A test of the Reds’ title credentials – West Ham vs. Liverpool Preview

2 February 2019

Liverpool head to London to face West Ham on Monday night looking to get back to winning ways after the 1-1 draw with Leicester in the week..


West Ham vs. Liverpool

Monday, February 4, 2019 – 8pm (GMT)
London Stadium
Premier League
Referee: Kevin Friend

Football can be so unpredictable at times. Nobody saw the midweek fixtures panning out the way in which they did, with the Reds dropping points 24 hours after Man City had lost at Newcastle.

The draw at home to Leicester may have felt like a body blow, considering the missed opportunity to go seven points clear, but Liverpool still gained a point on the current champions.

There is no need to panic, with Jurgen Klopp‘s men still in a fantastic position and the odds-on favourites to clinch a maiden Premier League title.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, August 12, 2018: West Ham United's manager Manuel Pellegrini during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It is 12th-place West Ham up next, which can be added to the collection of recent awkward games Liverpool have faced in succession: Brighton, Crystal Palace and Leicester.

Under the lights of the London Stadium on Monday evening, the Reds will be under pressure to secure three valuable points.

It should be seen as a perfect chance to prove they are the still team to beat, however, and there is no reason why a resounding victory won’t be picked up.

Liverpool are top on merit – they shouldn’t forget that and allow doubt to creep in.

This fixture last season: West Ham 1-4 Liverpool

 

Team News

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 25, 2018: Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Brighton & Hove Albion FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold are still out injured, along with long-term absentees Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Rhian Brewster.

Alexander-Arnold is nearing a return as he recovers from a knee problem, but Gomez may not even be fit for the first leg of the Champions League clash with Bayern Munich, with surgery possibly required on his broken leg.

James Milner is available after serving his one-game ban against Leicester, giving Klopp a major boost in terms of right-back options.

The veteran is expected to start there, with Jordan Henderson returning to midfield.

Joel Matip looks set to continue alongside Virgil van Dijk, with Dejan Lovren seemingly suffering a setback in his return from a hamstring issue.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 2, 2018: Liverpool's match winning goal-scorer Divock Origi (L) celebrates with Fabio Henrique Tavares 'Fabinho' and Georginio Wijnaldum after a dramatic late injury time goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Everton FC at Anfield, the 232nd Merseyside Derby. Liverpool won 1-0. (Pic by Paul Greenwood/Propaganda)

Klopp has to choose between Henderson, Fabinho, Gini Wijnaldum and Naby Keita in midfield, although the latter is likely to be on the substitutes’ bench after another below-par showing on Wednesday night.

Although Xherdan Shaqiri is also struggling for form, so the Guinean could be retained in a left-sided role, with Sadio Mane switching to the right.

Marko Arnautovic is expected to be fit for West Ham despite limping off in the 3-0 defeat at Wolves last Tuesday.

Manuel Pellegrini is without Fabian Balbuena, Winston Reid, Jack Wilshere, Carlos Sanchez, Samir Nasri and Andriy Yarmolenko, though.

 

Last 5 Away to West Ham (All Competitions)

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 4, 2017: Liverpool's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates scoring the third goal during the FA Premier League match between West Ham United FC and Liverpool FC at the London Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Won 4-1 – November 2017 (Lanzini; Salah x2, Matip, Oxlade-Chamberlain)
Won 4-0 – May 2017 (Sturridge, Coutinho x2, Origi)
Lost 2-1 – February 2016 (Antonio, Ogbonna; Coutinho)
Lost 2-0 – January 2016 (Antonio, Carroll)
Lost 3-1 – September 2014 (Reid, Sakho, Amalfitano; Sterling)

 

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 by 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.

Answers courtesy of Sean Whetstone, in our 2018/19 opposition preview.

 

Did You Know?

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Monday, January 7, 2019: Liverpool's Sheridan Shaqiri looks dejected after his free-kick is saved during the FA Cup 3rd Round match between Wolverhampton Wanderers FC and Liverpool FC at Molineux Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Shaqiri’s dip in form has largely gone under the radar in the last six weeks, since being the match-winner against Man United on December 16.

In the seven appearances since then, five of which have been starts, he has only managed one goal and not registered an assist.

Against Leicester, the Swiss failed to have a shot or produce a single dribble, perhaps indicating that a spell out of the team could be on the cards.

 

Form

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, January 30, 2019: Liverpool's Sadio Mane and Leicester City's Wilfred Ndidi during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

West Ham – Last five results (all competitions)

Lost 3-0 vs. Wolves
Lost 4-2 vs. Wimbledon
Lost 2-0 vs. Bournemouth
Won 1-0 vs. Arsenal
Won 2-0 vs. Birmingham

Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)

Drew 1-1 vs. Leicester
Won 4-3 vs. Crystal Palace
Won 1-0 vs. Brighton
Lost 2-1 vs. Wolves
Lost 2-1 vs. Man City

 

Klopp’s View

Speaking to reporters ahead of the game, Klopp responded to Kyle Walker’s swiftly deleted Tweet, mocking Liverpool’s failure to beat Leicester:

“I cannot help them (people who celebrate other teams dropping points).

“I’m not sure what that says about us, I would say it says a bit more about the other person.

“I don’t know exactly what you mean [in terms of Walker].

“I never celebrated that another team dropped points or lost the game, for me that’s not allowed.”

 

TV & Live Blog Info

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Friday, December 21, 2018: Former Liverpool player Jamie Carragher and former Manchester United player Gary Neville working for Sky Sports before the FA Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers FC and Liverpool FC at Molineux Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

West Ham vs. Liverpool finishes off the weekend action and headlines Sky’s Monday Night Football coverage with Reds legend Jamie Carragher.

It is live on Sky Sports Main Event from 7pm (GMT), with kickoff at 8pm.

Chris Williams is on our matchday live blog from 7.15pm, keeping you entertained throughout the evening.

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