What to expect from Liverpool vs. West Ham

Aaron Curry takes a look at the factors which will ultimately determine the outcome between Liverpool and West Ham in tomorrow’s Premier League fixture.

This weekend sees West Ham travel to Anfield for the fifteenth game of the Premier League campaign. It is an interesting fixture even at first glance as both teams look to bounce back from deflating defeats last time out. Despite this, Liverpool are favourites to come away with three points.

Fans were left writhing in anger last weekend as the Reds blew a 3-1 lead in astonishing fashion, but one player who didn’t fail to impress was Divock Origi. The Belgian youngster was drafted in as an early sub for the injured Philippe Coutinho against Sunderland – and duly scored the winner too. His form, with three goals in as many games has seen him impress massively, which is the deciding factor as to why he will more than likely start this game.

Taking advantage of West Ham’s poor form, along with it being a home fixture, could ensure Origi walks away from the game with a minimum of one goal, if not more. Sitting in a dismal seventeenth place, this sums up the London club’s season. Also adding insult to injury, James Collins was replaced in their last game as he picked up an injury and this leaves them with one less senior defender.

It is a perfect game for Origi. After his stunning finish against Bournemouth, there is no doubt that he could re-create such quality against seemingly lesser opposition. Not to mention his ability to press from the front, allowing Klopp’s gengenpressing system to flourish. Speaking of gengenpressing, that reminds me of Adam Lallana.

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Jurgen Klopp has stated that the Englishman will return to the starting eleven, which is a big boost for the squad. This means someone will have to be placed by him – most likely, Wijnaldum, who has been disappointing in recent times. Another player who is going to be returning to the team sheet is an influential figure at the back, Joel Matip. Coming in alongside Dejan Lovren will solidify the back line, giving the front six more freedom to attack.

The statistics speak for themselves when it comes to Matip. We have not suffered any defeats in a game in which he has featured. On the other hand, in the two games we have lost this campaign he did not feature. This is put into perspective further when you remember we secured him on a free transfer. Solid business. Solid player.

Having that solidity within defensive ranks, means players such as Adam Lallana who is also returning to action, will have the ability to roam forward without worry. With Lucas Leiva at centre-back, the midfielders had to compensate for their role as defenders – something that Matip helps to get rid of. The players will still have to fulfil their defensive responsibilities, but it becomes much more relaxed with the Cameroonian in the side. 

This duo, which have been crucial for Liverpool this season, will undoubtedly prove exactly why this weekend.

Another factor which is likely to be key in Liverpool’s dominance, is not the players, but rather the crowd. A topic that has seen debate over the past couple of weeks could well arise once again before this weekend’s kick-off. Fans floating opinions that the crowd is not what it used to be famous for, while others suggesting no difference, leave a lot of us with a rather ambiguous take on the matter.

Liverpool’s crowd thrives off the first goal. As we have seen for other fixtures such as West Brom, Watford and Leicester at Anfield, once the first goal is scored it tends to spark the Kop into life. On the other hand, Jurgen Klopp had to spur the crowd on in our most recent Premier League fixture and Anfield, as he stated that “moans and groans” won’t help the players confidence. Lo and behold, he ignited the chants around the ground, and not long after we found a breakthrough.

The cliched twelfth man plays as critical a role as the players on the pitch.

Looking at it on paper and weighing up these factors, Liverpool have already walked out the other side as victors, but as we have unfortunately seen once too often this season, each game is as unpredictable as the next.

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