Bilic left in limbo, Moyes in the wings

Above: A dejected West Ham manager Slaven Bilic after the hosts were defeated 4-1 by Liverpool. Left: After scoring his side's fourth goal, Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (centre) embraces team-mate Emre Can while the despair is evident in the body langua
After scoring his side's fourth goal, Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (centre) embraces team-mate Emre Can while the despair is evident in the body language of West Ham's Winston Reid.PHOTO: REUTERS
Above: A dejected West Ham manager Slaven Bilic after the hosts were defeated 4-1 by Liverpool. Left: After scoring his side's fourth goal, Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (centre) embraces team-mate Emre Can while the despair is evident in the body langua
A dejected West Ham manager Slaven Bilic after the hosts were defeated 4-1 by Liverpool.PHOTO: REUTERS

Dire situation for embattled West Ham boss as his team face prospect of relegation battle

LONDON • Liverpool's 4-1 thrashing of West Ham United in the Premier League on Saturday has sealed Slaven Bilic's fate.

The Hammers have decided to sack the Croatian manager and are expected to appoint David Moyes today to oversee what is threatening to be a relegation battle.

Bilic, whose West Ham contract expires next summer, looked a broken man on the sidelines as Liverpool recorded their biggest away league victory of the season at the London Stadium.

"It is a very difficult situation for me," he said after a second straight heavy defeat at home following the 0-3 loss to Brighton.

He was undermined by a sloppy West Ham display that saw the hosts fall behind after being caught out from their own corner.

Mohamed Salah finished off Sadio Mane's counter-attack and Joel Matip doubled Liverpool's lead.

THE PRESSURE IS MOUNTING

I'm the one taking the bullets all the time, when I have to and when I don't have to.

SLAVEN BILIC, after West Ham's 4-1 defeat by Liverpool, their sixth loss at the London Stadium.

Even when Manuel Lanzini gave West Ham a second-half lifeline, Liverpool added their third within 55 seconds before Salah completed the demolition job.

"We conceded a couple of goals that had nothing to do with our game plan," Bilic said. "The first from our corner and the second from theirs. It's not the first time.

"We came back to 2-1 but that third goal was very naive. We are conceding too many goals in that manner. I'm the one taking the bullets all the time, when I have to and when I don't have to."

Moyes is set to take over a side who are winless in their last four league games. West Ham have nine points and could find themselves in the relegation zone if Everton beat Watford yesterday.

The Scot has not managed a side since he resigned from Sunderland after the team finished bottom of the Premier League last season.

However, West Ham's owners have long admired his achievement at Everton and wanted to talk to him before they appointed Bilic but he did not want to leave Spanish club Real Sociedad at the time.

Moyes is understood to have wanted Phil Neville as his assistant - having worked with him at Everton and employed him as a first-team coach at Old Trafford - but the former defender's preference is to find a managerial job.

Moyes is expected to be given a contract until the end of the season but it is possible it may be for a longer period with a summer break clause.

While Bilic waited for the sword to fall, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp silenced his own critics for the moment.

Assailed by questions about his tactics after Liverpool were crushed 4-1 by Tottenham at Wembley last month, Klopp has overseen a three-match winning run in all competitions.

"I'm not sure how far Wembley is from here but I felt quite different this time," he said.

The German, criticised for his gung-ho game plan against Spurs, praised his players for adapting to a new system as they went 4-4-2 for the first time.

"(The system) looked maybe from the beginning like a very offensive line-up," he said. "We had a different idea - we wanted to defend deeper, more compact and using the space which we had for the counter-attacks."

THE TIMES, LONDON, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 06, 2017, with the headline 'Bilic left in limbo, Moyes in the wings'. Print Edition | Subscribe