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    West Ham United vs Liverpool Match Preview


    West Ham United and Liverpool meet at the London Stadium on Saturday evening, with both teams eager to continue their recent upturns in form after making underwhelming starts to the season.

    A fortnight ago, The Hammers were unceremoniously beaten 3-0 at home by newly-promoted Brighton, while Jurgen Klopp's side were also comprehensively humbled 4-1 at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur.

    Reaching such a low point seems to have galvanized both clubs in the last couple of weeks but another poor showing on Saturday by either team could have ramifications heading in the international break.

    West Ham United

    Expectations were sky high for West Ham as they headed into the 2017-18 season, with four key summer additions giving the club arguably their strongest squad since promotion back into the Premier League in 2012.

    Seven of The Hammers' unsuccessful recruits from 12 months ago had made way for a more talented influx hoping to bring success to the The London Stadium, which had started to feel much more like home following some early teething problems.

    England goalkeeper Joe Hart and right-back Pablo Zabaleta arrived from Manchester City, while the club secured the services of a natural goalscorer and a mercurial talent in the form of Javier Hernandez and Marko Arnautovic respectively.

    The Hammers were handed an early dose of reality, however, in the opening three matches of the campaign when Manchester United, Southampton and Newcastle all beat Slaven Bilic's side by an aggregate scoreline of 10 goals to two.

    Wins against Huddersfield and Swansea and a hard-earned point away to West Brom in the next four matches seemed to steady the ship but two defeats in the subsequent three games once again increased the pressure on manager Bilic.

    The club responded in spectacular style, however, by recording a stunning win against Spurs at Wembley, coming from 2-0 down to win the Carabao Cup tie 3-2 courtesy of two second-half goals from Andre Ayew and Angelo Ogbonna's 70th-minute winner.

    Last weekend's 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace proved yet another setback for Bilic and his side, who surrendered a 2-0 lead and duly succumbed to a 97th-minute equalizer despite a heroic goalkeeping display from Joe Hart.

    Saturday's clash against Liverpool provides an opportunity for the club to steer clear of the relegation zone ahead of the international break, with only a point currently separating the 16th-place Hammers from third-bottom Everton.

    Liverpool

    Liverpool appear to have finally bounced back from a disappointing run of form since the end of August with two successive 3-0 wins against Huddersfield in the Premier League and Maribor in Europe.

    Last weekend's victory over the Terriers proved vital, with David Wagner's side frustrating the Anfield crowd in a goalless first-half before the floodgates opened after the break courtesy of strikes from Daniel Sturridge, Roberto Firmino and Georginio Wijnaldum.

    Despite being on a run of only two wins from the previous 10 matches in all competitions, the victory elevated The Reds to sixth in the table where they remain only three points behind fourth-place Chelsea and fifth-place Arsenal respectively.

    It was followed three days later by a 3-0 win over Slovenian champions Maribor, with Mohamed Salah, Emre Can and Daniel Sturridge all finding the net to ensure the five-time holders remain top of Group E with two matches remaining.

    While Liverpool's two most recent wins have come against modest opposition, Klopp's side have rediscovered a ruthlessness in the final third of the pitch in order to capitalise on their superiority in both possession and chances created.

    In the absence of Dejan Lovren, The Reds have also appeared much more solid in defence since the 4-1 humbling against Tottenham and have subsequently kept back-to-back clean sheets for only the second time this season.

    The club will need to continue their recent improvements if they are to beat West Ham on Saturday, with the London side coming out on top on four occasions against The Reds over the past three seasons.

    With Chelsea facing Manchester United and Arsenal travelling to Eastlands to play Manchester City this weekend, it may prove an excellent opportunity for Klopp's side to narrow the gap with the Premier League's top five clubs.

    West Ham United Team News

    The Hammers welcome back Winston Reid for the visit of Liverpool this weekend after the New Zealand international missed the recent matches against Tottenham and Crystal Palace with a calf strain.

    Aaron Cresswell has recovered from the dead leg he sustained in the 2-2 draw against Palace, which caused the England international to be replaced by Arthur Masuaku at half-time, and he should return to the starting XI.

    Slaven Bilic has a dilemma of who to play at right-back, with Pablo Zabaleta serving a suspension, Sam Byram missing out due to a thigh strain and Michail Antonio currently unavailable because of a rib injury.

    The club are also short of options at centre-back after James Collins sustained an ankle injury against West Brom in mid-September, while Jose Fonte is also ruled-out having picked-up a foot injury last weekend.

    Liverpool Team News

    Georginio Wijnaldum will face a late fitness test after he left the field after only 17 minutes on Wednesday due to an ankle injury, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain one of the candidates to replace him if necessary.

    Oxlade-Chamberlain hasn't started a league game since joining Liverpool in August but Klopp may instead decide to keep faith with Daniel Sturridge, who scored the opener against Huddersfield and the third goal against Maribor.

    Sadio Mane is expected to be named as one of the substitutes having returned to training this week following a hamstring injury, although The Reds are still without Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana due to respective thigh problems.

    Dejan Lovren (thigh), Nathaniel Clyne (back), Adam Bogdan (knee) and Danny Ward (back) are also currently unavailable for the club through injury.

    Head-to-head

    The sides last met at the London Stadium in May 2017, when two goals from Philippe Coutinho and one apiece from Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi enabled the visitors to equal their biggest ever margin of victory away to The Hammers.

    West Ham, however, enjoyed a period of dominance during the previous seven meetings against Liverpool having won four and drawn two of those encounters, which included a double over their Merseyside opponents in 2015-16 as well as an FA Cup victory.

    Liverpool have dominated the head-to-head in terms of Premier League meetings, with 24 victories to West Ham's nine from 42 matches played, while The Reds also beat Saturday's opponents on penalties in the 2006 FA Cup Final.

    With the first game between the two teams taking place in 1901, Klopp's side also lead the way with 71 wins from 135 encounters in all competitions compared to their opponents' 28 victories.

    Score Prediction

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