Liverpool vs West Ham
Referee: Kevin Friend
TV: Sky Sports
West Ham travel to Liverpool on Saturday evening with both sides buoyed by recent upturns in form.
Since the controversial Merseyside derby a couple of weeks ago that resulted in the long term injury of talisman Virgil van Dijk, the Reds have won three on the bounce. Two solid but unspectacular wins in the Champions League either side of a gritty win over Sheffield United equally as important as each other. The Hammers meanwhile are unbeaten in their last four league games, all the more impressive when these fixtures have included thrashings of Wolves and Leicester and draws against Manchester City and Tottenham.
After a difficult October, West Ham can look forward to three very winnable games in November. A positive result or even another positive performance against Liverpool will hold them in very good stead as they look to climb the table. In what has been one of the most unpredictable seasons thus far, West Ham know anything can happen. A point at Anfield and three wins in November would likely see them amongst the European places.
Liverpool certainly have different ambitions to the Irons this campaign. Despite the injury to Van Dijk, Jurgen Klopp will know that there are no outstanding teams in the league this season. While it is hard to see them strolling to the title with the same ease as they did last campaign, consistently winning these kinds of matches are the ones that could see them defend their crown come May.
Liverpool have a strong recent record against West Ham, having won six of the last seven meetings between the two sides. Avoiding defeat again will see them match their club record of 63 league matches unbeaten at home – a testament to the work Klopp has done in turning Anfield into a fortress once again. However, his rival on the touchline for Saturday, David Moyes, knows what it takes to beat Liverpool having done so numerous times as Everton boss. He will be out to spoil Liverpool’s party.
Liverpool’s injury woes at centre-back were worsened in midweek when Fabinho joined Joel Matip and Van Dijk on the sidelines. This leaves Liverpool with just one fit senior centre-back in Joe Gomez, meaning he will likely be partnered by academy graduate Rhys Williams. The 19-year-old was out on loan playing non-league football earlier this year, and now he’s been capped in the Champions League and set to make his Premier League debut.
Jordan Henderson has been touted as a potential option to partner Gomez, but with injury doubts over Thiago and Naby Keita, it looks most likely he will start in midfield. Diogo Jota has been in excellent form for club and country and will be pushing for a starting berth.
West Ham were dealt a blow this week as it was announced star striker Michail Antonio will miss the next four to six weeks with a hamstring injury. This means big money signing Sebastien Haller will step into his boots. Said Benrahma could make his debut this weekend.
Predicted Starting XIs
Liverpool (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, R. Williams, Gomez, Robertson; Henderson, Thiago, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino Mane
West Ham (3-4-3): Fabianski; Balbuena, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Coufal, Soucek, Rice, Masuaku; Bowen, Haller, Fornals
Score Prediction: Liverpool 3-1 West Ham
It is hard to see West Ham winning this game, given the Merseysiders’ excellent record at Anfield. The absence of Antonio against a depleted Liverpool backline is a major blow. Mo Salah and Sadio Mane have been in sparkling form, and perhaps this is the fixture for Roberto Firmino to really kickstart his season, having bagged last week against Sheffield United. However, clean sheets have been hard to come by for Liverpool this season, so expect West Ham to find the back of the net at least once.