upsets in the Hammers camp with failed signings, sacked mangers and changes off the pitch. Luck was again not on their side this weekend against Newcastle, when a clear offside goal cost them a valuable three points. New signing, striker Kepa Blanco from Sevilla could be included in the squad, but is likely to begin the game on the bench. The same can’t be said for former Reds target, Lucas Neill who is sidelined due to injury sustained at the FA Cup defeat to Watford.

Liverpool will go out to this one full of confidence after a 2-0 win over Chelsea, however it could be possible that Benitez will deploy he same 3-4-3 tactics used in the previous match against Watford to expose West Hams defensive frailties.
This isn’t to say West Ham will sit back, you can expect the usual passionate performance of grit and determination, keeping in mind they are still to avenge the heartbreak of last year’s FA Cup Final at the hands of Liverpool.

That said, another Liverpool win will see them complete the double over West Ham for the 2nd consecutive season and a fourth consecutive league win.

Form Guide

Liverpool:
30th Dec v Tottenham Hotspur (A) WON 1-0
1st Jan v Bolton (H) WON 3-0
6th Jan v Arsenal (H) LOST 1-3 (FA CUP)
9th Jan v Arsenal (H) LOST 3-6 (CARLING CUP)
13th Jan v Watford (A) WON 3-0
20th Jan v Chelsea (H) WON 2-0

West Ham:

30th Dec v Man City (H) LOST 0-1
1st Jan v Reading (A) LOST 0-6
6th Jan v Brighton (H) WON 3-0 (FA CUP)
13th Jan v Fulham (H) DREW 3-3
20th Jan v Newcastle (A) DREW 2-2
27th Jan v Watford (H) LOST 0-1

Team News

Injures/Doubtful

West Ham:
Lucas Neill (knee)
A Ferdinand (groin)
L Bowyer (dislocated shoulder)
J Collins (groin)
D Ashton (broken ankle)

Liverpool:
L Garcia (torn cruciate)
B Zenden (knee injury)
M Sissoko (dislocated shoulder)
H Kewell (septic arthritis)

Possible Starting XIs:

West Ham:
Carroll, McCartney, Dailly, Davenport, Konchesky, Benayoun, Reo-Coker, Quashie, Cole, Harewood, Boa Morte

Liverpool:
Reina, Finnan, Carragher, Agger, Aurelio, Pennant, Alonso, Gerrard, Riise, Bellamy, Kuyt

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