West Ham vs. Liverpool
Venue: London Stadium
Kick off: 2:15pm
Liverpool’s quest to secure a top-four finish in the Premier League table will enter its penultimate week on Sunday afternoon when they travel to the London Stadium to face West Ham United.
At first glance, it would appear as though West Ham have little left to fight for in the final two games of the season.
Results last weekend mathematically secured their Premier League status for another season, with eight points now separating them from the relegation zone and only two outings remaining.
However, West Ham could still end up anywhere between eighth place and 16th, and a top-half finish would certainly strengthen the position of manager Slaven Bilic, who has faced questions over his future throughout a largely underwhelming campaign.
Bilic must first ensure that his players do not take their foot off the pedal having secured safety, though, and he will be urging them to continue what is already their longest unbeaten streak of the season until the end of the campaign in order to secure a top-10 finish.
Liverpool are certainly testing their fans’ nerves with their end-of-season form, repeatedly handing other teams opportunities to take the initiative in the top-four race.
A goalless home draw with Southampton last Sunday put Champions League qualification back in the hands of Manchester United, although their defeat to Arsenal later in the day means that Liverpool are once again in control of their own destiny heading into this weekend.
The pressure is growing on Jurgen Klopp’s side, though, and wins for Manchester City and Arsenal on Saturday leaves them in fourth place and just a point clear of the Gunners ahead of their trip to the London Stadium. Any slip-up in that scenario would mean that the ball is suddenly in Arsenal’s court.
With Arsenal’s victory over Southampton gives Liverpool a better idea of whether they need to go all out for a win or whether a draw might suffice should it come to that, but Klopp will be desperate to keep matters in his own hands whatever happens prior to kickoff.
West Ham Possible XI: Adrian, Fonte, Reid, Collins, Byram, Snodgrass, Fernandes, Cresswell, Ayew, Lanzini, Calleri.
Liverpool Possible XI: Mignolet, Clyne, Matip, Lovren, Milner, Can, Lucas, Wijnaldum, Coutinho, Sturridge, Lallana.