West Ham vs Liverpool Preview:
Probable starting lineups:
Hart, Fonte, Kouyate, Ogbonna, Reid, Fernandes, Lanzini, Noble, Cresswell, Ayew, Chicharito
Mignolet, Gomez, Klavan, Lovren, Moreno, Milner, Henderson, Emre Can, Coutinho, Firmino, Salah
West Ham have started the season with three straight defeats and manager Slaven Bilic came under huge pressure. He is still at his position, but the pressure continues. The Hammers are currently on the 16th position, just one point clear of the relegation zone. The actual form isn't at desired level, they have no win on the last three matches in the Premier League. West Ham lost 3:0 to newly-promoted Brighton, while shared the points with Burnley and Crystal Palace. The last draw against the Eagles is hard to swallow. The Hammers had a two-goal advantage after the first half thanks to goals scored by Chicharito and Andre Ayew. Nevertheless, they received twice in the second half. Worst of all, the equalizer was conceded deep in the injury time, in the 97th minute. Goalkeeper Hart has conceded five goals on the last two matches and his confidence isn't high. In fact, the whole defense is poor and this is the biggest problem for Bilic. To be worse, the Croatian coach face defensive crisis ahead of this match. Right-back Pablo Zabaleta is suspended due to accumulated yellow cards. Both central defender Jose Fonte and left back Aaron Cresswell were injured at Selhurst Park and they are rated as doubtful. In addition, James Collins, Sam Byram and Michail Antonio are sidelined.
Liverpool play hot and cold in this season. The Reds have collect just 16 points after the first 10 rounds and sit on the sixth position. Of course, the fans are not satisfied as they were expecting to see Liverpool fighting for the top. However, the actual form could be described as solid. The Merseysiders are in series of two consecutive victories in which they scored six goals and kept clean sheets. The victims were Huddersfield and Slovenian side Maribor in the Champions League. Liverpool have kept four clean sheets in their past five games across all competitions, after managing none in the seven games before that. Mohamed Salah is probably the key player this season. The Egyptian international has registered 13 goal involvements in all competitions this season (10 goals and three assists) - more than any other Reds player. But manager Jurgen Klopp is still without the best player from the last season Sadio Mane due to injury. The Senegalese international is recovering from a hamstring injury sustained during the international break last month. He has returned to full training this week, but this match come too soon for him. Mane was initially expected to be sidelined for six weeks but he has recovered two weeks ahead of schedule. The 25-year-old winger has missed the past five matches, while previously served a three-match ban following his dismissal against Manchester City in September. According to me, his absence is the key reason for the poor results this season. But there is more - important midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum is ruled out after suffered an ankle injury against Maribor on Wednesday. Dejan Lovren and Philippe Coutinho are both rated as doubtful, while Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne remain long-term injury victims.
West Ham vs Liverpool Prediction:
I expect both teams to score at London Stadium. Both managers have defensive issues. Bilic is without many players due to suspension and injuries and I think they will concede at least one goal knowing the Reds attacking potential. Liverpool, meanwhile, kept clean sheets against Huddersfield and Maribor, but the opponents were too weak. West Ham have good strikers like Chicharito, Andre Ayew or Andy Carrol. I believe some of them will upset out-of-form Simon Mignolet.
West Ham vs Liverpool Pick: Both teams to score - Yes