After a week of domestic cup ties, both sides resume their league campaigns with aspirations to catch those ahead of them. West Ham went full strength in their FA Cup tie away to Southampton, only to fall away to a surprise 3-1 loss. The nature of that defeat could backfire on David Moyes and his weekend preparations, with Liverpool resting most of their players in their 2-1 home win against Norwich.
West Ham will probably field a much similar line up, with those that were injured still not ready to return. Vladimir Coufal, Andriy Yarmolenko, Ryan Fredericks, Angelo Ogbonna and Arthur Masuaka are still still out, though Tomas Soucek, Aaron Cresswell and Mark Noble should all be available for selection.
With Manchester United just two points ahead of the Hammers, in 4th place, West Ham will be looking for a repeat of their home win against the reds. With a system so finely tuned to combat Liverpools own set up, it could be an enthralling game won by a smart tactical game plan.
Liverpool will be without Curtis Jones, Thiago Alcantara and Roberto Firmino for this game, with an outfield line up that may mirror that which was triumphant in the League Cup Final. Alisson Becker is the only likely change from that side, with Diogo Jota again settling for a place on the bench. Jordan Henderson could well be rested for this game, given his exploits in the week. Harvey Elliott would likely come into this game, if Henderson were to be rested, with the rest as started at Wembley.
The reds have been ruthless in the Premier League of late, and will be looking for maximum points this Saturday. Luis Diaz has exploded since his move from FC Porto, and his position as left forward could be the key to this games result. His ability to travel at pace and create chances, will be a constant threat to Craig Dawson, and a player Moyes will surely look to double up upon. With the reds attack now full of goal scoring ambition, West Ham will likely have to defend for large periods of this game. Jarrod Bowen and Michail Antonio will be the key counter attacking outlets, and the notorious Liverpool high line will be tested to its fullest. West Ham were full value for their home win earlier in the season, and set pieces could also be a vital part of their play.
As the season approaches the business end of the year, vital points are being sought from top to bottom. This game could well be the match up of the weekend, with West Ham and David Moyes continually showing themselves to be one the leagues stand out teams.
Liverpool will be thankful to have a 2-0 lead (in their two legged Champions League with Inter), and they will be welcoming the Italian giants next week. With that game very much under control, Jurgen Klopp will be happy to have seen so many first team players rested in the week. With the FA Cup games taken into account, this should see Liverpools freshness and capabilities win our, and apply more pressure their sole league rivals.
Player to watch – Luis Diaz
Liverpool 3 – 1 West Ham