West Ham @ home, Sunday 7th April, 1330 BST

Thanks to http://www.tomkinstimes.com – Grown-up views & intelligent discussions on Liverpool FC

LOCAL NEWS
BAHRAIN – will be having their first match gathering for LFC Bahrain Supporters at Tracks “Crown Plaza Hotel”. Note that LFC Members will receive a 20% discount on the total bill amount. Snacks will be available free of charge
OMAN – Mohd Shaikh is safely in the Far East, and will not be ringing the bell, so it is up to one of you to pick up the baton!
QATAR – due to the early kick off, and the alcohol laws, the game will be watched in Picasso’s where food and alcohol can be served.

MATCH PREVIEW
Liverpool host West Ham United with Brendan Rodgers’ side sitting four places and 12 points above Sam Allardyce’s Hammers who occupy 11th having picked up 36 points.

The corresponding fixture in 2010/11 saw the Reds record a 3-0 victory thanks to goals from Glen Johnson, Dirk Kuyt and Maxi, while we also claimed a 3-2 victory at Upton Park back in December in the reverse fixture. In that match, Glen Johnson gave Liverpool the lead before a Mark Noble pen and a Steven Gerrard own goal put the Hammers 2-1 up at half-time. Two goals in thee second-half minutes from Joe Cole (76’) and Jonjo Shelvey (79”) secured all three points for the Reds.

West Ham have lost 10 of their 15 away matches in the Premier League this season – only bottom side Reading have lost more with 13. The Hammers’ tally of nine goals scored away from home is the joint worst in the division shared with Stoke.

TEAM NEWS
For West Ham, Joe Cole (hamstring) is rated as doubtful. Andy Carroll is ineligible.
Goalkeeper: Reina
Defenders: Johnson, Agger, Carragher, Enrique,
Midfielders: Lucas, Gerrard (c), Henderson,
Strikers: Downing, Sturridge, Suarez

The back 5 should be as expected, with Skrtel and Coates looking closer to leaving Anfield in the summer.

In midfield, an interesting stat has been going around twitter that says LFC have not lost when Gerrard, Lucas and Henderson have started. This is not entirely true, as they started against WBA and lost, but in that game, Henderson started on the wing, and Shelvey was midfield. However, the point is that this 3 seems to be our strongest midfield, and will hopefully start against West Ham. Lucas will be screening the back four as usual, but whether Gerrard plays the double pivot with Lucas in a deep lying role or up front as the playmaker in the 1-2 midfield triangle along with Henderson remains to be seen. With LFC at home, and the onus on LFC to win, I would expect the 1-2 set up.

The British press termed BR’s team selection for the Saints game as “arrogant” for including only 2 midfielders, and 4 attackers. Since then, BR has reverted to 3 in midfield, and the results have paid off. Against Aston Villa, it was surprising to see Sturridge on the bench, but understandable, as LFC had been overrun in midfield against Spurs and Saints, (and other games) and these games only began to turn in our favour when a more attack minded player was sacrificed for a player ready to win the midfield battle. (This is an area of real concern, and has been our downfall in our worst performances this season, as this video will show… http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=rTwzQCA-RzY )

Big Sam tends to set up his teams to bully their way to the points, so it would not be a surprise to see Coutinho on the bench for this game, as he is still adapting and very light weight. (although BR has played Suso against Stoke…and look at how that turned out.) Hopefully BR has learnt that lesson, or Coutinho has adapted to the more physical aspects of the EPL faster than we expected. Coutinho has the potential to be a superstar, but no LFC fan or neutral wants to see him kicked off the park by the “agricultural” style of Big Sam’s teams.
I expect a front three of Donwing, Sturridge and Suarez to start, although, as with all my predictions, I expect to be proven wrong in at least one selection if not 3!

STATISTICS
Liverpool’s overall league record against West Ham United:
Total – P: 109 W: 58 D: 29 L: 22 F: 182 A: 100 GD: +82
Home – P: 54 W: 37 D: 14 L: 3 F: 104 A: 29 GD: +75
Away – P: 55 W: 21 D: 15 L: 19 F: 78 A: 71 GD: +7

Liverpool’s biggest victories and defeats v West Ham United at Anfield:
Biggest home win (overall): 6-0 (7/4/1984)
Biggest home defeat (overall): 1-3 (4/2/1928)

TRIVIA
Ian Callaghan has made the most appearances for Liverpool in this fixture with 33 (two goals scored), while from our current squad, Jamie Carragher has made 23 appearances against the Hammers.

John Toshack has scored the most goals and has the best goals to games ratio for Liverpool with ten goals in ten appearances. From our current squad, Steven Gerrard has seven goals in 18 appearances against West Ham, with four of those goals scored at Upton Park.

Liverpool have signed four players directly from West Ham with the most expensive being Yossi Benayoun, joining for £5m in July 2007. 11 Reds have made the move to Upton Park, with nine of those transfers occurring between 1993 and 2007. Craig Bellamy has brought in the largest fee when he joined the Hammers in July 2007 for £7.5m.

WHUFC STRENGTHS
Aerial duels
Set pieces

WHUFC WEAKNESSES
Keeping possession
finishing chances
defending against counter attacks

ODDS
LFC win 65%
draw 20%
WHUFC win 15%

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