Preview: West Ham United vs. Liverpool

Preview: West Ham United vs. Liverpool

Two sides scoring goals for fun meet at the London Stadium for an intriguing Premier League contest on Wednesday night, as West Ham United play host to Liverpool.

David Moyes’s team ran riot in a 4-0 win over Bournemouth at the weekend, while their Merseyside counterparts scraped by Nottingham Forest in a five-goal Anfield thriller.

Given the seven-goal spectacular that unfolded in Newcastle United’s drubbing of Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, West Ham’s demolition job of Bournemouth went under the radar somewhat, but it did not make the three points any less vital for the goal-happy Hammers.

A pair of headers from Michail Antonio and Lucas Paqueta before a fine Declan Rice finish put the game to bed before the break, and channelling his inner Olivier Giroud and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Pablo Fornals saved the best for last with a sumptuous scorpion kick at the Vitality Stadium.

Having also thrashed Gent 5-2 on aggregate to reach the Europa Conference League semi-finals – where they will take on Eredivisie powerhouses AZ Alkmaar – things are starting to look up for the Hammers, who are looking up the table themselves as they occupy 13th place in the rankings before Tuesday’s games kick off.

While having a game in hand on most of their relegation rivals, West Ham are only six points clear of the drop zone and are not home and dry just yet, but Moyes’s side have certainly kicked into gear at a crucial time, going unbeaten in their last five games in all tournaments and losing just one of their last 10.

From being humbled 5-1 by Newcastle to storming back in a 2-2 draw with league leaders Arsenal at home, West Ham have scored in all of their top-flight games at the London Stadium in 2023, but only Fulham have been beaten in the hosts’ last 20 games against top-half sides.

Twice Liverpool went ahead against Forest through Diogo Jota – who made it back-to-back braces in the top flight – and twice they were pegged back, as Neco Williams returned to haunt his old club before Morgan Gibbs-White’s terrific acrobatic volley into the bottom corner.

However, set-piece defending was neither side’s forte on the day, and Liverpool restored their slender lead through Mohamed Salah’s landmark 183rd goal for the club – taking him level with Robbie Fowler in sixth place in the Reds’ all-time charts – from a free kick, and Forest could not respond a third time.

Jurgen Klopp’s rearguard worries are very much still alive, but with the Reds’ attack firing on all cylinders, Liverpool have surged back into European contention in seventh place in the table, albeit nine points behind Manchester United – who have a game in hand – in the final Champions League position.

Brighton & Hove Albion, who have played two fewer matches, are also breathing down Liverpool’s necks, but Klopp has every reason to shout about his side scoring 11 goals in their last three Premier League matches, although a record of two wins from their last nine top-flight contests on the road makes for grim reading.

Furthermore, Liverpool have only prevailed against Tottenham Hotspur in all of their away trips to capital clubs this term, and their visit to the London Stadium last season ended in a 3-2 defeat, but they have since recorded a pair of 1-0 wins over West Ham in front of the ardent Anfield faithful.

West Ham United Premier League form:

West Ham United form (all competitions):

Liverpool Premier League form:

Liverpool form (all competitions):

We say: West Ham United 2-2 Liverpool
With so much still on the line for two sides who have had few problems finding the back of the net in recent matches, an open and end-to-end encounter should ensue at the London Stadium, especially with Liverpool still prone to a defensive lapse or two.

As was the case in this fixture last season, clean sheets are unlikely to be on the menu, and we can picture West Ham holding out for a high-scoring draw as Liverpool’s inconsistency on the road continues.

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