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    Liverpool vs West Ham United Match Preview


    Liverpool are looking to complete a league double over West Ham for the first time since the 2013-14 season when the two sides meet at Anfield this weekend.

    The Reds will move above Manchester United into second place with a win on Saturday afternoon, while a three-goal victory would allow Jurgen Klopp's team to hold onto that position if United and Chelsea were to draw 24 hours later.

    West Ham are in need of three points themselves despite putting together a run of just two defeats in the last 12 matches, with 18th-place Southampton sitting just four points below The Hammers in one of the tightest relegation scraps for years.

    Liverpool

    Liverpool were last involved in first-team action 10 days ago, when a Sadio Mane hat-trick gave The Reds a 5-0 victory over FC Porto which they take into the second leg of their Champions League last 16 tie on March 6.

    Klopp's side took advantage of an abrupt fourth-round exit from the FA Cup by taking his players to Marbella for a warm weather training camp, with the squad taking part in four training sessions in the Spanish sunshine.

    The German will be hoping that his charges come back fully-refreshed ahead of the game on Saturday afternoon from what has been a gruelling 39-game season so far, which has included nine matches in the Champions League.

    The Reds have scored a staggering 99 goals since the start of the campaign, with the front-three of Mohamed Salah (30), Sadio Mane (12) and Roberto Firmino (21) finding the net on 63 occasions between them.

    It had appeared as though Liverpool were struggling to find their best form following a recent run of just one win from four matches but back-to-back victories and clean sheets over Southampton and FC Porto have put the club back on track once again.

    West Ham may prove to be ideal opponents for Klopp's team on Saturday, with matches between the sides often proving to be high-scoring affairs such as the two recent contests at the London Stadium which the visitors won by an aggregate 8-1 scoreline.

    The Reds find themselves in a highly unusual position of having an almost fully-fit squad to choose from, with long-term injury absentee Nathaniel Clyne the only player unavailable for selection this weekend.

    West Ham United

    It was a 4-1 defeat to Liverpool, back in early November, which ultimately convinced the West Ham board to sack Slaven Bilic after 11 league matches of the campaign and to appoint David Moyes as his replacement the following day.

    The Hammers, who were 17th in the table at the time, fell to 19th after the new manager's opening four games in charge resulted in a solitary point but a morale-boosting home win against Chelsea in December helped to steady the ship.

    Moyes' side have only lost two league matches since that watershed moment, although they are still embroiled in a relegation battle having drawn too many of the subsequent games.

    Only four points separate the 12th-place Hammers and 18th-place Southampton, with trips to Stamford Bridge and the Emirates Stadium on the horizon as well as home matches against both the Manchester clubs.

    West Ham have not been in action since Javier Hernandez and Marko Arnautovic scored either side of half-time in a 2-0 win over Watford 14 days ago as they, along with Liverpool, exited the FA Cup at the fourth-round stage.

    The victory ended a winless run of four games, which included defeats to Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup, Brighton in the Premier League as well home draws against Bournemouth and Crystal Palace.

    Marko Arnautovic and Javier Hernandez are the club's joint-top goalscorers with seven goals apiece, while Andre Ayew and Diafra Sakho, who sit third and fourth on that list, have since departed for Swansea and Rennes respectively.

    Liverpool Team News

    With almost a fully-fit squad to choose from, Jurgen Klopp has decided to make three changes from the side which won 5-0 in the Champions League against FC Porto 10 days ago.

    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Emre Can replace Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum in central midfield, while Joel Matip partners Virgil van Dijk in central defence having been preferred to Dejan Lovren.

    Right-back Joe Gomez has to contend with a place on the bench following his comeback from injury, where he is joined by the likes of Alberto Moreno and Adam Lallana who have both been unable to regain their starting places following lay-offs.

    Right-back Nathaniel Clyne, meanwhile, has returned to light training having not featured since the end of last season due to a back problem but he is still several weeks away from making an appearance in first-team.

    West Ham United Team News

    The Hammers hand a debut to 36-year-old Patrice Evra, who plays in the left wing-back position as part of a 'back five', as David Moyes elects to change his preferred 4-5-1 formation to a 5-4-1.

    Michail Antonio is the midfielder who makes way for Evra, while Moyes has also chosen to sacrifice an out-and-out centre forward, Javier Hernandez, in favour of an attacking midfielder in the form of Manuel Lanzini.

    Arthur Masuaku serves the fourth installment of a six-match ban, while centre-back Jose Fonte looks to have played his final game for The Hammers having agreed a £5 million move to Chinese club Dalian Yifang.

    Winston Reid, meanwhile, has recovered from a throat infection and returns as one of the club's seven substitutes alongside the likes of Sam Byram, Declan Rice, Jordan Hugill and Joe Hart.

    Head-to-head

    West Ham had enjoyed a five-match unbeaten run against Saturday's opponents, which began in the final months of Brendan Rodgers' reign as Liverpool manager but ultimately ended in emphatic style last May.

    The Reds cruised to a 4-0 victory at The London Stadium, while another crushing win for Jurgen Klopp's side, this by a 4-1 scoreline, in November proved to be the final match in Slaven Bilic's two-and-a-half year spell as West Ham manager.

    The clubs have met a total of 43 times in the Premier League, with Liverpool coming out on top on 25 occasions compared to The Hammers nine although a further nine of those matches have ended in draws.

    West Ham have only ever beaten Liverpool on 28 occasions since the teams first met in an FA Cup tie back in 1901, while The Reds have won 72 and drawn 36 from a total of 136 matches in all competitions.

    Score Prediction

    Liverpool 3-0 West Ham United
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    Item Reviewed: Liverpool vs West Ham United Match Preview Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Richard Tufft
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