After Liverpool's trip to the Emirates, fans can be more optimistic about what this team can bring in big games. A point and a clean sheet was secured in a pulsating goalless draw in North London. There were many areas of improvement from the home game against AFC Bournemouth, a match where Liverpool struggled immensely in Anfield's first taste of action in 2015/16. Liverpool benefited from another erroneous officiating decision but should not need them against a West Ham United side that has desperately struggled since an impressive opening day victory over Arsenal.
There's nothing worse than entering the international break with frustration and disappointment. Even with seven points from the first three games of the season and a favourable Europa League group draw, Liverpool haven't produced a convincing victory. This would be an appropriate time to win convincingly before heading into a month that serves up a trip to Manchester United as both the opening and main dish. Simply put, further misery must be heaped on West Ham.
Two home defeats to Leicester City and AFC Bournemouth weren't what Hammers fans expected after a victory in North London. The London club currently lie in 11th spot in the Premier League with suspensions to Carl Jenkinson and the annoying Adrián weakening a side that hasn't won in its last six trips to Anfield.
Predicted Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3):
Clyne / Skrtel / Lovren / Gomez
Can/ Lucas / Milner
Firmino / Benteke / Coutinho
With Jordan Henderson (foot injury) and Adam Lallana (quadriceps strain) still doubtful for the weekend, there's no need to push them so early in the season with an international break around the corner. The inclusion of Lucas Leiva improved the smooth functioning of the midfield on Monday, and Brendan Rodgers may persist with the same personnel and tactical arrangement against Arsenal. Liverpool showed enough attacking intent on the counter against Arsène Wenger's side and have an opportunity to build upon a growing understanding on Saturday.
West Ham cannot go into this game thinking that a loss can be offset with a home victory against Newcastle when league action resumes. Losing three on the bounce along with an early Europa League exit could be the start of a plummet down the table early in the season so perhaps Bilić will encourage his side to attack. This approach would play into Liverpool's hands on Monday's evidence. Dimitri Payet will be the main danger for a defence that should remain unchanged after three consecutive clean sheets. Andy Carroll won't return to face his former club as he's dealing with a medial knee ligament injury. Enner Valencia and Mauro Zarate will be unable to profit from any potential good work from Payet owing to injury. Diafra Sakho faces a late fitness test, and his unavailability will further blunt the visiting attack.
Roberto Firmino made his first competitive start for the club this week and should continue to build his sharpness this weekend. The loan exits of Mario Balotelli (confirmed) and Lazar Marković (impending) streamlines the squad further ahead of next week's transfer deadline. The form of Jordon Ibe doesn't merit a league start, which isn't damning but part of a young player's development. Daniel Sturridge is set to return next month, and Joe Allen as well as Jon Flanagan are the other long-term injury concerns. Danny Ings and Divock Origi might receive their first competitive minutes of the season if Liverpool are cruising in the second half but are extremely unlikely to start. Brendan Rodgers, however, might spring a surprise to secure three points.
Kickoff is set for 3:00PM BST/10:00AM EST tomorrow, with coverage from LFCTV GO online for subscribers across the globe and NBC Sports Live Extra in the US. We'll be keeping you updated with all the buildup to the game, including team news as it's released, our live matchday thread and post-match recaps from The Liverpool Offside staff. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on all the action as it happens.
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