Sunday, December 09, 2012

Match Preview: West Ham vs Liverpool

West Ham United will be aiming to maintain their impressive return to the Premier League on Sunday against a Liverpool side looking to prove they can cope without Luis Suarez.

Sam Allardyce's side have collected 22 points from their opening 15 games since winning promotion and recorded an excellent 3-1 home victory over Chelsea last weekend.

Only Arsenal have beaten West Ham at Upton Park this season and the hosts will be hoping to repeat the 3-1 victory over Liverpool in the club's last meeting in East London.

Scott Parker and Demba Ba were two of the goalscorers that day, but have since moved on, while Liverpool's last win at West Ham was a 3-2 success back in September 2009 which was secured by the now departed Fernando Torres and Dirk Kuyt.

Carlton Cole, who scored the last time the two clubs met, will be given the chance to lead the line in the absence of Andy Carroll, who is on loan from Liverpool, but would have been ineligible to play irrespective of his current injury.

Liverpool have lost just once in 10 Premier League games, but have still only won once on their travels this term and sit 11th in the table ahead of the weekend's program.

A Suarez hat-trick earned that solitary away triumph at Norwich, but the Uruguayan, who has scored over half of the Reds' league goals, is missing through suspension.

West Ham boss Allardyce will welcome Yossi Benayoun back into his squad to face Liverpool in the Premier League on Sunday.

The former Reds midfielder missed the Hammers' 3-1 win over Chelsea as he was ineligible to appear against his parent club.

Andy Carroll (knee) could be missing for two months but would not have been able to feature against Liverpool due to the terms of his loan, whilst Ricardo Vaz Te (shoulder), Alou Diarra (thigh) and Jack Collison (knee) are all definitely out.

Liverpool striker Suarez is suspended for Sunday's trip to West Ham after accumulating five bookings.

Manager Brendan Rodgers has played midfielder Jonjo Shelvey in a 'false nine' position before and could do so again as a stop-gap with no other senior strikers fit.

Captain Steven Gerrard, left out of the Europa League squad which beat Udinese in Italy because of illness, will be restored at Upton Park as will the rested Daniel Agger and Lucas Leiva.

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