Liverpool looking to hammer home their advantage over West Ham
Liverpool to win 2-0
Liverpool’s injury concerns at the back took another turn for the worse in midweek when they lost Fabinho to a hamstring problem in Europe.
The Brazilian has generally been excellent since joining the Anfield club and has slotted in at the back seamlessly when required. It was hoped that he would fill the shoes of Van Dijk, who is likely out for the rest of the season.
Fabinho’s injury means that Jurgen Klopp must shuffle his players again, and this could present an opportunity for West Ham. The Reds do remain in good form however, sitting joint-top of the league.
The Hammers also face an injury blow of their own, with key striker Michail Antonio likely to be out for up to six weeks. His goals have been crucial, and they must now find another way to hurt Liverpool this weekend.
The form of both teams has been good of late, and this should be a entertaining game.
Form Guide (all comps): LDWWW
Reasons to be cheerful:
Attackers are in fine form, particularly with the addition of Diogo Jota
Won six of their last seven meetings against West Ham
Reasons to be fearful:
Losing Van Dijk and possibly Fabinho will leave a gap at the back
Keeping clean sheets has been a problem in the league
With many of the so-called ‘Big Six’ struggling from inconsistency so far this season, Liverpool will be relatively pleased with their start, considering they sit joint-top of the league along with local rivals Everton.
They are after their fourth win on the bounce and have looked comfortable in their Champions League fixtures so far too.
With Van Dijk out for the foreseeable future and Fabinho a doubt after suffering a hamstring injury in midweek, Klopp could turn to youngster Rhys Williams for a first start in the league.
West Ham have been in good goalscoring form, but will now be without Michail Antonio for this match. They have other quality players, of course, however this will ease the pressure that Williams may face this weekend.
Liverpool remain their brilliant best going forward, of course. Salah and Mane are still scoring with consistency, Roberto Firmino recently scored his first goal of the season, and newcomer Jota has popped up with three already.
Star Man – Mo Salah
Has seven goals already this season – his ruthlessness in front of goal is keeping Liverpool at the top
Form Guide (all comps): WLWDD
Reasons to be cheerful
Unbeaten in their last four league matches
Have shown they can upset the bigger teams
Reasons to be fearful
Losing Antonio is a big blow
Poor record against Liverpool
West Ham manager David Moyes has looked a happy man of late, which is expected considering how well his team has played for most of the season to date.
After losing their first two games of the season, many predicted West Ham would be in for another tough season near the bottom, and Moyes himself one of the early favourites for the sack.
Their fortunes have changed since then with 8 points from the next 12 available, including thrashing the likes of Wolves and Leicester.
One player who has been a big part of that has been Michail Antonio, whose three goals have helped The Hammers pick up vital points. He will miss up to six weeks through injury and will come as a big blow.
They have other quality players up front – Haller has five goals and looks in decent form, as does Jarrod Bowen and Pablo Fornals, who scored in this fixture last season.
Star Man – Pablo Fornals
David Moyes spoke in his press conference this week how important Fornals is to the team. He scored against Liverpool last year.
Liverpool should have enough quality to get over the line here
Rhys Williams to make his first start for Liverpool
Sebastian Haller could lead the line for West Ham
Liverpool will still fancy their chances to pick up three points here, even with a weaker defence than usual.
Their usual attacking trio of Salah, Mane and Firmino were all rested in some way in midweek and will therefore be fresh to take on The Hammers this weekend. We can expect at least one of those to find the net.
As for West Ham, they must continue to play with the confidence they have found lately. They won’t have Antonio, but must find another way to goal.
They could cause an upset here, but Liverpool are still favourites.
Liverpool to win 2-0