What can Liverpool expect from Pellegrini’s men on opening day? – West Ham 2018/19 Opposition Preview

9 August 2018

West Ham look well-equipped to enjoy a good season under Manuel Pellegrini, but do they really have enough to threaten Liverpool and the rest of the top six?


When we play them: August 12 (home); February 2 (away)

Last season: Won 4-1 (home); Won 4-1 (away)


It is very difficult to see anybody knocking the Reds or their rivals out of one of those top-six spots, although the Hammers do look a different proposition under Pellegrini.

The former Man City boss, who so cruelly robbed the Reds of the Premier League title in 2013/14, is an excellent manager who will thrive at the London Stadium.

The Chilean has been given money to spend, and it appears he has used it wisely.

Felipe Anderson is a hugely exciting big-money signing from Lazio, while former Toulouse man Issa Diop can be a rock at the heart of the defence.

Andriy Yarmolenko will add more quality in the final third and it will be interesting to see how Jack Wilshere fares after his move from Arsenal.

It has been a frustrating time of things for West Ham supporters, who had to endure David Moyes as their manager last season, but the feel-good factor looks to be back in east London.

There have been false dawns in the past, but along with Everton and Leicester City, the Hammers look most likely to finish seventh.

They’re still a way off the top sides, though.

 

West Ham

West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini (David Davies/PA Wire/PA Images)

Players in: Felipe Anderson, Andriy Yarmolenko, Issa Diop, Lukasz Fabianski, Fabian Balbuena, Ryan Fredericks, Xande Silva, Lukas Perez, Carlos Sanchez

Players out: Cheikhou Kouyate, Reece Burke, Patrice Evra, James Collins, Domingos Quina, Jordan Hugill (loan)

Best XI: Fabianski; Fredericks, Diop, Balbuena, Cresswell; Wilshere, Rice, Anderson, Yarmolenko; Arnautovic, Chicharito


We spoke to Sean Whetstone from Moore Than Just A Podcast and Claret & Hugh to hear how West Ham are looking and where he thinks Liverpool will finish in 2018/19.

How optimistic or pessimistic are you for the new season, and why?

Pellegrini is by far the most experienced and decorated manager we have ever had at West Ham but too much change can be difficult as well as exciting.

By default I am optimistic, but the fans need to give Pellegrini and his new signings plenty of time to settle in.

I will be happy with a top-10 finish but the talk of being in the top six in Pellegrini’s first season is nonsense.

I want to keep my feet firmly planted to the ground.

What are your aims for the season?

To start playing attractive attacking football under Pellegrini and to improve the entertainment value of the matchday in general.

I would also like to an improvement in the results and to avoid the bottom half of the Premier League table.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 24, 2018: West Ham United's Marko Arnautovic during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Who’s your man to watch?

Felipe Anderson is our club-record signing at £35.5 million—I hope he repays the faith that Pellegrini has shown in him.

I expect great things from Marko Arnautovic, too.

* All rival supporter views taken before the end of the transfer window.

 

London Stadium

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, April 22, 2017: A general view of the London Stadium, home of West Ham United, pictured before the FA Premier League match against Everton. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Capacity: 57,000

Away fans’ pubs: Drink in the London Stadium early, just outside in the fans area or in the Westfield shopping centre.

Try Cafe Football, although I should point out it is owned Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville!

One piece of advice for visiting fan: Don’t get lost and leave plenty of time if coming by train.

It is a 20-minute walk from the station to the stadium and the away turnstiles are poorly signposted, so allow yourself enough time to avoid missing kickoff.

 

Liverpool

BLACKBURN, ENGLAND - Thursday, July 19, 2018: Liverpool's new signing Naby Keita during a preseason friendly match between Blackburn Rovers FC and Liverpool FC at Ewood Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

How do you rate Liverpool’s chances heading into the season?

On a number of West Ham podcasts I have tipped Liverpool to win the Premier League!

You already have the Golden Boot winner from last season in Mo Salah but you haven’t stood still and have outspent the rest of the league with Alisson and Naby Keita to show real ambition.

I just have a gut feeling it will be Liverpool’s year.

Who’s going to be the Reds’ Player of the Year, and why?

Salah.


TIA’s West Ham Predicted Finish: 7th (Average of the TIA writers’ predictions)

Where Sean says West Ham will finish: 8th

Where Sean says Liverpool will finish: 1st


This is part of our club-by-club opposition previews this summer, getting the views of away fans on their club and their thoughts on LFC:

Arsenal | Bournemouth | Brighton | Burnley | Cardiff | Chelsea | Crystal Palace | Everton | Fulham | Huddersfield | Leicester | Man City | Man United | Newcastle | Southampton | Tottenham | Watford | West Ham | Wolves

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