Match Preview: Liverpool v. West Ham, 12.07.13

Tom Dulat

Team news, ways to watch, and a full preview as Liverpool welcome a few old faces back to Anfield as West Ham pay a visit on Saturday afternoon.

So this has been quite the week. Lose at Hull with an underwhelming and disappointing display, leading to widespread panic about the state of the club, its manager, and humanity in general, then win against Norwich at Anfield via one of the great individual performances in recent memory by an unstoppable Luis Suarez. The law of averages would suggest that tomorrow should be a more level-headed affair, but the Liverpool we know doesn't really do level-headed. That's either inspiring or desperately concerning.

The latter sentiment is one familiar to West Ham supporters of late, who've seen their team slide further down the Premier League table to the fringes of the relegation zone, just three points above Fulham and Crystal Palace. They beat the former last weekend at home but fell to the latter on Tuesday at Selhurst Park, leaving them with just one win since their surprisingly dominant 3-0 victory over Spurs in early October.

Sam Allardyce's worries are compounded tomorrow by the absence of Ravel Morrison, who's serving a one-match ban for accumulation of yellow cards, and he'll be without Razvan Rat and former Liverpool striker/man-about-town Andy Carroll through injury. Joe Cole and Stewart Downing will surely feature at some point; Cole has featured mostly as a substitute, with six appearances off the bench and only three starts, while Downing has made the eleven ten times this season, including in the loss against Crystal Palace. Allardyce has remained fairly consistent in his selection, opting for Jussi Jaaskelainen in goal as the constant, with James Collins, James Tomkins, and Winston Reid featuring regularly in defense, Mark Noble, Mohamed Diame, and Downing in the midfield, and Kevin Nolan operating as the pseudo-striker in a formation that often hasn't featured a number nine.

For Liverpool:

Mignolet
Johnson Toure Sakho Flanagan
Lucas Allen
Alberto Coutinho
Aspas Suarez

There shouldn't be any new fitness concerns other than tired legs for those that have featured in each of the last two matches, and after tomorrow Liverpool have eight days until they head to North London to face Spurs. Jose Enrique, Daniel Sturridge, and Sebastian Coates are ruled out through injury.

Mamadou Sakho? Mamadou Sakho. At this point I think we can all just acknowledge that nobody knows what's going on with Liverpool's defense other than Brendan Rodgers, and while we'd all like to see Sakho back in action, it seems more hopeful than anything else. He could and probably should come in at the back, but there isn't too much that seems predictable right now. I think Glen Johnson and Jon Flanagan will keep their spots on either side, and I'll guess that Kolo Toure joins Sakho in central defense because reasons.

If there's a match for Steven Gerrard to be rested it's this one, though there's little indication that Rodgers will be doing so. On the heels of 180 minutes in the past week, the captain can be given some time off, with Lucas fresh and Joe Allen looking as though he's ready to make an impact. A midfield three(ish) of those two plus Luis Alberto--who impressed after coming on against Norwich--would be a mighty fine prospect, even if it means that Jordan Henderson drops out along with Gerrard.

In attack there might be another chance for Victor Moses given that he didn't feature midweek, but I'm at the point that I'd like to see Iago Aspas given some time in attack. Luis Suarez is the constant, likely supported by Philippe Coutinho, but the third name is up in the air. Raheem Sterling has two starts this week and could use a rest, while Moses failed to impress at Hull last week. Aspas could provide a bit more direct support alongside Suarez, though the Uruguayan wasn't necessarily in the mood for support of any kind on Wednesday.

Kickoff is set for 3:00PM GMT/10:00AM EST, with NBC Sports Extra Time/NBC Sports Live Extra airing the match live in the US. There are no current listings in the UK. We'll have the overnight thread up tonight to lead into the matchday post early tomorrow, which will include team sheets an hour before kickoff. Hope you'll be around to join us--if you haven't already, join the community on the Liverpool Offside, where we'll have full coverage and lively in-game discussion for every match this season.

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