Satuday's big match preview

West Ham United v Liverpool Saturday, September 19, 5.30pm Upton Park LIVERPOOL come to Upton Park on Saturday and with the current form of the two teams on such opposite poles, perhaps the only thing that can stop them is the engineering works on the tub

West Ham United v Liverpool

Saturday, September 19, 5.30pm

Upton Park

LIVERPOOL come to Upton Park on Saturday and with the current form of the two teams on such opposite poles, perhaps the only thing that can stop them is the engineering works on the tube.


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Mind you, the Merseysiders have lost as many games in the Premier League this season as they did in the whole of the last campaign.

They crashed 2-1 at Spurs on the opening weekend and then in an even bigger shock, were well beaten 3-1 at home by Aston Villa.

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Since then however, they have certainly picked up. A slightly fortunate 3-2 victory at Bolton was followed by an emphatic 4-0 drubbing of Burnley and they now seem to have hit their stride.

Rafa Benitez was certainly not too busy in the transfer market during the summer with his main signings being the �18million he shelled out for former Hammer Glenn Johnson, and the �20m he paid for Alberto Aquilani, who arrived at his new club injured and has yet to make his debut.

At the same time, he lost Jermaine Pennant, Sami Hyypia, Alvaro Arbeloa and perhaps most importantly Xabi Alonso, and he will find it difficult to find adequate cover for the midfielder.

His absence has given Yossi Benayoun more of a chance to show what he can do, and a hat-trick against Burnley on Saturday emphasised that, while of course there is Javier Mascherano and the brilliant Steven Gerrard to keep him company.

Fernando Torres has not been so prolific this season after netting 14 league goals last term, but both he and Dirk Kuyt will be a handful for the Hammers defence.

One thing that may weigh in West Ham's favour is that Liverpool begin their Champions League campaign this week.

They faced Hungarian side Debrecen today (Wednesday) and boss Gianfranco Zola must be hoping for a tough game and a few tired bodies at Upton Park come Saturday.

Two seasons ago, a last minute penalty from Mark Noble gave the Hammers the points against Liverpool, but that was the only victory they have managed against them since 1999, when a Trevor Sinclair goal was enough to take the points.

Last season the game was all over bar the shouting before half time, thanks to two Gerrard strikes, and Liverpool's eventual 3-0 win was no more than they deserved.

West Ham will need to be at their best to take the points, and looking at their last couple of matches, that just doesn't seem very likely.

The Hammers must be positive in taking on Liverpool, but current tactics suggest otherwise. If West Ham are happy with a draw in this one, as they seemed to be at Wigan, they will probably end up with none.

POSSIble team: Reina, Carragher, Skrtel, Insua, Johnson, Benayoun, Gerrard, Mascherano, Riera, Torres, Kuyt.

Prediction:

West Ham 0 Liverpool 2

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