Liverpool vs West Ham United – Anfield – February 24, 2018 – 15:00 hrs – EPL Preview
Despite a premature ouster from the FA Cup and EFL Cup this season, Liverpool's Premier League campaign has been quite brilliant post a 1-4 loss to Tottenham in October-mid. An 18-game run was marred by just a single defeat to bottom-scrapers Swansea City.
The combination of Mohamad Salah and Roberto Firminio has emerged as Premier League's most feared scorers and others like Sadio Mane have also joined the goal-scoring fest with a hat-trick against Porto in last week's UEFA Champions clash.
With one of the worst defensive records in the Premier League (only Stoke City have conceded more), the Hammers will be looking ahead to the Anfield clash with some amount of trepidation.
The memories of the 1-4 thrashing handed out to them, home at the London Stadium in November by their weekend rivals, will be fresh on their minds. To compound their misery, key players upfront like Andy Carroll and Manual Lanzini have been out for weeks owing to injuries and are back into action after a long time and bereft of match practice.
The Hammers have recovered hugely under coach David Moyes who took over from a hapless Steven Bilic in November. They have lost just 2 games from their previous 12 outings and climbed out of relegation zone to a respectable 12th spot now on the EPL table.
Some of the more notable achievements have been a 1-0 win over Chelsea and draws against Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspurs with thumping wins over Stoke City and Huddersfield Town, helping in the elevation up the ranks.
Liverpool, who are in the 3rd place and only 2 points behind Manchester United looked poised to catch up with the Red Devils post their weekend clash, but it would be a mistake to take things easy against a resurgent West Ham side.
The return of Aaron Cresswell at the back along with the old horse Pablo Zabaleta will give the defense lot of strength and the return of Carroll and Lanzini upfront has injected fresh life into the Hammers' attack as evinced from their 2-0 win over Watford last weekend.
Moyes will keep in mind the Reds' frailties at the back. Liverpool have conceded in increasing number of games despite being on a winning streak and this is what the Hammers would like capitalize on.
West Ham's record against Liverpool hasn't been all that bad considering that they have managed to win 4 of their last 10 outings. But the fact their last 2 encounters had ended in 4-goal defeats for the Hammers, makes the hosts clear favorites to take away the game at Anfield. But surprises cannot be ruled and this West Ham side has the capability to spring one.