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    West Ham vs Liverpool Match Preview


    Liverpool know that only a victory will be enough against West Ham on Sunday in order to avoid handing the initiative to Arsenal in the race for the top-four.

    The Reds stumbled against Southampton a week ago but a win on their first ever trip to the London Stadium would put the club within touching distance of the Champions League for the first time in three seasons.

    West Ham come into the game on their longest unbeaten run of the campaign and effectively ended Tottenham's title-winning hopes last weekend with a memorable 1-0 victory.

    West Ham

    West Ham have found it difficult to emulate the success of last season since moving to their new stadium but victory over Tottenham last Friday confirmed that the club have retained their Premier League status for another campaign.

    The Hammers, who said goodbye to Upton Park a year ago this week, enjoyed their best Premier League finish, of seventh, for 16 seasons in what was Slaven Bilic's first season at the club as a manager.

    Bilic endured a difficult start to 2016-17, with his side exiting the Europa League against Romanian minnows Astra Giurgiu in addition to winning only two of their first seven league matches at the London Stadium.

    West Ham have subsequently steadied the ship at home, taking 25 points from a possible 54 so far this season, and have also picked up valuable points on the road against Manchester United and Liverpool.

    The Hammers fell from ninth to 15th in the table during a disastrous seven-game spell without a win between February and April but have risen once again following an unbeaten run of five matches.

    Victory against Liverpool on Sunday would take the club, who are currently 12th in the table, level on points with eighth-place West Brom ahead of next Sunday's finale against Burnley at Turf Moor.

    West Ham have been plagued by a succession of injuries this season, with captain Mark Noble and midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate the latest players to be sidelined having undergone surgery on long-term problems.

    Liverpool

    Last Sunday, Liverpool's qualification for the Champions League appeared to be a formality when three points against Southampton would have put them seven points ahead of Manchester United and 12 clear of Arsenal in the table.

    The 0-0 draw appeared to hand the initiative to Manchester United but the Red Devils' 2-0 loss to Arsenal later that day meant that Liverpool would be only two wins away from securing a top-four spot come the end of the season.

    Subsequent victories for The Gunners against Southampton and Stoke have upped the pressure on Jurgen Klopp's side further and have made Sunday's visit to the London Stadium a must-win game.

    The Reds come into the match in excellent form on the road having recorded successive victories over Stoke, West Brom and Watford, which compares favourably to the club's recent home form.

    Last Sunday's draw against Southampton, in which James Milner missed a 66th-minute penalty, was Liverpool's third successive game without a win at Anfield after previous slip-ups against Bournemouth and Crystal Palace.

    Klopp's side have a poor recent record against Sunday's opponents, with West Ham winning their last three matches against Liverpool at Upton Park as well as holding a five-match unbeaten run against The Reds in all competitions.

    The club may hand a first start to Adam Lallana since March 19, while Daniel Sturridge could also return to the starting XI if Roberto Firmino is unable to recover from a muscle problem ahead of the game.


    West Ham Team News

    West Ham have the longest injury list in the Premier League, with no fewer than nine players currently on the sidelines including Mark Noble and Cheikhou Kouyate.

    Both players appeared against Spurs last weekend but have since undergone surgery on respective hernia and wrist injuries and will not now play for the club until next season.

    Andy Carroll will not be fit to face his former side having missed the last four weeks with a groin strain, while Michail Antonio is sidelined for a fifth successive game with a hamstring injury.

    Diafra Sakho (back), Pedro Obiang (ankle), Arthur Masuaku (foot), Angelo Ogbonna and Gokhan Tore (both knee) complete the list of players who are currently unavailable for Slaven Bilic's side.

    Liverpool Team News

    Roberto Firmino and Lucas Leiva were forced to miss training this week due to respective muscle problems and both players will have their fitness assessed ahead of the game.

    Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge could return to the starting line-up having appeared from the bench in recent games, with Divock Origi's place coming under threat after he failed to net in his last five matches.

    The Reds will also be without influential duo Jordan Henderson (foot) and Sadio Mane (knee), with the Liverpool captain unlikely to play again this season and Mane sidelined after undergoing surgery.

    Danny Ings and Adam Bogdan will also not feature for the club again this campaign after sustaining long-term knee injuries in the autumn, although Ings has since starting running again at Melwood.

    Head-to-head

    West Ham have won four of their last seven matches against Liverpool in all competitions and have remained unbeaten in the last five, with The Reds' last win against their London opponents coming in January 2015.

    When the two sides met at Anfield in December, goals from Dimitri Payet and Michail Antonio turned a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 half-time lead for West Ham before Divock Origi equalised early in the second-half to earn his side a point.

    Liverpool have a dominant record against West Ham since the start of the Premier League era, with 24 victories, 10 draws and only 10 defeats from 44 matches in all competitions.

    The Reds also have the upper hand when it comes to overall matches between the two sides, with 70 wins, 36 draws and only 28 losses coming from 134 matches over a 116-year period.

    Score Prediction

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