West Ham United will look to put in a special performance when they welcome Liverpool to the London Stadium on Monday night.
The Hammers are on a poor run of form with defeats in 3 consecutive matches following the rousing 1-0 win over Arsenal in January. They were particularly listless against Wolves, failing to register a single shot on target in the 0-3 loss.
But it is not all doom and gloom for the Hammers as they are in a relatively decent 12th position on the table, just 4 points off the 7th place. The slate of injuries have surely played a part in West Ham’s failure to put together a string of good results and club captain Mark Noble stressed on something similar in the build-up to the match.
”… but we will need a total team effort to get a positive result and it’s no secret that we’re a bit stretched numbers-wise at the moment.
“If you look at the last six weeks, we’ve played a lot of games and that has had a cumulative effect. Issa Diop, for one, has played every game since he made his debut at Arsenal back in August and could probably do with a rest but at the moment, we haven’t any alternatives.
“Let’s not be too down, though. We’re still in a reasonable position and the Premier League is so unpredictable. We’ve beaten big teams here already this season, so let’s work together and try to do it again on Monday.”
WEST HAM UNITED TEAM NEWS
West Ham have a lengthy list of injured players which is common knowledge by now. Fabian Balbuena (knee), Winston Reid (knee), Andriy Yarmolenko (Achilles), Carlos Sanchez (knee) and Jack Wilshere (ankle) are long-term absentees while Manuel Lanzini is back in light training.
In more recent developments, Lukasz Fabianski and Aaron Cresswell will face fitness tests today, but the former is expected to make the cut. But Marko Arnautovic is unlikely to play with Pellegrini saying he was ‘not sure’ of the Austrian’s availability. The manager also ruled out Samir Nasri for another week.
PREDICTED WEST HAM UNITED LINEUP VS LIVERPOOL (4-3-2-1)
Lukasz Fabianski is expected to recover in time and jump straight back in the firing line of Salah, Firmino and Mane.
Pablo Zabaleta will start at right-back, and the Argentine will have to gather all his experience to stifle the rampaging Mane. The central defensive duo of Issa Diop and Angelo Ogbonna is unlikely to be changed. With Cresswell facing late fitness tests, throwing him in the deep end against Salah might not be the best idea. Arthur Masuaku is likely to retain his place.
Mark Noble and the mightily impressive Declan Rice are nailed on starters. But Pellegrini might opt to put an extra body in midfield against the Reds. The Hammers were outrun quite easily in the reverse fixture in August, and the gaffer will have to make necessary adjustments to avoid a repeat. Hence, a start for Pedro Obiang cannot be ruled out on Monday.
Michail Antonio‘s work-rate will come in handy while Felipe Anderson will try and add to his tally of 8 goals and two assists. He has been West Ham’s best player this season, and in Arnautovic’s likely absence, the onus will be on the Brazilian to come up with the goods.
Javier Hernandez and Andy Carroll are options to lead the line, but the former Liverpool man might have to settle for a place on the bench. A delayed introduction as a Plan B looks the likelier occurrence.