Match points: Liverpool v West Ham Key battles

Nathaniel Clyne
Nathaniel ClynePHOTOS: ACTION IMAGES, REUTERS
Dimitri Payet
Dimitri PayetPHOTOS: ACTION IMAGES, REUTERS
Jordan Henderson
Jordan HendersonPHOTOS: ACTION IMAGES, REUTERS
Mark Noble
Mark NoblePHOTOS: ACTION IMAGES, REUTERS
Roberto Firmino
Roberto FirminoPHOTOS: ACTION IMAGES, REUTERS
Winston Reid
Winston ReidPHOTOS: ACTION IMAGES, REUTERS

Key battles

Nathaniel Clyne v Dimitri Payet

Clyne missed the League Cup game against Stoke but should be fit enough to displace Jon Flanagan at right-back. Payet was exceptional as a No. 10 earlier in the season but flourished on the left wing in last week's 2-2 draw with Manchester City. He has the skill to suggest Liverpool should have tried to sign him.

Jordan Henderson v Mark Noble

A clash of the captains. Noble was wrongly red-carded at Anfield in August, a decision that was overturned, but had played superbly until then. A passer dovetails well with more physical players, in Alex Song and Cheikhou Kouyate. Liverpool skipper Henderson is yet to get back to his best after returning from injury.

Roberto Firmino v Winston Reid

Reid is an old-fashioned centre-back and one of the best in the business. Rather than putting Christian Benteke up against him, Juergen Klopp must be tempted to pick Firmino as a false nine. The Brazilian's movement is excellent and at times he leaves central defenders with no one to mark. He has also scored four goals in his last four games.

TEXT: RICHARD JOLLY

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 30, 2016, with the headline 'Match points: Liverpool v West Ham Key battles'. Print Edition | Subscribe