Match Preview: Liverpool vs. West Ham United

It’s the day that we all have been waiting for. 90 days to be exact. The Premier League returns on Sunday as West Ham United travel to Anfield to take on the Reds. The Anfield Talk’s Logan (@kidd9logan) previews the match up.

Who: West Ham United v. Liverpool

When: Sunday, 12th August

Time: 13:30 GMT, 8:30 EST

Where: Anfield, Liverpool

TV: Sky Sports(UK), NBCSN(USA)

Liverpool

A very busy transfer market for the Reds has seen the team improved in numerous areas on the pitch. The additions of Alisson Becker, Fabinho, Naby Keita, and Xherdan Shaqiri have propelled the Reds to being the favourites to challenge Manchester City for the title. As for the league opener, questions are flying as who will partner van Dijk at the back, who will start at right-back, and who will be starting in the midfield. No matter who gets the nod from Jürgen Klopp, the Reds will be putting on a strong performance having something to prove this season.

Team News
James Milner and Joel Matip are doubts for the match up as they both sustained injuries during the preseason. Milner should be back within the next week after the 15 stitches in his forehead fully heal. Matip is an actual praying mantis. The lanky lad, has yet another injury to his leg and the length of his injury is still up in the air.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a definite to not appear on the team sheet as he will be on the road to recovery all season.

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Dejan Lovren and Jordan Henderson are questionable as they just returned from their World Cup breaks. Lovren is not expected to appear as he did not see the pitch in the last preseason match against Torino. Henderson could be available as a substitute as he came on against Torino for the last 20-or-so minutes.

Reports on Thursday claim that Fabinho is unlikely to feature in the season opener Sunday as he was seen leaving Melwood with a team doctor. It is being reported that he is battling an illness and a muscle issue.

West Ham
After a team rebuild this summer, the Hammers are back and ready to prove their place in the Premier League. The mere escape from regulation lit a fire within the management to prove to the fans that they do actually mean business.

The appointment of former Manchester City manager, Manuel Pellegrini, started the crucial rebuild.
The Hammers destroyed their previous record transfer fee with the a deal of about £41 million for Lazio winger Felipe Anderson. Other key pieces in Issa Diop, Lukasz Fabianski, Lucas Perez, Carlos Sanchez, Jack Wilshere, and Andriy Yarmolenko were brought in to boost the current squad.
The Hammers will be on a redemption tour this season trying to propel themselves back into Europe, so it will be a tough test for any team that gets in Pellegrini’s way.

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Team News
Pellegrini has a quite tough decision to make this weekend as to which newcomers he wants to field.

Anderson and Yarmolenko are likely to join Arnautovic up top to bolster their attack, but Wilshere may not be featured in the starting XI.

Perez and Sanchez are questionable to be featured after being brought in on transfer deadline day, but it could be possible they come on as a substitute.

Diop will almost certainly be featured on the team sheet, to bolster their struggling defence, unless a training injury occurs.

Fabianski will be taking over the number one position in-goal from Adrían, further bolstering the defence.

History

The last time that these two teams met was back at Anfield on February 24. Liverpool simply overpowered the Hammers en route to a 4-1 scoreline. Much of the same happened when the Reds traveled to East London for their first visit to the Olympic Stadium. Another 4-1 scoreline saw the Hammers dominated once again. Much of the same could continue this weekend if Liverpool can maintain the high tempo and not get caught on the countre.

Prediction:

It’s going to be a tough first match of the Premier League campaign for Liverpool, but the Reds will come out on top 3-0.

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