Saturday, May 13

Daily WHUFC News - 13th May 2017

Slav aiming for Liverpool repeat

Slaven Bilic is aiming for a Liverpool repeat - on two fronts.

The Hammers enjoyed two home victories against the Reds last season, and with a 2-2 draw at Anfield this term also still fresh in the memory, they have plenty of positive experiences to call upon.

More recently, last week's 1-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur provided the perfect blueprint for West Ham to follow that up in their final home game of the campaign and the manager is demanding a similar performance.

"We are preparing and we are planning to do something similar to last week when we play Liverpool," he said.

"There are a lot of similarities in those two sides - we still have two games and we are very ambitious for six points from those two games.

"We can climb up in the table - it is not the situation that we are safe now and are already on our holidays. Definitely I am expecting the same kind of determination, commitment and teamwork like it was against Spurs.

"We want to win every game and now we are without the negative type of pressure that we had against Spurs - thinking 'if we concede a goal we're going to be in that kind of situation'.

"That burden is off, so I'm expecting at least what we did against Spurs, in terms of playing and commitment.

"Talking about our home performances, we definitely improved a lot across our last six, seven or eight games. Since the start of 2017, I remember the home games improving a lot, and there were only a couple of games against Manchester City in the cup and league that were not good.

"We lost some games, like against Leicester, but we were really good. I'm not talking about the results, only, but about the performances too and they have improved a lot."

Bilic - The team is still strong

Slaven Bilic says the team he will put out against Liverpool on Sunday will still be a strong one, despite the addition of Mark Noble and Cheikhou Kouyate to the Hammers' injury list.

Noble and Kouyate have gone under the surgeon's knife for abdominal and wrist injuries respectively, bringing their seasons to a slightly premature close.

With Andy Carroll set to miss out against his former Club too, Bilic will have to turn to his squad - but as he pointed out, every player has had plenty of game time this season due to the injuries he has had to deal with all campaign.

The manager explained: "The team news is from the team that played against Spurs, we are without Mark Noble and Cheikhou Kouyate, but the good thing is that the players who will start against Liverpool have all played a lot of games this season because of their form, or because of injuries. We will still put out a really good team.

"Andy Carroll isn't going to play. He is still feeling his hip or groin - it's in that area and since the last three or four weeks its been like a 50/50 chance whether he'll play, but unfortunately he can't.

"He tried to do it yesterday and the day before yesterday - it's nothing major, but it is frustrating not to have him because you know what he means to us."

The good thing is that the players who will start against Liverpool have all played a lot of games this season because of their form, or because of injuries. We will still put out a really good team.

The manager hailed Noble and Kouyate for their willingness to play through the pain barrier as they postponed surgery for the good of the team over the last couple of months.

He added: "It is a hernia thing for Mark. He has had it for the last couple of months - he didn't want to talk about it because he is a captain, a great captain and he wanted to help the Club and the team.

"Of course it affected him because he felt the pain, but he played through it and now, it has become a bit worse. "It is not that we're safe now and we don't want him to play - I really wanted him to play against Liverpool and he wanted it, but the surgeon said it should be done as soon as possible, so there was really no way he could play another game this season.

"He was one of our key players against Spurs, and it meant a lot to the team to have the skipper playing in that game, so it was a good decision by him [to keep his injury quiet].

"It is the same for Cheik - his wrist problem has been there since the Africa Cup of Nations, but it became worse over time and he has played through a lot of pain.

"He was supposed to do the operation earlier, but because we needed him we made a plan for him to play as much as possible."

West Ham v Liverpool: The tactician's view

Tactical analyst George Elek looks at how Sunday's meeting with Liverpool could play out...

There is arguably no better time for West Ham to host Liverpool, with Jürgen Klopp's men struggling to find their early season groove in the absence of the injured Sadio Mane and Jordan Henderson.

Seven points from their past four games represents a decent haul, but they have only scored three goals in that period. Liverpool are missing the penetrative pace of Mane, whilst Henderson's metronomic passing had provided the platform for Liverpool's attacking trio.

They have won their last three games on the road, all by one-goal margins, against Stoke, West Brom and Watford and a focus on not conceding the first goal away from home has seen their form improve from early season struggles, but West Ham's form since switching to the back three should give them a great deal to be positive about.

The Hammers have kept three consecutive clean sheets, with the trio of Jose Fonte, Winston Reid and James Collins proving tough for opposing teams to break down.

The advancing Sam Byram and Aaron Cresswell on the flanks has enabled Andre Ayew and Manuel Lanzini to drift inside and provide a fluid attacking force.

Liverpool's forward play has come under much scrutiny this season, with an unwelcome trend of dominating possession against weaker teams, but in areas of the pitch where they are unlikely to hurt the opposition.

They enjoyed nearly 65 per cent possession against Southampton last Sunday and had 17 shots but, except for James Milner's missed penalty, just three of these were taken from inside the box.

Lucas Leiva has stepped into Henderson's central midfield role and whilst his passing may be tidy, it perhaps lacks the probing effect of the club captain's. Georginio Wijnaldum and Emre Can have taken on this deep-lying playmaker role, with the forward players dropping too deep at times in an attempt to force the issue.

Against Southampton Philipe Coutinho, who should be Liverpool's greatest attacking threat, did not touch the ball once inside the penalty area. Firmino has managed three touches in this zone in their past two fixtures.

West Ham can take heart in this chink in Liverpool's armour; with the tremendous work of the defence on Friday night largely keeping Tottenham's attacking talents quiet. Spurs were restricted to just four shots on goal from inside the area, whilst England striker Harry Kane touched the ball just twice in the box.

To keep Liverpool at bay the key is pressing high in wide areas, forcing Coutinho and Firmino to drop deep to get the ball. Cresswell and Byram will likely be charged with that responsibility, whilst the back three will have to ensure that the Liverpool centre-forward, whether it is Origi or Sturridge, is not able to peel into the space in behind that will be vacated by the wingers.

The likes of Can, Lallana, Wijnaldum and Firmino are experts at timing their runs into the area to meet crosses, so the onus should be on keeping Liverpool's possession in the area between the half-way line and the final third, forcing them to take pot-shots from long range.

Such a tactic would also see West Ham able to really hurt Liverpool on the counter-attack. In Ayew and Lanzini there is little doubt that the hosts have the weapons to punish Liverpool.

Full-backs Nathanial Clyne and James Milner look to push right up the flank, meaning there should be a great deal of space for the fluid forwards to cause damage going forward. Jonathan Calleri was full of energy against Tottenham, and a similar harrying display in putting pressure on the Liverpool centre-backs would enable West Ham to win the ball in advanced areas.

The teams who have had the most joy against Liverpool this season have structured their performance in two areas, with a defence set-up to frustrate and a front line looking to spring into life higher up the pitch. It will be a tough test to maintain the unbeaten run, but West Ham proved on Friday that they have the tools to beat anyone.

Hammers enjoying benefits of TransferMate partnership

West Ham United's Official Global Payments partner TransferMate are delivering results off the pitch for the Club, playing a key role in its international payments since the launch of their partnership last December.

As the Official Global Payments partner of the club, TransferMate are delighted to play a strategic role in the club's international transactions, during what has been an important season for the club.

TransferMate has developed a mutually beneficial relationship with the Club, offering better exchange rates, as well as a fast and secure international payment solution, much to the delight of West Ham Chief Financial Officer Andy Mollett.

He said: "One of the keys for us in the transfer market is to be able to deliver the cash at the right time, and in an efficient way, so we rely completely on TransferMate to turn around the requests as fast as they can, and that's what they do for us.

"The key for West Ham is to be able to make smart, efficient, international payments at the very best rates, and TransferMate deliver that for us."

TransferMate provides an innovative global payment solution for the Club, and look forward to assisting West Ham with reliability and efficiency as they prepare to conduct their transfer business in the summer window.

About TransferMate

TransferMate is the market-leading, international choice for businesses worldwide, and now boasts one of the world's largest currency settlement networks that provides companies of all sizes and financial institutions with a payments engine for conducting cross-border transfers globally - at top speed and lowest cost.

The company has created one of the world's most extensive networks of bank accounts in over 50 countries allowing them to secure better exchange rates, eradicate bank fees and provide our clients with faster payment services. It is through these proprietary solutions that have led to over $8billion transacted in the year to date.

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Longelo - We want to finish well

West Ham United U18s visit Arsenal for their final game of the season this weekend
The Hammers can finish as high as fifth with a victory at the Arsenal Training Centre
Rosaire Longelo says everybody is excited for the season climax

Rosaire Longelo is delighted with how his season has panned out as he and his U18 teammates aim to finish on a high away to Arsenal this weekend.

First-year scholar Longelo enjoyed a terrific first half of the season, scoring in the 3-2 win over Swansea City that put the Hammers top of U18 Premier League South.

The versatile player unfortunately missed two months between January and March through injury but has returned and helped the Hammers to string of good performances in the Merit Group.

"I'm very pleased with how the season has gone," said Longelo. "I didn't really expect it to go this well.

"I've been surprised with how many games I've had because I've been injured a bit. But I'm really looking forward to our last game."

The Hammers are currently second from bottom in Merit Group A but their recent performances could have easily produced more points.

Last time out, they battled to a 1-1 draw against FA Youth Cup finalists Manchester City with Jahmal Hector-Ingram scoring the equaliser in the second half.

Longelo admits results have not matched performances recently but hopes the season can end on a positive at London Colney on Saturday.

"I think as a group we've played quite well this season but recently our results haven't been good," he added.

"We always try our best in every game but I think we've been lacking an end product over the past couple of months.

"Everyone is very excited for the game this weekend. It's our last chance to play with this year's second years as a group and hopefully we can get the win.

Ginge wants to keep it clean

James Collins says the Hammers know exactly what is required to end their home slate of fixtures on a high against Liverpool on Sunday - and they only have to look back a week for inspiration.

Last Friday's 1-0 victory all but ended Tottenham Hotspur's hopes of landing the Premier League title and the Hammers can dent another team's lofty ambitions this weekend with Jurgen Klopp's side chasing UEFA Champions League qualification.

With three clean sheets in a row and four from their last five starts, Collins is confident his team can keep things tight again and add a second scalp in succession to their collection.

"We have to go about combating their threat the same way we have in the last couple of games," he said. "That's defending well as a team with everyone working together and hopefully we can get a similar result to last Friday.

"I've played as part of a back three for a long time with Wales. We're playing with that system and it's working at the minute. It's getting played more in the Premier League and we've got the players to do it.

"It's been great playing alongside Reidy and Jose as a three. They're tremendous centre-halves and any mistakes I make they see what's going on and clear up for me. Hopefully I do the same for them. It's going well."

Collins has enjoyed some fine days against Liverpool in Claret and Blue - he played in both home wins against the Reds last term and kept Luis Suarez extremely quiet in a 0-0 draw at Anfield in 2013 - so has good memories of this fixture.

He added: "I've had some tremendous results against them over the years - that game at Anfield when we drew 0-0 in particular is one that sticks in the head.

"We're full of confidence at the minute - we're not really thinking about who we're playing against, we just know that if we turn up and play like we did last week we can beat anyone."

West Ham United v Liverpool
Venue: London Stadium


Mark Noble and Cheikhou Kouyate will miss West Ham's final two games after surgery on long-standing injuries.

Andy Carroll, Michail Antonio, Pedro Obiang, Diafra Sakho, Angelo Ogbonna and Arthur Masuaku remain sidelined.

Roberto Firmino and Lucas Leiva are both doubts for Liverpool because of muscle problems.

Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge are in contention to start after making several substitute appearances following returns from injury.


Alistair Mann: "Having spoiled Tottenham's pursuit of the title in their last game, West Ham now have the opportunity to wreck another team's plans by damaging Liverpool's target of Champions League football.

"With arguably their best performance of the season, the Hammers not only demonstrated what they are capable of when everything is in sync, but also proved that the London Stadium can work to their advantage - if they harness the fervent atmosphere their huge new home can generate.

"Despite entering the weekend in third, a run of just one win from their last three games has been extremely untimely for the visitors, who will feel any further dropped points may well irrevocably floor their ambitions."



Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp: "Everything is still in our hands. All the teams have to play tough games and no-one wins all of them. Now we have to win ours and it will be fine.

"A week ago we thought we had to win all three. Now we know a draw and a win could be enough depending on other results.

"That is the situation so let's feel the opportunity together."

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic on Andy Carroll's injury problems: "Andy is kind of a player that has such a big impact on our game that we won't give up on him.

"Especially now as this has nothing to do with lifestyle or not being committed enough. He works really hard, it was bad luck and, as I said, I will never give up on him.

"On the other hand it is no good having a player whose name you put down first, second or third and can't rely on him."


I think Liverpool will need to win their final two games to make the top four - but I am just not convinced they will do it. I don't think they will get three points against West Ham for starters.

Prediction: 1-1

Lawro's full predictions v tennis world number one Andy Murray

Think you can do better than Lawro? Predict the score for this match and the rest of this round's Premier League fixtures in our Predictor game
West Ham defender Angelo Ogbonna


West Ham are unbeaten in five league and cup games against Liverpool, winning three of those matches. They have never gone six matches undefeated against the Reds.
The Hammers have won their last three home games against Liverpool.
The Reds have kept one clean sheet in their last 10 Premier League visits to West Ham, in a 3-0 victory in May 2009.
None of the last 11 Premier League meetings in east London have ended level, with West Ham winning four and Liverpool claiming seven victories since a 1-1 draw in December 2001.
West Ham United

West Ham are unbeaten in five league games (W2, D3), after losing the previous five.
The Hammers have kept three consecutive Premier League clean sheets at the London Stadium for the first time - they last kept four in a row at home between January and February 2010.
Six of their seven league wins at the London Stadium have been by a 1-0 scoreline, with the only exception their 3-0 victory against Crystal Palace.
If the Hammers fail to score they will end the season with just 19 home league goals - their joint-lowest total in a top-flight season (also set in 1988-89).
They have lost 22 points from winning positions - a league-high prior to the latest round of fixtures.
Manuel Lanzini has scored in five of his last eight Premier League home games.

If Liverpool win at the London Stadium, it will be the 52nd different venue where they have claimed a Premier League victory, more than any other side.
The Reds have won their last three away games in the Premier League - they last had a longer run between February and April 2014 (six matches).
Liverpool have won three of their four Premier League games in London this season, drawing the other. The last time they remained unbeaten in the capital across an entire league season was in 1988-89.
They have only lost one of their last 10 top-flight matches in London - their 2-0 defeat at West Ham on 2 January 2016.
Victory will give the Reds 73 Premier League points - the most a team has had in 38-game season without finishing in the top four is 72 points.
SAM's verdict
Most probable score: 1-1 Probability of draw: 24%
Probability of home win: 32% Probability of away win: 44%
SAM (Sports Analytics Machine) is a super-computer created by @ProfIanMcHale at the University of Salford that is used to predict the outcome of football matches.


Written by @farehamhammer

I'm down at Eastleigh Sports Ground, watching Portsmouth train with a mate. Saggy Chops Redknapp is the Pompey manager. A bloke I absolutely loathe! It is a terrible day, windy with light rain. Joe Jordan, one of Pompey's coaches, is going NUTS on the training ground. Kanu arrived late and is not bothering his arse. Misplaced passes, barely walking, shooting terrible. After about twenty minutes, Redknapp, who had been standing on the touchline, hands in pocket with a deadpan expression, Calls out to Kanu." 'King' come over here son". Kanu reaches Redknapp, now with a huge smile on his face. Redknapp gives him a hug, puts his arm around his waist and like young lovers they walk off into the distance chatting away. After about ten minutes they come back. Redknapp pats him on the back and Kanu goes back on the pitch. The transformation in Kanu's play was UNBELIEVABLE! He was absolutely UNPLAYABLE! I think Noble could have done with an arm around him at several points of this difficult season. At times his body language did not look right. Those would have been the times for the manager to tell him "Son, you are my Captain, and I believe in you. It's going to be ok".

Leadership is a lonely place when things are going wrong at any club.

As many know. I'm not Noble's biggest fan. In fact, in my opinion it is a close call whether he should be in the team. Which I will come to in a moment. But being West Ham through and through, events on and off the pitch affected him more than most. For Noble, West Ham is not just about events on the training ground or on match day. Mark Noble can run but he can't hide. His family live and breathe West Ham, his local shops live and breathe West Ham. When results are poor, they want answers from The Boy from Canning Town. Which goes some way to explain Noble's headless chicken approach to games this season. Charging around all over the pitch, trying to do three people's job. As a result, he got frustrated and his discipline suffered on the pitch.

The biggest problem regarding Mark Noble's form this season was he simply tried too hard. Till a few weeks ago, I felt his time was up perhaps the now reported injury was the problem for this though in hindsight. I felt Kouyate and Obiang should be nailed on in centre midfield. I also felt that Nordveidt was better than Noble when he was played in his correct position. It's obvious that Noble's lack of pace is a problem. When closed down quickly, he often gets dispossessed and gives away needless free–kicks. When further forward, if we lose possession the opposition break and have a free run on goal due in part to Noble's inability to get back. As a goal threat he offered nothing this season. To be fair to Noble, when he was out of the team results hardly improved. So it's a close call whether we keep Noble or ditch him.

But his lack of pace need not be a problem for Noble. Older generations of Hammers fans will tell you that the great Bobby Moore lacked pace. Moore made up for it by being a superb reader of the game. As a result he was always one step ahead on the pitch. With Noble in the team, you must have pace and movement ahead of him. Give him a bit of space, and he is capable of switching play superbly. Noble has to be far more disciplined and played a bit deeper to get the best out of him. There is no room for sentimentality in football. You cannot be selected for the team because you are 'Mr West Ham'. Like a manager, you have got to produce the goods. For players it's on the pitch.

Noble cannot afford another poor season. If he does he will be history as far as being a West Ham first team regular is concerned. But I would not bet against the boy from Canning Town, a man who has played more than 400 games for The Club. Mark James Noble brings something to the table few footballers do today. He brings loyalty. He is West Ham's heart. At this moment in time Mark Noble needs West Ham and West Ham need Mark Noble.

We are more than a football club, we are a way of life!


50 years since he signed for West Ham
Filed: Friday, 12th May 2017
By: Paul Walker

There are important landmarks in any club's history…and then there's the day Billy Bonds arrived at West Ham. They don't come much more important than that.

Bonds arrived at West Ham 50 years ago tomorrow --May 13th, to be exact--tall, slim, shy, clean shaven then, and set to become one of the greatest players in the club's history.

Ron Greenwood paid Charlton just shy of £50,000 for him, hard to argue that being the best bit of business West Ham have ever done. The fee was £48,500 to be precise, and they'd have got another £2,000 if he played for England. Amazingly that never happened.

That figure doesn't sound much by modern standards, but it was a big outlay for a 21-year-old in those days. Some clever mathematician will tell me how much that is worth at today's rate, but I don't need to be told his worth.

Bonds went on to become a true West Ham legend, player, coach, manager and he holds an appearance record for the club that will surely never be broken.

It's generally accepted that Bobby Moore is the greatest player in our history on a global scale, but Bonds pushes him very close when it just comes down to the club achievements of both. There are even some who believe his contribution far outstrips the Moore legacy.
It's a nice discussion to have, not an argument!

Moore became probably bigger than the club, a glamorous international figure and of course captain of England in '66 when the World Cup was won. That gives him an world-wide aura greater than Bonds, obviously.

But somehow there's a different sort of legacy with Bonds. The unflinching standard bearer, the protector for Trevor Brooking and Alan Devonshire, you didn't mess with Billy. Moore of course captained us to FA Cup final glory and the European Cup Winners' Cup triumph. There was also a League Cup final and a shared Charity Shield.

He also became an iconic figure for all that is good in football, with class, composure and sheer cool skills.

Bonds was a different sort of icon. He twice captained us to FA Cup final victories, was a Cup Winners' Cup final runner-up, a runner-up in the League Cup and also captain of the promotion side of 80-81. His spell as manager also produced two promotions.

Don't ask me to pick one over the other, it's hardly fair. We all love them both.

Bonzo was never capped--an outrage really--but he played for West Ham until he was 41, a club career of 20 years 9 months and 12 days to be precise, and with 793 games, the club's appearances record. In fact he was 41 years and 225 days old on his final appearance against Southampton at the Dell on April 30, 1988.

To many, Bonds was the true Mr. West Ham. I am not trying to belittle Moore's contribution, but we know now he wanted out long before he finally left for Fulham in 1974, and would have worn a Spurs shirt at the end of his career if Greenwood had allowed him to leave earlier.

That he didn't get his wish was a cloud that hung over his final years at Upton Park, even though his brilliance and desire for his local team never abated.

Moore was a master of his craft, he led by example, a cool, majestic captain. An inspiration. Bonds was a leader of men in a very different way. A fearsome swashbuckling hero, bearded by then and a true warrior in midfield. "6ft 2, eyes of blue, Billy Bonds is after you" we all sang. And you'd better believe it.

I was fortunate to see Moore's career at West Ham start in 1958, and to witness Bonds' debut against Sheffield Wednesday on the first day of the 67-68 season, Of course West Ham lost that day, but nobody there left worrying about whether young Billy--playing at right-back-was good enough for the top flight.

Greenwood used him later in central defence and then more effectively in midfield. That he never played for England is laughable now looking at the current crop of so-called England stars.

He was never lucky with England. Even when Greenwood, then national manager, named Bonds in one of his squads--and made it clear he would play--Billy managed to get injured in an end of season game at Hillsborough. Funny how Sheffield Wednesday keep cropping up--and that ruled him out of the England squad.

I was there that day in Yorkshire, and he was obviously playing in pain after a collision with Phil Parkes. You just knew watching him troop off that his international chance had gone.
His arrival at Upton Park was typical of a bygone age. No agents, just accompanied by then Charlton boss Bob Stokoe, the pair having watched West Ham's final game of the 1966-67 season against Manchester City.

A couple of weeks earlier Bonds had played for Charlton in the Wembley fives--I used to love that night out--and West Ham won the trophy that night with a squad that included Moore, Geoff Hurst, Martin Peters, Johnny Byrne, John Sissons and Colin Mackleworth.

The following day, so the story goes, Hurst said to manager Ron Greenwood that if he was looking for a new right-back, the kid from Charlton was a good bet.

Greenwood went to watch Charlton's last game of the season against Birmingham and spoke to Bonds--again with Stokoe--at the Valley after the match. Bonds says in his autobiography that he tried to tell Ron that other clubs were interested!

Ron is supposed to have left the room, Stokoe coming in to give Billy a rollicking for messing West Ham about. That was the end of the bartering, and Billy got a contract that doubled his wages to £60 a week and a £2,500 signing on fee.

The contract was actually signed in Ron's Upton Park office after that Man City game on May 13. Both Dennis Burnett and Trevor Dawkins were suggested as part-exchange, but both declined and Ron said: "Don't worry Billy, we'll just pay cash."

His first game for the club came two days later with a first-half performance in Ken Brown's testimonial. There was around 15,000 there to see the new recruit.

The rest is history. A wonderful club servant, tireless, magnificent captain and to my mind part of the five-strong group of players who are the best in our history: Moore, Peters, Hurst, Brooking and Bonds.

That quintet only played for three seasons together, 67-68, 68-69 and 69-70. Just what would they be worth in today's current transfer market?

We've all got our own special Bonds memory, mine came just days after he had taken over as manager in 1980.

Lou Macari had left between the two League Cup semi-final games against Oldham, the first being that infamous 6-0 defeat on the plastic at Boundary Park. Not the best West Ham performance I've seen!

Ronnie Boyce did a caretaker stint and Bonds took over ahead of the thankless second leg. Nobody in my company's London office was bothered about covering the second-leg, so I volunteered to come down from Manchester. A chance for the firm to pay for the petrol to visit my parents!

I did the pre-match press conference at the Boleyn and afterwards introduced myself, told Billy I was a West Ham fan and wished him all the luck in the world. Bonzo took me up to his office, we had a cup of tea and chatted about the Hammers for 20 minutes. Enough material for a feature piece after the 3-0 second-leg win.

He had enough on his plate at that point, with all the fuss about Macari and the cup tie debacle. But he was as good as gold that day and had time for a chat with someone he had never met before.

A gentleman then. A gentleman throughout his West Ham career. Fifty years ago? It seems just like yesterday. We were lucky to have him.

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to,

West Ham v Liverpool preview: Andy Carroll misses out against former side
Last Updated: 12/05/17 12:50pm

West Ham striker Andy Carroll is set to miss out against his former club after failing to recover in time from a groin injury, while Mark Noble is also absent.

Noble has undergone surgery on a long-standing abdominal issue, a condition which he has played on with for a number of weeks.

Carroll, who joined Liverpool in 2011 before moving to the Hammers a year later, was seen as 50/50 for Sunday's game, but Slaven Bilic has revealed he will not feature.

"He tried to do it yesterday and the day before yesterday - it's nothing major, Billic said, but it is frustrating not to have him because you know what he means to us."

Liverpool - who sit third and have a one-point lead over Manchester City - know a win is crucial, especially when it comes to attracting new players says Jurgen Klopp.

"It's important - how it is always important - for the club. Everybody knows it's a lot of money in the Champions League, it's not only the sports challenge, even though it's really exciting, it's also the money you can earn and as a football club we have to do this too," he said.

Team news

Cheikhou Kouyate has also undergone surgery on a wrist injury, which he has had since the Africa Cup of Nations. Fellow midfielder Noble (abdominal) will not feature again this season and Carroll remains sidelined.

Liverpool will assess the fitness of Roberto Firmino and Lucas Leiva ahead of the trip to the London Stadium.

Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana could both return to boost the visitors' attacking options as they look to cement Champions League qualification.

Opta stats

West Ham have won their last two home Premier League meetings with Liverpool, their best run since winning three in a row between 1997 and 1999.

The Reds have kept one clean sheet in their last 10 Premier League visits to West Ham, a 3-0 victory in May 2009.

None of the last 11 Premier League meetings between these sides at West Ham have ended as a draw, with the Hammers winning four and Liverpool seven since a 1-1 draw in December 2001.

In all competitions, the Reds are winless in their last five games against West Ham, their worst run since February 1965 (also five without a win); they've never gone six without a win against them.

If Liverpool win at the London Stadium, it will be the 52nd different ground at which they've won a Premier League game, more than any other side (Arsenal and Manchester United next on 50).

The Reds have won their last three away games in the Premier League - they last had a longer run in April 2014 (six games).

The Hammers have kept three consecutive Premier League clean sheets at the London Stadium for the first time - they last kept four in a row at home in February 2010.

Six of West Ham's seven Premier League home wins this season have been against sides currently in the bottom half of the table - the only exception was their last home game against Spurs (1-0).

Liverpool have won three of their four Premier League games in London this season, drawing the other. The last time they remained unbeaten in the capital across an entire league season was in 1988-89.

Manuel Lanzini has found the net in five of his last eight Premier League home games.

Merson's prediction

It all depends on which West Ham turns up, whether it's the team from the last few months or the one who beat Tottenham last week. It's a big game for them because another win could wipe away the cobwebs at the London Stadium and help them feel much more positive about the place next year.

You just don't know with Liverpool against so-called lesser teams. I would probably fancy them more if they were going to Man City. There's something missing in these games and they need to sort that out if they want to push on.

PAUL PREDICTS: 1-1 (6/1 with Sky Bet)


West Ham are Sky Bet's 18/5 outsiders to win with Liverpool the odds-on favourites at 7/10 and the draw is 14/5. All four of Daniel Sturridge, Roberto Firmino, Philippe Coutinho and Divock Origi are priced at 9/2 at the head of a wide-open first goalscorer market, with Andy Carroll seen as the biggest threat for the home side at 13/2. Liverpool are 3/1 to finish outside of the top four and West Ham out to 4/1 to make it into the top half.

Slaven Bilic 'not giving up' on injury-hit Andy Carroll
Last Updated: 12/05/17 1:36pm

Slaven Bilic will "never give up" on injury-jinxed Andy Carroll, who will miss Sunday's final home game of the season against Liverpool.

The striker's latest injury is his groin but the West Ham manager confirmed it was not a serious issue.

Speaking at Friday's pre-match press conference, Bilic said: "Andy Carroll won't be able to play against Liverpool.

"He's still feeling his groin. It's nothing major but he will miss the game."

And the Croatian says the 28-year-old remains a key figure at the club and would not comment on the former Newcastle and Liverpool player's future.

He added: "It is not a subject for now, but Andy is kind of a player that has such a big impact on our game that we won't give up on him.

"Especially now, as this has nothing to do with lifestyle or not being committed enough.

"He works really hard, it was bad luck and, as I said, I will never give up on him.

"On the other hand, it is no good having a player whose name you put down first, second or third and can't rely on him."

Two midfielders who are sidelined for the season are Mark Noble and Cheikhou Kouyate, both of whom require surgery.

Bilic went on: "Mark has had a hernia in the last couple of months, he didn't want to talk about it as he is a great captain and wanted to help the team.

"He played through the pain and with that pain and it became a bit worse.

"It's not because we are safe now and he doesn't want to play. I wanted him to play one more game but the surgeon said he should get it done.

"Kouyate has a wrist problem, he played through a lot of pain with injections. He was supposed to do that operation earlier.

"We made a plan for him to play as much as possible, but it became worse."

West Ham battling Everton in race to land £25million Swansea playmaker Glyfi Sigurdsson
Swansea want to keep hold of the Icelandic star but relegation could force them to sell this summer
The Mirror
20:57, 12 MAY 2017

West Ham will take on Everton in the battle for £25million Gylfi Sigurdsson. The Irons have had a long-standing admiration for Swansea's in-demand midfielder and want to sign him this summer. Slaven Bilic, who will remain in his post, is set to go on another recruitment drive when the transfer windows. His brief will be to ensure the club are competing in the top half of the table - as they were last year - next season.
Sigurdsson has been in outstanding form during the current campaign with nine Premier League goals and 12 assists in 36 games, despite Swansea's struggles. Paul Clement intends to fight to keep the 27-year-old, who is under contract at the Liberty until 2020. But Swansea could be forced to sell if they go down. Clement revealed last month that he believed Sigurdsson was one of the most underrated players in the Premier League. "When teams are lower down in the table, the individual players don't always get that recognition they deserve, but he is a player that's done really, really well," he said.
"Every day in training he is pushing, doing extra stuff to work on his technique, his finishing, set-plays.
"He is really alert and attentive in the video meetings, takes good care of his body... a very good professional."


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