Venue: Upton Park
LIVERPOOL FC travel to West Ham on Sunday without a recognised striker as Luis Suarez serves his one match suspension for accumulating five yellow cards.
The Reds may also be without Nuri Sahin, who broke his nose during Thursday’s 1-0 over Udinese, but Steven Gerrard, Daniel Agger and Lucas Leiva will all return to the starting XI after missing the game in midweek. Jonjo Shelvey is likely to start up front for Liverpool as they look to get a result against West Ham at a ground where the Hammers have lost just once this season.
Although a midfielder by trade, Shelvey played up front for the Reds during their 2-2 draw with Young Boys and scored the team’s opening goal. The 20-year-old has scored four goals for the Reds this season, all of them in Europe. Though he has yet to score in the league, Shelvey has had 17 shots on goal, 64.7% of which have been on target.
Liverpool’s other striking options are Dani Pacheco, Samed Yesil, Adam Morgan and Jerome Sinclair, none of whom have started a Premier League game this season.
West Ham will be without on-loan Liverpool striker Andy Carroll, who is both injured and ineligible. Ricardo Vaz Te, Jack Collison and Alou Diarra are also sidelined, while George McCartney and Yossi Benayoun could return from ankle and knee injuries respectively.
After coming from behind to beat Chelsea 3-1 last weekend, the Hammers are on 22 points – three more than Liverpool. The Reds have lost just one of their last ten league fixtures but their away record is poor and they have only won once on their travels.
If Liverpool take all three points at Upton Park, it will be the first time this season they have recorded back-to-back wins in the league.
Of the three sides promoted from the Championship last season, West Ham have been the most impressive team by far and their 3-1 victory over European champions Chelsea was undoubtedly their best performance of the season. The Hammers will be confident and with good reason, while the suspension of top scorer Suarez will be a big loss for Liverpool.
However the Reds have won 19 of the last 32 league meetings between the two clubs and after winning two games in six days, Brendan Rodgers’ side will be cautiously optimistic about their prospects of securing another victory.
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