West Ham vs Liverpool – Preview

West Ham host Liverpool at the London Stadium this evening, with a 5:30pm kick off.

Slaven Bilic really needs his side to play well today as he is under a lot of pressure at the moment. I don’t think a game against Liverpool should decide whether he keeps his job or not, but West Ham’s owners could see that differently. Last week they could only manage a draw against rock-bottom Crystal Palace, and the week before they were beaten 3-0 at home against Brighton. In between those two games, they had an amazing comeback against Spurs in the Carabao Cup – which they won 3-2 after being 2-0 down – so they need to play more like that today. They are 16th in the league and only one point clear of the relegation zone. I don’t think they’ll go down either way, but when they moved to the London Stadium the vision was to start challenging for European places, but they’re so far away from that right now.

Slaven Bilic said:

Yes, of course I need something personally. I am in a position I don’t want to be in. I have been there for quite a time now.

Every win, even in the cup but especially in the league, it will take us and me out of that position and put us in a more comfortable position. Every game you don’t win puts you in a worse position.

I do think I can turn it around, otherwise I wouldn’t be here.

West Ham are set to be without Michail Antonio, Sam Byram, Jose Fonte, James Collins and Pablo Zabaleta. Winston Reid and Aaron Cresswell should both be fit.

Liverpool will be quite disappointed with their start to the season as well. While they’re no where near West Ham in the table, they sit in 6th and are already 12 points behind leaders Man City. A top four finish will surely be the aim for the Reds now, and they are three points behind Chelsea who are in fourth. They have a chance now to go level on points with the Blues – for the time being anyway as Chelsea play Man United tomorrow – so that should be enough motivation for Jurgen Klopp’s players to go and get the job done.

Klopp said: “I’m happy that we have this record at home…but if you want to be really successful you cannot leave points in other cities. Two of our away games were big defeats, but a lot of other teams will lose there.” In reality, travelling to West Ham is completely different than the two trips Klopp is talking about. Those two games were disasters for Liverpool – they lost 5-0 away to Man City and 4-1 away to Spurs – and there’s no way today’s game should see a similar result.

Liverpool will be without Philippe Coutinho for the trip, and Gigi Wijnaldum is a doubt. Sadio Mane is back in training so we’ll more than likely see him from the bench. Klopp sounded positive when talking about Dejan Lovren, but he will be assessed before the game.

I can only see a Liverpool win here if I’m honest, I think they’ll just have too much for a West Ham side that doesn’t have too much confidence at the moment. I could be completely wrong of course, and West Ham could show up fighting and put in a really spirited display. That’s what Slaven Bilic wants (and needs) anyway.

The news news will be out from 4:30pm, so I’ll have that up as well. I’ll be watching the game, and I’ll have the major events up on Twitter.

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