West Ham host Liverpool at London Stadium on Sunday evening. The hosts sit just two points behind Jurgen Klopp’s team are four league wins in a row. However, Liverpool have not lost in their last nine matches against The Hammers and will be looking to close the gap to Man City at the top of the table.
West Ham Form
David Moyes has West Ham in outstanding form. After a 3-0 loss to Chelsea, they have gone eight matches unbeaten in all competitions with two draws followed by four consecutive victories in the league. A late 1-0 win at Everton through Tomas Soucek’s goal was followed by a 1-0 win at home against Burnley.
The Hammers then beat West Brom 2-1 at home and won 3-2 at Crystal Palace in their last match as Soucek scored twice and Craig Dawson the other. They currently sit 5th in the table with 35 points; they only got 38 in the whole of last season.
West Ham Team News
There is only one significant injury at West Ham in the shape of Arthur Masuaku. There is no real natural replacement in the squad so Moyes has changed shape and given more outings to summer singing Said Benrahma. The side basically picks itself right now with the only decision over whether Pablo Fornals or Manuel Lanzini plays as the number ten.
West Ham Motivation
West Ham have had to switch from a 3-4-3 (5-4-1 out of possession) since the injury to Masuaku and have moved to a 4-2-3-1 shape. Occasionally, Mark Noble has been the third midfield in more defensive setups and if selected here, it would show that Moyes to trying to be more solid.
The Glaswegian coach would almost certainly be delighted to take a draw from this game and is likely to play a relatively abrasive style with lots of early longer passes for Michail Antonio to chase into the channels. From there, winning set plays is a huge weapon with the height of Dawson, Soucek, Declan Rice and Angelo Ogbonna.
Having been on a terrible run of form in the league of no wins in five matches with only one goal scored, Liverpool were closer to their true level in beating Tottenham 3-1 in their last match. Prior to that, the side had real problems in attack against deep-lying defences as West Brom got a 1-1 draw at Anfield, they drew 0-0 at Newcastle and lost 1-0 at home to Burnley in their poor run.
Also during that period was a 1-0 loss to Southampton and a 2-1 FA Cup defeat to Man Utd. Both Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane scored in the last match to end their personal goal droughts.
Liverpool Team News
Jurgen Klopp will feel like he can’t catch a break. With Jordan Henderson fit to play the last match, Fabinho missed out with a knock. Then, Joel Matip went off at half time with what appears to be a serious injury. Nat Phillips came on and did reasonably well and will start at centre back if Fabinho is not able to return. Should the Brazilian be fit, then it will him a Henderson-Fabinho central defensive pairing – two natural midfielders. Phillips could play regardless though for his aerial ability against West Ham with Henderson moving into midfield.
James Milner is likely to continue in midfield if Fabinho is out otherwise for the defensive nous he brings. Joe Gomez, Virgil Van Dijk, Diogo Jota and Naby Keita are all still injured.
Liverpool are four points off Man City having played a match more so they simply can’t afford to lose or draw this match. They will play for the win but in a relatively conservative style by their usual standards with Milner or Henderson solidifying midfield alongside two other deeper players in Thiago Alcantara and Gini Wijnaldum.
If drawing late on, then the likes of Divock Origi or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could be thrown on to try to turn the match.
West Ham have won 4 PL matches in a row (6 unbeaten)
West Ham are 9 matches without a win against Liverpool
West Ham are 10 matches without a clean sheet against Liverpool
The Reds are have won 1 of their last 6 PL matches
Liverpool have failed to score in 4 of their last 6 PL matches
Liverpool have lost 2 of their last 16 PL matches (W7, D7)
Liverpool have won 3 of their last 10 away matches
The Reds have kept 2 clean sheets in their last 10 away matches
This game could very well end in a draw but Liverpool win away at Spurs should boost confidence and a narrow win for Klopp’s team perhaps looks like the best bet.