It's mixed news for Hammers fans ahead of tonight's visit to Anfield. The defence looks more coherent with Zouma returning to a back four, with Coufal and Emerson on the bench. One wonders with Salah back on form whether this is the very game in which Emerson should start so that he can cover Aaron Cresswell in his efforts to contain the talismanic Egyptian.
The bad news is that Lucas Pacqueta has succumbed to the heavy handling at Southampton and is unavailable for the matchday squad. In comes Flynn Downes for his first taste of the big time - after excellent performances in Europe (albeit against lesser opposition) he comes in to add weight to the Soucek-Rice midfield combo.
How this additional central midfield body will apply tonight remains to be seen. Many fans feel that West ham's poor record against Liverpool (last away win in 2015) reflects the fact that Moyes takes a very cautious approach against top sides and, perhaps, gives them too much respect!
So, our money is on a packed midfield but Moyes may instruct Rice to push up and pressurise Thiago et al, which may be a good ploy.
Up front it's Bowen, Fornals and Scamacca. Antonio and Benrahma are available from the bench. For Scamacca, it will be a real test against Van Dyck who will be brimming with confidence after his good showing against Erling Haaland on Sunday where he reminded us that he is the best physical CB in the league.
That said, Scamacca has the knack of finding opportunities and could surprise the Scousers with his quick thinking.
No Dawson but we are unlikely to get a ton of corners and in reality Kehrer is probably a better CB fit against the current Liverpool front three.
Perhaps the best pressure point for West ham to exploit is down the wings. Trent Alexander-AWOL returns at RB while on the keft Scimecas will have his hands full with Jarrod Bowen.
Similarly, if Scamacca can get himself isolated with Joe Gomez his aerial power could offer opportunity. Whether West ham can control the game enough zonally without Pacqueta remains to be seen.
There's no Jotta or Diaz for Liverpool with Nunez and Carvalho looking to shine. Henderson and Thiago will be an interesting match up with Rice-Soucek-Downes but Liverpool play a fluid system and will try to bypass that central midfield collision that Moyes is seeking.
Liverpool are unbeaten at Anfield this season and on the back of a demolition of Rangers and an impressive win over Man City. But, we are an unpredictable circus at the best of times. You'd take a draw tbh!!!
West Ham Starting XI: Fabianski; Johnson, Zouma, Kehrer, Cresswell; Rice, Soucek, Downes; Fornals; Bowen, Scamacca.
Subs: Areola, Emerson, Coventry, Lanzini, Antonio, Ogbonna, Benrahma, Randolph.
See what happens when you play two up front and alongside benrhama cant moyes see it start that 11 see the differenceReplyDelete
Agree moyes is to negative holding us back now if he dont change it then he should go we should be top 6 we have the potentialDelete
Get benrhama in the team for christ sakeReplyDelete