All the team news and background for Wednesday night's league trip away to
Barclays Premier League
Wednesday 5 March
Referee: Steve Bennett (Kent)
WHUTV - Pre-match press conference, plus live commentary to come
WESTHAM.WAP.COM - All the news, on the move
* West Ham United travel to Liverpool looking to complete what would be a
famous double, having beaten the Reds with a 1-0 home win on 30 January.
That success was secured by a last-gasp Mark Noble penalty but Anfield has
not been a happy hunting ground for the Hammers. The last time West Ham
United took all three points was back on 14 September 1963 - incidentally
that season the club did the double with a 1-0 win at the Boleyn Ground as
* West Ham United are tenth and will remain in that position, regardless of
what happens although a victory would move them to within seven points of
fifth-placed Liverpool. The Reds can go fourth with a win, as they have a
superior goal difference to Everton who currently occupy the last of the
Champions League qualifying spots.
* Liverpool have won the last six meetings between the clubs at Anfield.
This match was originally scheduled to be played in the first midweek
fixtures of the season, week commencing Monday 13 August, but was postponed
because of Liverpool's Champions League commitments. This fixture date
became possible when the Reds' second-leg match of their last-16 tie away to
Inter Milan was pushed back to 11 March as AC Milan are at home on
* Alan Curbishley has won at Anfield, guiding Charlton Athletic to a 1-0
victory there on 12 April 2004, while his last trip came with Charlton on 4
March 2006 when he picked up a goalless draw. Liverpool have only lost once
at home this season, to the champions Manchester United on 16 December.
* Since the Manchester United home win on 29 December, West Ham United are
on a run, in all competitions, of win, loss draw, win loss, draw, win, loss,
draw, win and loss - with that sequence alone pointing to a draw on
Wednesday night. Liverpool after defeating Middlesbrough (3-2) and Bolton
Wanderers (3-1) can make it a third straight league win.
* Speaking to whufc.com, West Ham United midfielder Mark Noble said: "We
have got to stick together now and get our heads up for Wednesday. We have
just got to go there and do everything we can to put this behind us and get
a result. If we can do that we will go into the Tottenham game [on Sunday]
confident and then push on to the end of the season."
* Steven Gerrard knows Liverpool have to battle hard to secure a Champions
League spot this season. "We're confident that if we play to our
capabilities between now and the end of the season we'll take that fourth
spot," he told Liverpool's official website. "Confidence is high at the
moment but if we don't now go and beat West Ham, the Bolton result becomes
* The clubs contested the 2006 FA Cup final at the Millennium Stadium in
Cardiff when the sides drew 3-3 before a 3-1 win on penalties.
West Ham United 0-4 Chelsea (1 March): Green, Neill, Ferdinand, Upson,
McCartney, Faubert (Solano 66), Mullins, Noble, Ljungberg, Boa Morte (Ashton
46), Cole (Zamora 65).
Subs not used: Wright, Spector
Goals: Lampard 17, J Cole 20, Ballack 22, A Cole 64
Bolton Wanderers v Liverpool (1 March): Reina, Carragher, Hyypia, Skrtel,
Aurelio, Gerrard, Alonso, Mascherano, Babel, Kuyt (Arbeloa 86), Torres
Subs not used: Martin, Benayoun, Crouch.
Goals: Jaaskelainen 12 og, Babel 60, Aurelio 75.
* In addition to the matchday 16 that faced Fulham, Alan Curbishley has John
Pantsil and Kyel Reid in contention for selection, along with some in-form
youngsters from the reserves - namely Jack Collison and Freddie Sears who
will both travel. The 18-year-old homegrown Hammers fan Sears scored his
25th goal in 24 matches at U18 and reserve-team level at the weekend while
reserve-team captain Collison, 19, is a Welsh Under-21 midfielder.
* Fit-again after a long-term knee injury that has kept him out since 28
August, Bobby Zamora got the last 25 minutes against Chelsea. He had
previously played in three official reserve-team matches, scoring three
* Julien Faubert has now made two consecutive starts but been replaced with
just over an hour played in each of them. He picked up a knock on Saturday
and is doubtful for Wednesday night. Meanwhile, his replacement Nolberto
Solano is challenging hard for a return to the first eleven. Dean Ashton got
45 minutes off the bench against Chelsea and is also bidding for a starting
berth. Jonathan Spector is also hoping to be involved in the matchday 16
* Lee Bowyer and Matthew Etherington (both groin) are still out and have not
* Scott Parker has been back in training for two weeks, after his recovery
from a knee injury unrelated to the condition he had previously in the
season. He is not expected to be back in time for the Tottenham fixture on
Sunday. Kieron Dyer also continues to make progress from his double
leg-break. James Collins (cruciate knee ligaments) and Calum Davenport
(neck) will not return this season.
* Craig Bellamy has had an abdominal strengthening operation and has been
ruled out until April at the earliest. Danny Gabbidon (groin) is also some
way off a first-team return as is Nigel Quashie (foot).
* As with Chelsea at the weekend, Liverpool are at near full-strength with
defenders Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel and midfielders Xabi Alonso and
Harry Kewell all in contention after injury. Only Andriy Voronin is
definitely out with his long-term knee problem. Agger has not played since a
metatarsal injury suffered back in September.
* After 27 games last season, West Ham United had half the points (20) they
have achieved from the same number of matches this campaign (40).
* Prior to the Chelsea defeat, the club had been unbeaten in the last six
matches at the Boleyn Ground.
* Alan Curbishley's side are in good overall league form, with eight wins
and six draws from the last 19 fixtures.
* Victory could take the tenth-placed Hammers up to striking distance of
seventh place. Tottenham Hotspur, in eleventh, are eight points behind West
Ham United with the two teams to meet at White Hart Lane this Sunday.
* West Ham United and Liverpool last met on 30 January 2007 when Mark
Noble's penalty deep into added time, after Jamie Carragher fouled Freddie
Ljungberg, was all the separated the sides in a 1-0 home victory at the
The lineups were:
West Ham United: Green, Neill, Ferdinand, Upson, McCartney, Bowyer (Ashton
58), Mullins, Noble, Ljungberg, Boa Morte (Etherington 59), Cole (Spector
Subs not used: Wright, Solano
Liverpool: Reina, Finnan, Carragher, Hyypia, Aurelio, Benayoun (Babel 72),
Gerrard, Alonso, Kewell (Lucas 61, Torres, Kuyt.
Subs not used: Itandje, Skrtel, Crouch
* Last season's meeting at Anfield came just three games into the campaign
with Zamora's 12th-minute goal being cancelled out by Agger (42) and Peter
Crouch (45). Craig Bellamy played the whole game for Liverpool while Yossi
Benayoun figured for West Ham United.
* The Hammers have still not lost in all 14 league games this season when
they have taken the lead.
* Like Manchester United, West Ham United have conceded only ten goals away
from home in the league this season, a mark bettered only by Liverpool and
Chelsea (both nine).
* Robert Green has kept eight clean sheets in 26 league games.
* Jon Spector turned 22 with the visit of Chelsea. Mark Noble made his 50th
appearance for West Ham United in the same game.
* George McCartney is bidding to make his 34th appearance this season in all
competitions. He has not missed a match since the 4-3 home defeat by
Tottenham Hotspur on 4 March 2007 - 42 games ago.
* McCartney is the only West Ham United player who has featured in every
league and cup game to date, starting in each one.
* In terms of the Premier League, only Green and Matthew Upson have played
every minute of the 27 matches.
* West Ham United have not received a caution in four out of the last five
league matches, while Bowyer's red card against Birmingham City on 9
February was rescinded on appeal.
* McCartney, Lucas Neill, Mark Noble and Luis Boa Morte are all no longer on
the threat of a one-match ban after four cautions each this season. The
'one-match ban for five cautions' rule was for all yellow cards up to the
end of February. However, a player receiving ten cautions before the end of
the second Sunday in April will be suspended for two matches, starting seven
days after the tenth offence.
* No other top-flight club still has two league ever-presents while Upson,
along with Stephen Kelly of Birmingham, is one of only two outfield players
in the whole division to have achieved that feat.
* Only Pepe Reina has played every minute of the top-flight campaign so far
for Liverpool and no other player has featured in each one of their games.
* Ashton, with six goals, five in the league, is the club's leading scorer.
Fernando Torres is the first Liverpool striker for five seasons to break the
20-goal barrier and now has 21, with 15 of those coming in the top flight.
* Javier Mascherano, who was suspended for the 30 January meeting, and Yossi
Benayoun could potentially be facing their former club. Mascherano made five
league and cup starts, and two substitute appearances between August 2006
and January 2007 at the Boleyn Ground. Benayoun was in east London for two
years until last summer. He played 72 times in all competitions and found
the net on eight occasions.
* The injured Bellamy spent the 2006/07 campaign at Anfield, making 42
league and cup appearances, scoring nine times.
* West Ham United will next be in action on Sunday when they go to
Tottenham, the day after Liverpool welcome Newcastle United to Anfield.
Head to head (last six meetings, league unless stated)
30 January 2008 - West Ham United 1-0 Livepool
30 January 2007 - West Ham United 1-2 Liverpool
26 August 2006 - Liverpool 2-1 West Ham United
13 May 2005 - Liverpool 3-3 West Ham United, 3-1 on pens (FA Cup final)
26 April 2006 - West Ham United 1-2 Liverpool
29 October 2005 - Liverpool 2-0 West Ham United
Overall record v Liverpool (all competitions): W 23, D 33, L 59
Tickets: Please note this match is SOLD OUT. For ticket information, click
here. For details of getting to the Anfield, click here
Weather: The forecast is for an overcast evening with the temperature is set
to peak at around 8C.
Boa ready to battle on - WHUFC
Luis Boa Morte is banking on West Ham United getting back on track with a
positive display at Liverpool
Luis Boa Morte wants to get back in action as quickly as possible and help
West Ham United to a positive result away at Liverpool on Wednesday.
While the Hammers have lost on each of their last six trips to Anfield and
have not even gained an away point since 20 February 1999, Boa Morte has
experience of coming back from the famous old stadium with positive results.
On both 12 December 2001 and 17 April 2004, he played his part as his former
club Fulham earned away draws. The 30-year-old is well aware though that it
will be a tough ask on Wednesday night, but stressed the team were
determined to make amends for the 4-0 defeat by Chelsea.
"We must regroup in the best way and the best manner and that's what we'll
do because we have an important game on Wednesday," he said. "We must go
there and fight for our pride and for ourselves to get a result up there."
Boa Morte would be the first to admit he has not enjoyed the best of luck in
front of goal of late but there is no faulting his effort - as shown in the
previous week's 1-0 win at Fulham where he led the individual player
statistics in terms of covering 1.7km at high intensity and making 67
"Of course we're disappointed [about the Chelsea result] because we conceded
three early goals and that killed the game. It was difficult to turn things
round. We tried but it was really hard and difficult. The problem shouldn't
have been the [Frank Lampard] penalty because we should have been able to
fight back and pull one back to get level again but we conceded two quick
goals again. It was hard.
"We knew what to expect and we didn't match them the way we should and
that's why the game ended up like that," he added. Boa Morte made way at
half-time on Saturday for Dean Ashton and with Bobby Zamora also fit again,
the versatile forward may find himself competing again for his more familiar
left-sided berth. Wherever he figures, Boa Morte will give his all to please
the travelling support. "When we play away we have lots of supporters coming
along in very good numbers," he added. "That is something we enjoy. We are
Liverpool v West Ham - BBC
Wednesday, 5 March
Kick-off: 2000 GMT
Coverage on the BBC Sport website and BBC Radio Five Live
Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez could shuffle his pack for the visit of West
Ham, but defender Steve Finnan will miss out with a groin problem. Alvaro
Arbeloa may play in place of Martin Skrtel, but Peter Crouch and Yossi
Benayoun are eyeing starts.
West Ham could be without midfielder Julien Faubert for Wednesday's match
against Liverpool. Faubert took a knock in a challenge with Claude Makelele
during the Hammers' 4-0 home defeat by Chelsea.
Liverpool (from): Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Hyypia, Aurelio, Riise,
Benayoun, Gerrard, Mascherano, Alonso, Babel, Kuyt, Torres, Crouch, Skrtel,
West Ham (from): Green, Wright, Pantsil, Neill, Spector, Upson, Ferdinand,
McCartney, Faubert, Ljungberg, Noble, Mullins, Solano, Boa Morte, Cole,
Ashton, Camara, Sears.
Liverpool search for the three points from their game in hand to replace
Merseyside rivals Everton in the top four of the Premier League.
West Ham look to bounce back from their heaviest defeat of the season - the
0-4 home loss to Chelsea on Saturday. They will remain motionless in 10th
spot, whatever the result.
The Reds have not lost a league game, since their 1-0 reverse to West Ham at
Upton Park on 30 January. They have also lost only one home league game in a
Liverpool are defending an unbeaten home record against West Ham in the
Premier League, and are vying for a seventh successive victory over the
Hammers at Anfield.
Highest achievable: 4th
Lowest could fall: 5th
All statistics and sequences refer to the Premier League only, unless
1. Won the last three in all competitions.
2. Unbeaten in four; won three and drew one since the defeat at West Ham -
their only loss in 11.
3. Lost three times; only Arsenal have been beaten less frequently (just
4. Drawn 11 - more than any other club.
5. Conceded 20 goals; only Manchester United (15) and Chelsea (17) have
shipped fewer. Also, allowed the opposition to score first in six games;
only Manchester United can better that (five times).
6. Shown 36 cards (all yellow); only Everton have a better disciplinary
record with 32 cards (29 yellow, three red).
7. Registered five goalless draws. Only Portsmouth have also been involved
in as many as that.
8. One goal short of conceding 600 all-time in this league.
9. Not lost in five home games. Manchester United is the only club to have
left Anfield with three points this season. Indeed, the 0-1 defeat to the
Red Devils on 16 December is their only reverse in 18 home matches over a
10. Home again on Saturday, to Newcastle, before the Champions League return
against Inter Milan in Italy (Liverpool lead 2-0). Then it's home to
Reading, away to Manchester United, home to Everton in the Merseyside derby
and away to Arsenal at the beginning of April.
WEST HAM UNITED
Highest achievable: 10th
Lowest could fall: 10th
All statistics and sequences refer to the Premier League only, unless
1. Won one of four.
2. The current tally of 40 points is twice as many as were accumulated after
27 games last season.
3. Not suffered back-to-back defeats in 19 since losing to Arsenal (h) and
Aston Villa (a) on 29 September and 6 October respectively.
4. Their 27 games have produced fewer goals than any other club; 58 (31 for,
27 against) at 2.15 per game.
5. Not lost any matches in which they took the lead, but drawn five.
6. The 0-1 victory at Fulham in their last game on the road was their first
away victory since Christmas.
7. Chasing a seventh away maximum of the campaign.
8. The third strongest away defence with 10 goals conceded; only Liverpool
and Chelsea have leaked fewer on their travels (nine each).
9. Away to Tottenham after this, then home to Blackburn, before a visit to
Everton and a long trip to Sunderland at the end of March.
KEY PLAYER NOTES
Fernando TORRES is Liverpool's top scorer with 21 goals, and their leading
marksman in the Premier League with 15. Only Cristiano RONALDO (Manchester
United) and Emmanuel ADEBAYOR (Arsenal) have scored more in the highest
league; 21 and 19 respectively.
Goalkeeper Jose REINA is the only remaining player to have been on the field
for every minute of every one of Liverpool's Premier League matches this
REINA is one of four jointly leading the race for the Barclays Golden Glove.
Tim HOWARD (Everton), David JAMES (Portsmouth), Petr CECH (Chelsea) and
REINA have all kept 12 clean sheets.
WEST HAM UNITED
Dean ASHTON is West Ham's top scorer with six goals.
ASHTON is also the Hammers' top Premier League marksmen with five.
The club's Premier League goalscorers list is predominately comprised of
English players (eight of 12).
Matthew UPSON and Robert GREEN are the only remaining players to have been
on the field for every minute of every one of West Ham's Premier League
matches this season. The Hammers are the only club to have as many as two
genuine ever-presents remaining in this Premier League campaign.
Lee BOWYER is a double shy of 50 career Premier League goals (Leeds,
Newcastle and West Ham).
Nol SOLANO needs a double to total 50 Premier League goals (Newcastle, Aston
Villa and West Ham).
Fredrik LJUNGBERG is three shy of 50 Premier League goals (Arsenal and West
UPSON will be making his 200th career league appearance (Luton, Arsenal,
Nottingham Forest, Crystal Palace, Reading, Birmingham and West Ham).
James COLLINS will be making his 100th career league appearance (Cardiff and
George McCARTNEY will be making his 50th league appearance in a West Ham
Carlton COLE and Jonathan SPECTOR will be making their 50th appearances in
West Ham colours.
HEAD TO HEAD
A last-gasp penalty by Mark Noble sealed victory for West Ham in the reverse
fixture in January. Now they're looking to do the double over Liverpool for
the first time since their last league victory at Anfield in 1963-64.
Home and away
League (inc PL): Liverpool 52 wins, West Ham 21, Draws 28
Prem: Liverpool 14 wins, West Ham 5, Draws 6
at Liverpool only
League (inc PL): Liverpool 34 wins, West Ham 3, Draws 13
Prem: Liverpool 9 wins, West Ham 0, Draws 3
LAST SEASON'S CORRESPONDING GAME
Liverpool 2-1 West Ham United
26 August 2006 - Ref: Alan Wiley
Liverpool scorers: Agger 42, Crouch 45
West Ham scorer: Zamora 12
THIS SEASON'S REVERSE FIXTURE
West Ham United 1-0 Liverpool
30 January 2008 - Ref: Alan Wiley
West Ham scorer: Noble 90 pen
Steve Bennett (Orpington, Kent)
Premier League referees' table
Steve Bennett's 2007-08 Premier League card count
Liverpool v West Ham Utd -0 KUMB
Filed: Tuesday, 4th March 2008
By: Matthew Coker
We, at last, make our way to Anfield after the game in hand that was
originally scheduled to take place back in August, finally kicks off on
Wednesday night at 8pm.
We all immensely enjoyed our turn at hosting them a few weeks back, a 1-0
West Ham victory courtesy of a Mark Noble penalty was widely celebrated and
overall, in my opinion, deserved. From the red point of view, it was another
disaster in a disappointing season that, at this point in time has them only
in line for one trophy, the Champions League, though given their general
level of performance this season, they are far from favourites to capture
that piece of silverware.
As far as the league is going, their ambitions are not able to run beyond
finishing in the top four, the gap between them and top side, Arsenal is
insurmountable at this stage. They currently sit in fifth place, three
points behind Everton, though the Reds have a superior goal difference and
this, their extra game to play.
The whole season has been set against a backdrop of boardroom unrest. There
have been acres of column inches devoted to what exactly the American
owners, George Gillett and Tom Hicks want to do with the club. The initial
excitement amongst fans that they had attracted the services of men with
sufficient financial clout to enable Liverpool to catch up with their title
rivals has been evaporated and the most likely scenario seems to be that at
least one of the Yanks is ready to sell his share in the club to Dubai
International Capital, most likely at a tidy profit.
This uncertainty at the top has been blamed by fans, managers and players
for upsetting the club but in reality, the biggest problem has been there is
a gap between the top three sides and Liverpool and that they need a
financial fairy godmother to bridge that gulf. There was initially a belief
that the Americans would be able to do this, but that hope has faded and
numerous questions of the Yanks intentions are being asked.
The next problem that it is widely believed has cost Liverpool is Rafa
Benitez's rotation policy. This is not as simple as him playing the role of
tinkerman, but more his recognition that he does not have anywhere near the
strength in depth (or even in the first eleven) to complete with the other
He therefore goes for a policy of resting players to ensure that as the team
go into the last few months of the season, they are in as good a condition
as possible. This leads to success in the cup competitions (FA and
Champion's League) as their peak is at the business end of the season, when
they go into the most difficult games at the latter stages of the
competition. However, such a policy is not sustainable in a league
competition, particularly as he often seems to underestimate the weakest
team that he can put out and still obtain a result.
This poor league performance is further compounded by Liverpool's lack of
success over the other top sides. They have got winning cup games against
their rivals down to a fine art, particularly over Chelsea, whom they have
enjoyed success in both domestic and European cup semi finals. However, the
tactics such as away goals and playing for the draw at home and their
excellence in penalty shoot outs, not least from Pepe Reina, don't work in
the league, hence the lack of title charge.
This season has been particularly hard as several teams have used a
combination of a new manager and a glut of Sky or internal investment to
improve their league status and Liverpool are currently up against city
rivals Everton as well as Manchester City, Aston Villa and Blackburn for
that crucial Champions League spot. Their season has been made harder by
their ongoing run in this seasons Champions League competition, only Everton
from the other sides have had any sort of cup run to manage throughout the
season, being able instead to follow the faithful old, strategy of
concentrating on the league.
Nevertheless, Liverpool go into this game aiming to re-capture fourth spot
and will be looking to get the three points from this game, that will put
them back in the top four.
Liverpool Line Up
Defensively, there are a few vulnerabilities, not least if they are unable
to muster any fit right backs and be forced to repeat playing Jamie
Carragher wide right. Not only does Carragher lack the pace and distribution
to play as a wide defender, his absence from the centre leaves the pairing
of Sami Hyppia and Martin Skrtel, who both look fine alongside Carragher,
but as a duo appear a bit suspect, especially at set pieces.
The game at the Boleyn proved that this defence can be undone by pace, the
combination break by Ljungberg and Etherington was enough to panic Carragher
into giving away the penalty and there is no doubt that they have missed
Daniel Agger this season (who is close to a first team return but not for
this game having been included in a reserve team side for Tuesday night).
If Rafa fulfils his recent promise to stick with a tried and tested line up,
they will be featuring a 4-1-4-1 formation with former Hammer, Javier
Mascherano in the holding role, Steven Gerrard and Xavi Alonso in the middle
and two strikers in Dirk Kuyt and Ryan Babel playing wide, the latter on the
left. The significant investment in Babel will clearly reap most of the
rewards in the long term future, but there were definite signs at the
weekend that his confidence is well up and I think that Lucas Neill will
need to have a much better game than he did against Chelsea to contain that
If Rafa decides to have a little play around, then it could be Lucas taking
one of the central roles (probably at the expense of Alonso) or perhaps the
introduction of the rat faced, pre pubescent looking Israeli, Yossi Benayoun
on the right, one of the players who has suffered the most with Rafa's
settled team selection in the last couple of weeks.
Liverpool have featured the strategy of playing with just Fernando Torres
upfront, the Spanish international being of sufficient quality to put away
fifteen league strikes this season, including a hat trick against
Middlesbrough a couple of weeks back. He has a little bit of everything in
his game, not least pace and there has not been as much evidence of his
supposed weakness in one-on-ones as was widely anticipated. There is, of
course, the option of pairing him with Peter Crouch, who has retained his
status of Rafa's forgotten man in recent weeks.
Anfield has given us more stories of painful trips in the last forty years
than they have heard in the Borough Council's raised pavement claims line
and it will take something special for us to finally take three points home.
Liverpool are into a better run of form than when we last met, since coming
to East London, they have drawn with Chelsea in a game that they were
unlucky not to win (had Torres been available instead of Crouch, the outcome
may have been different) and beaten Sunderland and Middlesbrough, scoring
three in both games.
They did have the embarrassment of the cup exit to Barnsley, though the line
up was very much of the second eleven and even then, Liverpool were the
better side but could not take their chances. They also had the small matter
of the victory over officially, at the time, the most in form team in
Europe, Inter Milan in the Champions League.
You compare that to how we have performed since beating them, only one
victory over a woeful Fulham side with a very fortuitous goal as well as the
poor showings against Wigan and Birmingham and humiliation against Chelsea,
I'm not exactly smelling victory at this stage.
I can only see this going one way, due to the current form of the two sides
as well as Liverpool looking at the league table and this being the game
that will re-instate them to the top four. I'll therefore have us down for a
2-0 defeat, with Yossi probably scoring one of them to continue the
weekend's theme of former Irons putting the boot in.
Enjoy the game.
Curbishley seeks redemption - SSN
Hammers hoping to bounce back at Anfield
By Chris Burton Last updated: 5th March 2008
Alan Curbishley hopes that West Ham can recover from their disappointing
defeat against Chelsea on Saturday. The Hammers were beaten 4-0 by the Blues
at Upton Park and now face a daunting trip to Liverpool on Wednesday.
Curbishley is confident that his side have the ability to bounce back from
the weekend setback, but admits that a vast improvement is required if they
are to avoid another humiliating loss on Merseyside. "We're still a bit
embarrassed and stunned about losing 4-0 at home to Chelsea at the weekend,"
he said. "We've spoken to the players about it, and we'll never forget it.
"If you give quality players time and space on the ball, you will get
punished, but it will make us ready for Liverpool and Sunday's game at
"We knew we were going into a tough week, but we started off extremely
badly, and we need to improve on Wednesday against a top team."
The Hammers are still just about in the hunt for a European spot for next
season, but Curbishley acknowledges that defeat at Anfield would virtually
extinguish any hopes they have of breaking into those positions. "If
Liverpool won, it might finish us off in terms of breaking into the European
places. We're in no man's land, and we need to change that," he said. "There
are so many permutations, but it looks this season as though finishing
seventh or even sixth might not be good enough to get into the Uefa Cup. "We
are not too far behind Portsmouth, Blackburn and Manchester City, but we
just can't seem to catch them at the moment. "We don't want the season to
peter out. If we lose, we don't seem to go anywhere, and if we win, we don't
seem to go anywhere. The next three or four weeks will decide our fate."
With the season now entering its final throws, Curbishley could see his
squad boosted at a vital time with the return of a number of long-term
Scott Parker and Bobby Zamora are both making good progress in their
rehabilitation and could feature at some point in the coming weeks. "We're
hoping that one or two players will come back from injury and give us a bit
of impetus for the run-in," Curbishley said. "Parker has been training this
week, but it is still a little too early for him and we have been holding
him back. "With the injury situation, we have had to take more care with
some than we have with others. "Bobby has been out a long while with his
knee injury, whereas we had to push Julien Faubert into the team early after
he had come back from his Achilles problem. "We have had to be more careful
with Bobby, but he is raring to go now. "We hope that one or two of those
injured players will come back into the reckoning, to give us some fresh
legs and fresh minds."
Liverpool v West Ham preview
Reds hoping to climb up to fourth
By Lewis Rutledge Last updated: 5th March 2008
Skysports.com prediction: Liverpool 2 West Ham 1
SKY BET odds: Liverpool 2/5, Draw 3/1, West Ham 11/2
One to Watch: Fernando Torres
Liverpool will be looking to recapture fourth spot as they entertain a West
Ham side hammered by Chelsea at the weekend. The Reds have had to play
catch-up on Merseyside rivals Everton in recent weeks but now finally have
the chance to make their game in hand count. Victory for Rafa Benitez's side
would bring Liverpool level on points with Everton but ahead on goal
difference in the race for the final UEFA Champions League spot. Liverpool
are on a three-match winning streak in all competitions, having followed up
their Champions League victory over Internazionale with successes against
Middlesbrough and Bolton on the domestic front. Benitez could still decide
to shuffle his pack and may bring in the likes of Peter Crouch and Yossi
Benayoun - unused substitutes at the Reebok Stadium. Steve Finnan remains
sidelined with a groin problem so Alvaro Arbeloa is likely to come in at
full-back, with Jamie Carragher sliding into central defence. Martin Skrtel
and Sami Hyypia would be left to battle it out for the spot alongside
Carragher, although Daniel Agger is close to a return after injury.
Alan Curbishley has called for there to be more goals at West Ham and there
were four in the game against Chelsea at the weekend, but unfortunately for
the Upton Park faithful they were all at the wrong end. The result seriously
dented West Ham's chances of finishing in the top six and they will be
determined to get back on track at Anfield to ensure they are not perhaps
the only side in the Premier League with neither survival or Europe on their
agenda for the last ten games of the season. Curbishley's main injury
concern is Julien Faubert, who took a knock in a challenge with Claude
Makelele and is struggling to recover in time. If the Frenchman does
recover, manager Alan Curbishley is likely to name an unchanged squad. There
could still be changes to the starting XI after such a disappointing
display, with Nolberto Solano, Dean Ashton and Bobby Zamor all pressing for
places. Craig Bellamy, Calum Davenport, Nigel Quashie and Kieron Dyer all
remain long-term injury victims.
Hammers boss Curbs ready to blood youngsters at Anfield - Daily Mail
Last updated at 12:34pm on 5th March 2008
West Ham manager Alan Curbishley claims he would not be worried about
playing youngsters Freddie Sears and Jack Collison at Liverpool tonight.
Manager Curbishley said: "I have no fears about doing it. They are in the
squad because they deserve to be there." Curbishley faces a huge task of
masterminding the club's first win at Anfield since September 1963 -
particularly on the back of Saturday's humiliating 4-0 loss to Chelsea. He
told the club's official website: "The players are keen to put the Chelsea
defeat behind them. It was unlike us so far this season. It has steeled us
up for what is coming on Wednesday night and on Sunday [against Tottenham].
We knew we were going into a tough week. We have started off really badly
and can we improve on that on Wednesday?"
Sidwell set for summer Chelsea exit - Daily Mail
Last updated at 14:54pm on 5th March 2008
Frustrated Steve Sidwell will seek a move away from Chelsea in the summer.
He has struggled to break through at Stamford Bridge behind Claude Makelele,
John Obi Mikel, Michael Ballack, Michael Essien and Frank Lampard in the
pecking order. West Ham and Newcastle will lead the race to secure his
signature. Meanwhile Blues winger Shaun Wright-Phillips feels he has a lot
more to offer at the Bridge. I think I should finish a lot more chances,"
said the England winger. "I know I have to be at my best here and one slip
can leave me out of the team."
Fernando Torres set to miss Liverpool v West Ham with bug -
Mar 5 2008
FERNANDO TORRES is a major doubt for Liverpool's meeting with West Ham at
Anfield tonight, having picked up a bug. The Reds' top scorer was absent
from training yesterday and unless he makes a dramatic recovery is unlikely
to be involved against the Hammers. If, as expected, Torres is unavailable,
manager Rafa Benitez is likely to offer a first team recall to Peter Crouch,
who has had to settle for a place on the bench in recent weeks. Should
Liverpool win tonight they will go above Everton into fourth place in the
Premier League and Benitez today called on his players to take advantage of
their game in hand on their Merseyside rivals. He said: "We have been
waiting a long time to play this game and now it is here we must take
advantage of it. "We need to take the confidence from Sunday's win against
Bolton into tonight's game. "But we also have to be careful because West Ham
are a good team with good players and we know it will be difficult against
Benitez is still smarting from a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Alan
Curbishley's side just over a month ago. On that occasion, Liverpool lost
despite having dominated long spells of the game when Mark Noble slotted
home an injury time penalty. "I was disappointed that night," admitted the
Reds boss. "We dominated most of the second half and had chances but could
not score. "But that is in the past and tonight we must be positive because
we are playing well and creating chances." Meanwhile, Daniel Agger came
through his second reserve team appearance in less than a week unscathed.
The Danish defender played an hour of last night's 1-0 win over Bolton and
suffered no ill effects. Having stepped up his rehabilitation from a
metatarsal injury, Agger will now be looking to win his place back in the