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

West Ham have made an indifferent start to the season but have been poor in front of their own supporters, whilst Liverpool are trying to find some early season consistency.

To be played on Saturday 20th September 2014 at 17:30. Venue: Boleyn Ground, London.

Odds: West Ham United 4/1, Draw 37/13, Liverpool 5/6

Last season: 1-2

Preview & injury news

Both sides could do with the win for different reasons. The Hammers have lost both of their home games in the Premier League so far this season and manager Sam Allardyce is demanding an improvement. So far they have taken four points from their opening fixtures - whilst visitors Liverpool know they can ill-afford another slip-up at this early stage of the season if they realistically want to challenge for the Premier League title.

West Ham were involved in an exciting encounter against Hull City last time out at the KC Stadium and managed to come away with a 2-2 draw. Liverpool suffered defeat at the hands of Aston Villa at Anfield in the Premier League to make their start two wins and two defeats in the league - and they were unconvincing in their 2-1 win over Ludogorets at Anfield in midweek on their return to the Champions League. 

On the injury front, Liverpool are still without a number of players. Daniel Sturridge has returned to light training but won't be fit for the trip to Upton Park whilst Joe Allen and Emre Can are still a few weeks away from fitness after injuries they picked up on the international break. Glen Johnson will start training next week but Martin Skrtel is fit enough to return to the squad.

The home side are still without former Liverpool striker Andy Carroll and Kevin Nolan is still sidelined with a shoulder injury. There are also doubts over the fitness of Matt Jarvis with a thigh problem whilst Joey O'Brien has a knee injury.

Key stats

  Possession PercentageTotal Scoring AttError Lead To ShotTotal Pass / playedWon Tackle / playedPlayed
Liverpool 54.00 58 1 555.00 14.50 4
West Ham United 48.50 56 0 420.75 15.25 4

The statistics seem to suggest that it's going to be a hard fought encounter at Upton Park. Both sides have carried an attacking threat so far this season but Liverpool may just shade possession if the numbers are anything to go by. If the visitors are going to prevail, they're going to have to find their steel given that they've won more challenges.

5 players to watch

Stewart Downing - Downing was at the centre of a lot of West Ham's good work in the draw against Hull City and against his old club he will have a point to prove. It will be interesting to see how Sam Allardyce uses him, whether it'll be out wide or in a more central position.

Dejan Lovren - For Liverpool to win at Upton Park, their defence is going to be put through a rigorous examination, and it will be a test of just how much of an impact the Croatian who has been brought in to lead the defence has made so far. A solid performance is required.

Enner Valencia - Valencia has scored the early season front runner for goal of the season which proves he is a threat all over the pitch. A very talented player and after his eye-catching performance on Monday night, he could be a marked man.

Mario Balotelli - Balotelli got off the mark for the Reds in their Champions League win over Ludogorets and he will be hoping to follow it up with another goal this weekend. He has been leading the line in the absence of Daniel Sturridge, and the Reds will want the Italian to display some cutting edge.

Mark Noble - If West Ham are going to win the key battle in the middle of the park, they will need a strong performance from Noble. If he can dictate the play and get the upper hand in the middle of the park, it'll set a good platform for the home side.

Last time they met

West Ham United 1-2 Liverpool, Premier League, April 2014

A game with plenty of controversy, and one Liverpool prevailed in. The Reds broke the deadlock just before half time after Luis Suarez latched on to a long, diagonal pass from Steven Gerrard, but James Tomkins handled in the area, offering Gerrard the opportunity to put the Reds ahead. Their lead didn't last long as West Ham equalised in controversial circumstances when Andy Carroll appeared to punch Simon Mignolet, resulting in the ball slipping from his grasp, and Guy Demel knocked the ball into the net. The assistant referee appeared to have flagged for a foul but the referee gave the goal after consulting him. The second half was a tight affair which involved Andy Carroll hitting the bar for the home side, and then Jon Flanagan latching onto a Lucas Leiva through ball, only to be brought down by Adrian in the West Ham goal. The goalkeeper appeared to get the ball, but Liverpool were given a second penalty, which Gerrard ended up converting.

Register for LIVERPOOL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch