Liverpool entertain West Ham United on Saturday afternoon. Liverpool will be seeking revenge on the Hammers, who comfortably beat them 3-1 earlier in the season. This Liverpool side, though, seem to be playing with much more confidence.
Liverpool suffered disappointment in midweek with a 1-0 narrow loss to Chelsea (AET), in the Capital One Cup semi-final. West Ham managed to see of lower league competition in Bristol City last weekend, edging the tie 1-0.
West Ham’s season has been tremendous thus far. They sit seventh, one place above Liverpool, who can overtake them with a win. Enner Valencia, Stewart Downing and Andy Carroll have been great for the Hammers so far, and with the last two returning to their former clubs, they will be eager to prove a point.
After five months out of action, a potential return for Daniel Sturridge is on the cards. The English international striker hasn’t played since helping his team to a 3-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur on August 31st. Sturridge’s inclusion, whether it be from the bench or in the starting line-up, could be an enormous boost to his fellow teammates and the crowd.
It really depends on how fit he is. Brendan Rodgers said that he looks in “top-class condition”, which is nice to hear. But he also said he’ll assess Sturridge in more detail on Friday. I can see him coming on instead of starting, but obviously I’d like to see him from the start.
Mamadou Sakho is also being assessed ahead of Saturday’s encounter. Sakho came off injured in Tuesday’s loss to Chelsea. However, Sakho took to social media to inform the Liverpool fans that the injury wasn’t as serious as first feared. Sakho, if fit, would no doubt be in my side.
The same back three would be nice. West Ham have some terrific forwards, and depth, too. Enner Valencia and Andy Carroll will more than likely be the ones who start. Diafra Sakho has had a huge impact on West Ham’s season, also. Can, Skrtel and Sakho back three is what’s needed.
Lucas Leiva and Jordan Henderson in the middle, with Alberto Moreno and Lazar Markovic occupying the wing-back roles. These two will be pivotal in breaking down a stern Hammers defence. Markovic will thrive in this game, I feel.
Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho behind the striker, for me. I believe Steven Gerrard needs a rest. The 34 year-old played the full 120 minutes on Tuesday. Coutinho has been on the form of his career and with Sturridge returning, this will only benefit him. Raheem Sterling showed what he could do behind the striker in the latter stages of last season. I believe, in the long-term, this is his best position. Him and Coutinho picking the ball up from deep is a nightmare for any defence.
Daniel Sturridge would be my guy up front. Although it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if he started on the bench. His energy, pace and finishing touch is something the side have been missing so much since he got injured. The likes of Coutinho and Gerrard will thrive off of his pace in the closing stages of the season.
The side I’d love to see:
Mignolet; Can, Skrtel, Sakho; Markovic, Moreno, Henderson, Lucas; Coutinho, Sterling; Sturridge.
Expected Line Up:
Choose your Liverpool team here.