Liverpool are back in Premier League action as they welcome West Ham United to Anfield on Monday night and look to put a disappointing result last time out in Spain behind them.
Liverpool lost against Atlético Madrid during the week in the first leg of the round of 16. A goal from Saúl Ñiguez proved to be the difference between the two sides. They then defended resolutely for the remainder of the game to hold out for a 1-0 win.
West Ham are still without a win since the two sides met just under a month ago, they let a two-goal lead slip and lost away to Manchester City as pressure continues to rise on David Moyes.
Outside of European football, Liverpool continue to dominate domestically, they have won 17 in a row and are competing in the FA Cup. They have been tested in their last two league games against Southampton and Norwich City. Both sides took the game to Liverpool and looked dangerous on the attack.
Southampton looked the side most likely to score in the first half at Anfield before the international break, but rarely tested Alisson in goal, they were made to pay in the second half as Liverpool scored four without reply which saw them go into the winter break 22 points clear.
They then played bottom placed Norwich at a blustery Carrow Road looking to go 25 clear having played an extra game. Alisson showed once again why he is the best in the world as he stopped the ball from reaching Pukki, who would have had an empty net to slot into.
Liverpool kept pushing and were denied by Krul who made a superb double save denying both Mo Salah and Naby Keïta. Sadio Mané was brought on and scored the decisive goal 15 minutes later. The Senegalese brought down Jordan Henderson’s long ball with an excellent first touch before smashing the ball into the bottom corner to give Liverpool their 25th win of the season.
West Ham have not improved since Liverpool 2-0 victory at the London Stadium, David Moyes looked as if he was going to get his second victory in his second stint, but they let a two-goal lead slip to Brighton in a thrilling 3-3 draw. Two goals from Robert Snodgrass gave the Irons a two-goal cushion after an own goal from Angelo Ogbonna cancelled out Issa Diop’s opener.
Two goals in five minutes from Pascal Groß and Glenn Murray snatched away the victory from West Ham, they could have lost it in the dyeing seconds. Solly March’s free kick looked destined for the top corner but Łukasz Fabiański tipped it over to save the home sides blushes.
After Liverpool’s loss to Atlético Madrid, David Moyes tried to use similar formation and tactics against Man City in preparation for the game at Anfield. They did look more defensively sound then they have done in recent weeks but in truth City were not out of first gear.
Rodri headed home from a corner with 30 minutes gone, with West Ham struggling to get close to Man City’s box. Kevin de Bruyne doubled City’s lead early in the second half and closed out the game which saw them close the gap on Liverpool to 22 points.
Jordan Henderson and Xherdan Shaqiri are both unavailable for the foreseeable future with injuries, Henderson picked up a hamstring injury in Spain and will miss around three weeks.
Much of the team will pick itself with the back four and usual front three starting. Fabinho and Gini Wijnaldum will likely keep their places in midfield and, with our captain out, Naby Keïta and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain now have the chance to make a name of themselves for the closing months of the season.
Keïta will probably get the nod here due to impressive outings with his dribbling and passing more suitable to unlocking defensive sides.
David Moyes is still without two of his more important attacking players. Andriy Yarmolenko and Felipe Anderson are still doubtful due to being unfit — the Brazilian has returned to training but has not played in a competitive game, which will probably mean West Ham’s winless run will continue at Anfield.
The same side which started at The London Stadium against Manchester City will likely start as Moyes has limited options to choose from without weakening his side.
Haller started as a lone striker and had to feed off scraps, at Anfield he will see little of the ball as West Ham will settle for a point. A midfield four and a back five will look to make attacking difficult for Liverpool, though the Reds have had little trouble when dealing with defensive sides at Anfield as they boast a 100pc home record.
Liverpool should regain their 22-point lead at the top of the table, the Reds only need to be victorious in five more league games.
They play three more before they return to Champions League action so, based on current form, by the time Atlético visit Anfield, Liverpool should only need two wins to seal the title. That’s if City gain maximum points, too.
The game will most likely be similar to the one in the reverse fixture. Liverpool will dominate, and West Ham will look to limit time on the ball in and around the box. The Irons’ defence has been suspect to defensive errors, especially from set-pieces, so Virgil van Dijk should fancy his chances.
Predicted final score: Liverpool 3-0 West Ham