West Ham United v Liverpool - Match Preview, Stats & Team News

Upton Park

To be played on Sunday 6th April 2014 at 16:00. Venue: Boleyn Ground, London.

Odds: West Ham United 8/1, Draw 4/1, Liverpool 4/9

Last season: 2-3

Preview & injury news

Liverpool head down to the East end of London top of the table for the first time since Christmas knowing that if they win their six remaining games they will end their 24 year wait for a top flight title. West Ham, who are currently 11th on 37 points will be a stern test for the Reds as they have won their last two Premier League games, making that a run of six wins from nine that should keep them in the top flight next season. 

The visitors are looking to make it nine wins on the bounce and are unbeaten in 2014 in the league as they are currently two points clear at the top of the Premier League. Chelsea are in second but Manchester City remain the title favourites as they are four points behind the Reds with two games in hand. If Liverpool were to take all three points here, their match with City next week will be seen by many as a title decider. 

However, they do face up to some old boys in Joe Cole, Andy Carroll and Stewart Downing, along with Kevin Nolan who grew up in the city, and they all wouldn't mind dealing Liverpool's title chances a blow.

On the injury front the Hammers don't have too many problems. Joey O'Brien is expected to return to the side later this month as he continues to recover from a shoulder injury whilst Marco Borriello and James Collins are both struggling with calf problems and will miss out. For Liverpool, they are likely to have the same squad as in recent weeks with Jose Enrique the only absentee with a knee injury he picked up earlier on in the season. 

Key stats

Here are the top scorers from the two teams in the Premier League this season:

Luis Suarez Liverpool FW 29 27 2,424
Daniel Sturridge Liverpool FW 20 24 1,926
Steven Gerrard Liverpool MF 11 28 2,360
Kevin Nolan West Ham MF 7 28 2,299
Carlton Cole West Ham FW 6 20 779
Mohamed Diamé West Ham MF 4 29 1,959

Their average possession statistics:

NamePossession PercentagePlayed
Liverpool 54.16 32
West Ham United 41.50 32

And the amount of clean sheets that the two sides have kept:

NameClean SheetPlayed
West Ham United 13 32
Liverpool 10 32

5 players to watch

Andy Carroll - Carroll will have a point to prove this weekend and if West Ham get him into the game as much as possible he could be a real handful for the Liverpool defence. He had a big role in the game against Sunderland as he scored and provided a goal for his side, but can he put a dent in his old club's title charge?

Philippe Coutinho - If West Ham set up to be solid and succeed in any attempts to frustrate Liverpool then a lot of the responsibility to create chances for the visitors may rest on the shoulders of the Brazilian. He has been in very good form, he's strong on the ball and he can come up with a final ball that bamboozles defences. How big a role will he play on Sunday?

Stewart Downing - When the Hammers counter-attack, they seem to get it wide quickly so Downing is likely to see a lot of the ball. He's another Liverpool old boy with a point to prove to the current Reds manager, and he could be the man providing deliveries for Andy Carroll to either knock down or head home, so the visitors will be looking to keep him quiet. 

Daniel Agger - Agger has been in pretty good form but he has tended to struggle against the more physical strikers so he could be in for a difficult afternoon against Andy Carroll. Whether he has learnt to deal with the threat better lately will be tested on Sunday afternoon.

Mark Noble - Noble could be in for a difficult afternoon in the midfield. Liverpool's is full of energy and there were times when Noble was caught out against Sunderland when their midfield started to motor. The visitors may see that as a potential weakness, so can Noble step up his game this week?

Earlier on in the season

Liverpool 4-1 West Ham United, December 2013

It wasn't the easiest of victories for Liverpool as a struggling West Ham side set themselves up to frustrate Liverpool. The visitors could have opened the scoring when Modibo Maiga's header was well saved by Simon Mignolet. West Ham's resistance lasted until the 42nd minute as Luis Suarez's shot was saved by Jussi Jaaskelainen, only for it to bounce in off Guy Demel. The second came immediately after half time as Mamadou Sakho's miss-hit shot found it's way in from Steven Gerrard's free-kick. The Hammers pulled one back as Martin Skrtel turned Matt Jarvis's header into his own net. Gerrard ended up being substituted after pulling up with a hamstring injury but the Reds finished the game late on with a Suarez header from a Glen Johnson cross. Kevin Nolan was then sent off for a foul on Jordan Henderson before Suarez rounded off the scoring when his shot was deflected in off Joey O'Brien. 

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