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    Liverpool vs West Ham United Match Preview


    Liverpool will be hoping to bounce back from the disappointment of losing for the first time since August last weekend when they entertain West Ham on Sunday.

    Jurgen Klopp's side headed into the final 15 minutes against Bournemouth with a 3-1 lead but capitulated under a barrage of pressure to lose a match that they had dominated for large spells.

    West Ham suffered a humiliating defeat of their own the previous day, losing 5-1 against Arsenal at the London Stadium, and fell into the relegation zone on Saturday following Swansea's win over Sunderland.

    Liverpool

    Liverpool's 14-match unbeaten run came to an end a week ago when they lost to Bournemouth, a side who had never beaten The Reds in nine previous attempts and had failed to score more than one goal in those encounters.

    The capitulation in the latter stages has raised questions about the team's mentality as well as their ability to nullify the opposition when put under the same barrage of pressure that they faced against Bournemouth.

    Klopp's side will be keen to answer those questions on Sunday but they have a poor recent record against their opponents, who have won four of the last six meetings between the sides in all competitions.

    Liverpool's 52-year unbeaten run against West Ham at Anfield ended in spectacular style in August 2015 when Slaven Bilic's side prevailed 3-0 over a Liverpool team that was managed by Brendan Rodgers.

    The Reds' hopes this weekend have been improved by the availability of Sadio Mane, who had been a doubt after limping off with a knock against Bournemouth, while Adam Lallana should also return to the starting line-up after making a cameo appearance a week ago.

    The return of Joel Matip from an ankle injury should help to shore up a defence that is likely to be put under scrutiny by The Hammers in their attempts to capitalise on any vulnerabilities that still remain from last weekend's performance.

    Loris Karius is expected the retain his place in the starting line-up for the 10th successive league game despite being singled out for criticism when he was at fault for two of the Bournemouth goals.

    West Ham United

    It may come as a surprise to many that despite West Ham's much-maligned home form since moving to their new surroundings in the summer, the club have actually taken four more points at the London Stadium than on the road.

    The Irons have lost four of their six league matches away from home, although two of those defeats came against Chelsea and Tottenham when the club conceded last-minute winning goals.

    Slaven Bilic's side will be seen as ideal opposition for Liverpool in their attempts to return to winning ways, although the same applied when The Hammers faced Manchester United fortnight ago and they subsequently held the FA Cup winners to a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.

    The visitors' best chance of winning against Liverpool on Sunday may be to employ a more direct approach, with Andy Carroll the perfect option up front to expose any lingering frailties that still remain in the opposition's often-criticised defence.

    They will be buoyed by their excellent record against Liverpool in recent times having knocked Jurgen Klopp's side out of the 2016 FA Cup as well as winning both of the league encounters last season.

    West Ham's chances at Anfield will be enhanced by the return of Aaron Cresswell and Michail Antonio after recent injuries, although the match has come too soon for Cheikhou Kouyate who will remain on the sidelines with a groin problem.

    The Hammers will have extra motivation for doing well this weekend having dropped into the relegation zone following Swansea's win over Sunderland, but even a victory at Anfield would only enable the club to climb one position in the table.

    Liverpool Team News

    Sadio Mane should be fit enough to play on Sunday after limping out of the defeat to Bournemouth with a knock, while Joel Matip is set to return the the starting line-up after missing out last weekend due to an ankle problem.

    Adam Lallana, the player who replaced Mane after 69 minutes, could make his first start for the club since early-November when he sustained a groin injury playing for England on international duty.

    Two players who are not yet ready to return are Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho, with Sturridge missing the last three games with a calf problem, and Coutinho being ruled out until mid-January due to an ankle injury.

    Danny Ings and Adam Bogdan remain on the sidelines with long-term knee injuries, while Sheyi Ojo and Joe Gomez are both on the comeback trail but are not expected to return on Sunday.

    West Ham United Team News

    The Hammers will welcome back Aaron Cresswell and Michail Antonio to their starting line-up after the pair missed last weekend's 5-1 defeat against Arsenal with respective groin strains.

    Cheikhou Kouyate, who also has a groin injury, is set to miss out for a second successive game, while James Collins has not recovered from the muscular injury he sustained last weekend in time to play.

    Slaven Bilic's team currently has the most injuries in the Premier League, with Reece Oxford (ankle), Diafra Sakho, Sam Byram (both hamstring) and Gokhan Tore (thigh) all currently on the treatment table.

    Head-to-head

    West Ham ended a run of 42 consecutive defeats at Anfield last August when goals from Manuel Lanzini, Mark Noble and Diafra Sakho earned the visitors a first away win in the fixture since 1963.

    The Hammers also held Liverpool to a 0-0 away draw in the FA Cup fourth round last season before winning the replay 2-1 at Upton Park courtesy of Angelo Ogbonna's 120th minute winning goal.

    Despite losing four of the last six meetings against West Ham, Liverpool have a vastly superior record against The Irons in the Premier League era with 24 wins and nine draws from 43 encounters.

    The Reds also hold the advantage in overall meetings between the sides, winning 70 and drawing 35 out of 133 encounters in a head-to-head that was first contested 115 years ago.

    Score Prediction

    Liverpool 2-1 West Ham
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    Item Reviewed: Liverpool vs West Ham United Match Preview Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Richard Tufft
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