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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

BPL Midweek Preview - Liverpool Vs West Ham



Steve Finnan's groin problem will keep him out again, but Alvaro Arbeloa may start in place of Skrtel, allowing Carragher to return to his preferred position of centre-back. Peter Crouch and Yossi Benayoun are pushing for recalls - we'll have to see whether Benítez sticks closely to the XI used at Bolton or opts to rotate with Newcastle and Inter in mind. Pennant, Agger and Voronin are still injured.

Likely XI (4-2-3-1): Reina - Arbeloa, Carragher, Hyypia, Aurélio - Mascherano, Alonso - Kuyt, Gerrard, Babel - Torres

West Ham

Julien Faubert took a knock at the weekend and it doubtful for the Anfield trip. Nobby Solano may start on the right instead. The Hammers’ injury list remains lengthy: Craig Bellamy misses the return to his former club, while Bowyer, Parker and Etherington are also sidelined. Alan Curbishley refused to criticise his players after the Chelsea game and should keep faith with most, though Dean Ashton may get a recall.

Likely XI (4-4-1-1): Green – Neill, Ferdinand, Upson, McCartney – Solano, Mullins, Noble, Ljungberg – Boa Morte – Ashton


Liverpool – Dirk Kuyt
As is always the way with Liverpool we can’t be totally sure he’ll play, but nobody can deny that Dirk Kuyt has upped his game in recent weeks. The Dutchman could never be accused of laziness – it’s clear he always tries hard – but he appears have become that much more clinical in recent outings.
Goals against Barnsley and then against Inter have boosted his confidence, as has a more regular run in the side, and by hitting the bar at Bolton he indirectly set-up Liverpool’s second goal. If Liverpool struggle to find the net early everybody will be looking to Torres, but Kuyt has a chance to prove he can deliver important goals too.

West Ham – Freddie Ljungberg
The Swede played a prominent role in a few smash-and-grab Anfield victories during his time with Arsenal. His West Ham career hasn’t taken off in the desired manner yet, partly due to injury, but Ljungberg nevertheless bagged his first goal of the season against Birmingham a few weeks back and – after failing to do so on Saturday – will seek to prove he’s still useful against big-name opposition.

Liverpool still have some tough fixtures to come and consequently need to put together a run of results now. Home win.

Liverpool 2-0 West Ham United