Contrary to what Twitter would lead you to believe, Liverpool haven’t actually fallen out of the race for a top four spot. They are, in fact, still in third place, with fourth place guaranteed if they manage to win their last two matches of the season. That’s a big if — but it’s two games until the end and Champions League football is still, tenuously, theirs to win.
The first of those big matches will be West Ham away tomorrow afternoon. Liverpool, and Klopp particularly, have not had a good run against the Hammers recently. They’ve failed to win their last five games against them, and Slaven Bilic has constantly gotten the better of the Reds. Narrative says that Liverpool will fail once again, but I’m about ready for that string of bad luck to end, if you don’t mind.
On the other hand, working against narrative on Sunday will be the fact that Andy Carroll will not feature, thus depriving the world of watching another former Liverpool striker sticking it to his old team.
Headed to the London Stadium with the Reds will be Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge, both likely to start this match. Sturridge’s late cameo in the game against Southampton was the only flicker of brightness in an otherwise thoroughly dull game. Unfortunately, when Liverpool giveth, they also taketh away, Lallana’s returned health may come at the expense of Roberto Firmino and Lucas Leiva, who are both suffering from muscle strains.
West Ham haven’t had the best season, but they’ve secured another year in the Premier League and scored a huge win against Tottenham last week. A big finish this season will see them possibly leapfrog from 12th place to somewhere in the top half of the table, so they’ll be ready for a fight. If they do, it’ll have to be without their captain Mark Noble (hernia), as well as Cheikhou Kouyate (wrist), Andy Carroll (groin), Michail Antonio (hamstring), Pedro Obiang (ankle), Diafra Sakho (back), Angelo Ogbonna (knee) and Arthur Masuaku (foot).
The Reds haven’t had great success in these kinds of high pressure situations lately, but maybe this will be the day that they get their acts together. I want to start shouting motivational phrases at my television, like a deranged life coach.
Me [in my pajamas, eating cereal and chugging coffee]:
Hey Phil! Our greatest weakness lies in giving up! The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time!
Dejan! The past cannot be changed — the future is yet in your power!
Mignolet; Clyne, Matip, Lovren, Milner; Can, Lucas, Wijnaldum; Lallana, Sturridge, Coutinho
Firmino’s in if he’s available, Grujic in if Lucas is not. Origi’s drop in form has probably gotten him dropped to the bench for this one.
Jordan Henderson, Sadio Mané, and Danny Ings are all out for the season.
Kickoff is set for 2:15 PM BST/9:15 AM EST Sunday on Sky Sports 1 in the UK and NBC Sports Network in the United States. Online radio coverage is provided by BBC Radio. Elsewhere, Optus Sport in Australia, Sportsnet World in Canada, Star Sports Select HD1 in India, Supersport3 Africa in Kenya, and Astro Supersport 3 in Malaysia are carrying the match. You can find full listings at LivesoccerTV.
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.