The last time these two met was a comedy of errors. First off though, there was no error about Johnson's goal which was tremendous. However, after that the clowns came out of the VW and the Reds were then dealt a blow by a handball in the box by Allen and a Stevie G OG. To their credit they came back with goals from Joe Cole and a James Collins own goal (from some hard work by Shelvey), cancelling out Stevie's. It was pretty much shortly after this game the wheel's fell off of Shelvey's wagon.
The good news and more good news; Andy Carroll has looked pretty good for West Ham as of late, scoring a brace in their last game. The even better news is that Sam Allardyce has publicly commented that he would like to make Carroll's loan move permanent. This should clear up the wage bill and offer some funds to BR for the summer. The even better news is that since he is ours still, he won't be playing against us. Given the way large CFs have been eating the defense alive, this can only be a good thing.
West Ham are currently sitting 11th, but in this year of parity they are still only 6 points from relegation. This means they will certainly still be trying to put distance between themselves and the bottom spots. However, we won't have Joe Cole to bail us out in this match (and West Ham might not either). However, we will likely have to face him and he has scored 2 goals on 6 starts since his move back to West Ham. I am not expecting him to give either of the defenders too many problems, but one only has to look at his performance in his first game back at West Ham in the FA Cup where he picked up two assists to know he can be dangerous on his day. How fit he is after his injury is another question as well. He does have a hamstring knock (there's a shocker), but is about due for a return to the line up.
Things to watch for:
-Will Joe Cole have a bit of extra motivation? Probably. Can he turn that into production? Who knows. I wouldn't expect him to come straight back into the line up after a month long layoff.
-Hopefully BR and Sam Allardyce will discuss Carroll's future after the game and get it sorted. However, I have been seeing lots of twitter rumors about a swap deal for Carroll and Ben Arfa. I don't care either way, as long as he is cleared from the wage bill.
-How motivated are the Reds to fight for Europa? They are still 5 points off 5th right now having played a game more. Do they really think they'll make it? We should find out what kind of motivator BR is in the next few games.
-As Liverpool get set to play another bottom tier team, we are left once again to wonder what Liverpool team will show up. Will it be the same team that laid an egg last week in the first half against Villa or will it be the team that dominated Villa in the second half? They have to start playing to their level for a full 90, not to the level of their opponents.
-Luis Suarez was suspended for the last match between these two. Can he keep going or is he eventually going to run out of steam?