As is the Liverpool way, the Reds find themselves needing to win both remaining games to secure Champions League football. The first of those? A trip to London’s Olympic Stadium to take on West Ham. Jack Hallows has all the stats, fitness updates and team news.
They’re the closest thing Jürgen Klopp has to a bogey side so far in his tenure at Liverpool. The Hammers have been a stubborn foe for the German and have managed to go unbeaten in all five of their clashes since Klopp took over in October, 2015.
That needs to change this weekend.
The home side – as has been the case all season – are carrying numerous injuries to key players ahead of Sunday’s match.
Cheikhou Kouyaté, Mark Noble, Arthur Masuaku, Pedro Obiang, Angelo Ogbonna, ex-Liverpool man Andy Carroll and top scorer Michail Antonio are all set to miss out. Diafra Sakho is also still out with a back injury having featured for just 180 minutes all season.
For the Reds, however, it’s mixed news.
Klopp has stressed that Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana are “now options” for this fixture but Roberto Firmino and Lucas both sat out training during the week as precautions and could miss out. Henderson, Mané and Ings remain sidelined until pre-season.
Premier League Season Form Guide | (Most Recent First)
West Ham United – WDDDWL
West Ham have enjoyed an unbeaten run of five games in recent weeks, keeping four clean sheets across those five fixtures and seemingly putting an emphasis on just grinding out results. The home side haven’t exactly been free-scoring, netting just four in their last six but their new found defensive solidarity has been a huge plus for Slaven Bilic’s men.
Overall though things haven’t been anywhere even near smooth sailing for the Hammers at the Olympic Stadium and the London club have actually dropped more points than they’ve earned at home this season.
Seven wins, seven losses and four draws gives them a total home points tally of just 25 from 54 with 27 goals against. Their form against the rest of the big guns, in particular, has been dreadful at home with their 1-0 defeat of Spurs last weekend being their only home points against any side in the top six.
Liverpool – DWLWWD
Liverpool’s form has been fairly inconsistent of late to say the least but there is one positive for us fans of Jürgen Klopp’s men.
Our away form of late has been far superior to that of our home form. Since returning from the last international break, the Reds have taken nine from nine on the road with hard fought victories over Stoke, West Brom and Watford all providing us with key points away from home.
However, taking just two at home from an available nine against Bournemouth, Palace and Southampton certainly has some fans worried.
Overall this season though, the Reds away form has been fairly impressive. Losses at Hull, Bournemouth and Leicester have been less than savoury results but trips to London in particular have been kind to Liverpool this season. The Reds have taken 13 points from an available 15 during trips to the capital – Watford, Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenal, Crystal Palace – with a goal difference of +5 and an average of 3.5 goals per 90.
We don’t have to talk about this right? Oh. We do? Let’s get it over with then.
As I mentioned previously, West Ham are the closest thing that Klopp has to a bogey side in the Premier League across his tenure so far with the Reds failing to beat the Hammers on any of the five occasions they’ve met.
Last season saw the London Club do the league double over the Reds while also knocking them out of the FA Cup 2-1 on aggregate across both legs, while a Dimi Payet free kick paired with a Loris Karius error was enough to earn West Ham a point at Anfield in December.
Overall though, meetings at West Ham have been fairly even affairs with the 20 previous meetings on West Ham soil being divided into three draws, eight West Ham wins and nine Liverpool wins. Both sides have managed 28 goals across the total amount of fixtures and while Liverpool dominate possession – 56%/44% – each other stat looks incredibly even.
Realistically, I’m hoping that with nothing to play for and having just ended Tottenham’s vain title hopes last weekend, West Ham are going to be on a beach somewhere with their heads out of this game. That would just be lovely wouldn’t it? They’re missing key players, their season is basically over with nothing left to play for and Bilic has the backing of the West Ham board ahead of next season. They should be done, right?
Well for any other team visiting them then probably but for Liverpool, it just never gets to be that simple. The Reds will have to make use of the wide areas of this pitch and try to exploit the space that’ll be afforded to them to get in behind what’s likely to be a back 3-come-5. I’m going to be positive though and back our lads to do it. C’mon you Redmen!
West Ham United 1 – 2 Liverpool FC