The table is getting tighter and tighter like my pants at an all you can eat Chinese buffet. With Chelsea and Man City on the horizon Liverpool look to secure three points that are a gimme on paper. However, this is why you play the game. West Ham, stocked with Liverpool rejects, may have a little extra motivation against their former employer. Specifically, Downing will be a really looking to prove a point as he seemed completely taken off guard by his transfer.
Liverpool on the other hand will be looking to keep a clean sheet for a change. The focus on defense is an absolute must. In fact, West Ham have allowed two fewer goals then Liverpool this season. This trend is surely working to Rodgers and expect a change again as Rodgers looks to find his best defensive pairing given the injury to Enrique.
The real question for this game is if Suarez's boots have cooled yet or if he can continue his scoring after putting four int he net last match. Not having an outright partner hurt against Hull, but with Coutinho back in the line up drawing defenders and making runs, the space was there for Suarez. That said, Suarez pretty much made the two goals from open play himself. With Rodgers publicly cancelling plans for a Sterling loan there is a good chance we'll see him again as well.
West Ham currently sit just above the relegation zone in 17th having lost 3 of their last 4 league games. They have struggled to score goals all season only netting 12 in total all season. Considering two of their games were 3-0 wins you can easily see they have been inconsistent in front of net. Andy Carroll has been injured much of the season (shocker) and is only now returning to training which hasn't helped. Then again, it is Andy Carroll and it is unlikely he would have helped much. It is unlikely he will feature, but Downing likely will feature and Cole just might as well.
This has a bit of a trap game feel with Liverpool coming off a thrashing and big games not too far ahead. This is one of those in the must win column if Liverpool want any hope of staying ahead of the peloton in this crazy race for the Wenger Cup (aka 4th place).
-God I hate Sam Allardyce. West Ham might be doing so poorly because he can't see his team with his head up Fergie's rectum.
-Downing will likely be quite motivated. However, I am sure Glen Johnson can more than deal with him.
-This is Sterling's chance. He needs to take it. While he scored last match, he wasn't overly impressive overall.
-Flanagan may very well lose his starting spot through no fault of his own. However, BR needs to find something that works back there.
-Effectively, Liverpool have struggled to keep a clean sheet since Skrtel replaced an injured Agger. It might be time to put the Agger Toure partnership back together.
-Sure, Big Sam could manage Real Madrid, guys.
-Joe Allen's big chance also may come this match, like Ras'. He didn''t do a helluva lot wrong, but if I'm being honest, I wanna see Luis Alberto. He's come in and done well in cameos, but one might think it's time to push Lui 2.0 into the spotlight.
-I, unlike some, want to see us get one CB pair, and STICK WITH IT. You don't tinker with your defense as much as your other players, and to me, I think we should try Agger/Sakho or Agger/Toure. As said above, Skrtel's looked a bit suspect lately.
-Aspas wants playing time, does he? Throw him to the wolves. Play Suarez just off him and get Glenno down the wing to get a few crosses into him. He's more of a poacher, he's not like Lui and can't create down the wing as much as we like.