Saturday's big match preview

West Ham United v Liverpool Saturday, May 9, 5.30pm Upton Park WEST HAM can count themselves a little unlucky having to face Liverpool at Upton Park on Saturday evening. Usually by this time of the season, the Merseysiders already need snookers to win the

West Ham United v Liverpool

Saturday, May 9, 5.30pm

Upton Park

WEST HAM can count themselves a little unlucky having to face Liverpool at Upton Park on Saturday evening.


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Usually by this time of the season, the Merseysiders already need snookers to win the Premier League title as they are almost always trailing in the wake of Manchester United and Chelsea.

So for Rafa Benitez and his troops to come to east London with an outside chance of taking the title, was something that few of us could have expected!

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Mind you, the Liverpool manager does still have a habit of switching his team about as he tries to protect his fragile players, despite being dumped out of the Champions League at the quarter-final stage.

Will Benitez risk Fernando Torres or Steven Gerrard with so many big games still to come?

We all know how less effective the Anfield boys are without their two talismen.

Gerrard has 21 goals to his name this term with the Spaniard not far behind on 16, and with Dirk Kuyt also grabbing 14 strikes this campaign, they have three players who all have more than West Ham's top scorer Carlton Cole (11).

Liverpool have lost just two league games all season, both on their travels as they went down at Spurs (2-1) and surprisingly Middlesbrough (2-0), but they have also lost to Everton and Spurs once more in the FA Cup and League Cup respectively.

Earlier in the season, West Ham grabbed a deserved draw at Anfield in a 0-0 draw, while last season, Mark Noble's late penalty was enough to give the Ham-mers all three points.

This is likely to be a very different kettle of fish though with Liverpool still pushing for silverware and remember, West Ham had not beaten the Reds at Upton Park before last year, since 1999, when Trevor Sinclair's goal sunk them.

Liverpool have won at Chelsea (1-0), and Manchester United (4-1) this season as well as drawing at Arsenal, so a trip to West Ham will not hold too many worries for them.

However, with the Hammers' star men slowly returning to fitness and the first team, Gianfranco Zola's boys are certainly capable of an upset.

If Cole, Scott Parker and Jack Collison all make the starting line-up, then who knows how close this game will be?

It will be tough, but West Ham are resilient at the moment and may go close.

POSSIBLE TEAM: Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Agger, Aurelio, Gerrard, Mascherano, Kuyt, Benayoun, Riera, Torres.

Prediction:

West Ham 2 Liverpool 2

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