Match thread: Liverpool vs West Ham

Liverpool-v-West-Ham-Club-Crests

Well here we are, the wait is almost over and normal footballing service is about to resume. In fact the Utd bus service already started running again. This season though, we are aiming our sights higher than just normal. We have them pointed firmly at the very top of the table and key to that, will of course be winning a heck of a lot of matches but most definitely, winning all the ones which we should be winning. Starting with ironing out the hammers tomorrow.

For their part, West Ham will be looking to make a substantial improvement on their dismal showing last season and they have a new manager and quite a few new players to help them do so. Manuel Pellegrini may not have quite delivered what City's owners demanded but make no mistake, he's a top class manager, is sure to improve West Ham, and will no doubt be looking to make a statement of intent against us.

Over the summer the Irons brought in Jack Wilshere, Felipe Anderson, Carlos Sanchez and Andriy Yarmolenko. All good solid players. Yarmo for instance displays oodles of world class height and with existing players as Marko Arnautovic, they now have real quality throughout their team. Really though, we have better quality throughout ours and our own summer additions should help massively.

Talking of our new players, how quickly they settle will be of massive importance. Having done our transfer business early, we've had a great pre-season and that will hopefully help Keita and Co hit the Anfield turf running. With the best will in the world though, there surely has to be a period of adjustment, as there is every time you tinker with a team. We haven't made whole sale changes, so with luck, we'll be able to keep a high enough standard to win games from the get go, and will soon see that adjustment result in us being an even better team than last season.

Injury wise, it looks like we have a bit of a headache in defence - Lovren missed pre-season due to an extended break after the World Cup final, Klavan is out injured and Matip and Gomez are both facing last minute fitness tests. So after recently hailng the virtues of our squad strengthening this summer, it still seems we have areas we're not quite set in. In this case we look a little light on centre backs.

Other than that, we have a healthy squad, with the only notable exception being our new Brazilian signing, Fabinho, who is reportedly suffering illness. To finish the talk of our fitness, I want to quote Jurgen's reply when asked about Jordan Henderson: "Hendo is full of power but hasn't been back long. It’s Hendo though. You always think about him"

As far as I can see, West Ham have a mostly fit squad apart from two of their better players: Manuel Lanzini, who was injured in the World Cup and has just undergone knee surgery, and perhaps thankfully for us, Yarmolenko is a doubt due to ongoing hip and thigh issues.

So then, at the time of writing there is just 24hrs to go until kick off and we must go all out to win this game and secure a good start to our 2018/19 season. As readers will know, I ummed and ahhed a bit over writing this match thread - we are all extremely worried about Bev and it is an absolute sickener to be going into this fresh new season with things so very dire for her. Something she said to me though, multiple times: we must keep on supporting The Reds, and that is exactly what we are going to do.

Also Bev told me of how proud she is to be a Liverpudlian and of what a great City Liverpool is, and I know a win tomorrow, will reverberate joy throughout it's streets, including the LadyLiverBird household. And therein lies just how much football means, to all of us. We all know Shankly's great quote about how important it is, although I do believe that was said slightly tongue in cheek but the thing is this - for ninety three minutes each week, it takes us out of the daily grind. Away from our troubles and to a place filled with passion, emotion and heart.

Our players should be very proud to be wearing those Red shirts and I hope they will show the courage and determination that the people of Liverpool and ordinary folk who support them the world over, show on a daily basis. If they can get close to replicating the extraordinary folks like our beautiful friend, then they can start etching our name on that trophy already.

YNWA Bev x YNWA all.


Kick off: 1.30PM BST

TV stations: Sky Sports, NBC, Star Sports 1 India, beiN Sports 1 Indonesia, Sportsnet World; Sporstnet Ontario

Teams:

Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson, Milner, Wijnaldum, Keita, Mane, Salah, Firmino.

Subs: Karius, Clyne, Fabinho, Henderson, Sturridge, Lallana, Shaqiri.

West Ham: Fabianski, Ogbonna, Masuaku, Rice, Balbuena, Fredericks, Anderson, Wilshere, Noble, Antonio, Arnautovic

Subs: Adrian, Zabaleta, Diop, Obiang, Snodgrass, Yarmalenko, Chicharito.

Re-watch the match here.
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