Hammers pack a punch: Klopp

Despite doubts over key West Ham players such as midfielder Samir Nasri, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is still expecting to face "a really good football team".
Despite doubts over key West Ham players such as midfielder Samir Nasri, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is still expecting to face "a really good football team".PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • West Ham may have a raft of injury problems, with a number of key players either missing or rated touch and go, but Jurgen Klopp is not taking their trip to the London Stadium lightly as their opponents are "nearly a top-six side".

Manuel Pellegrini's men are like the walking wounded at the moment, with only 15 players confirmed fit as they host Premier League front runners Liverpool today.

To add to their troubles, Marko Arnautovic, Lukasz Fabianski, Aaron Cresswell and midfielder Samir Nasri are all doubts for the game, but Klopp is still expecting "a really good football team".

At his pre-match press conference, the Liverpool manager said: "(They have) the most experienced manager in the Premier League at the moment, really good signings in defence.

"They are experienced in the full-back positions, (Declan) Rice, fantastic development this season next to (Mark) Noble in midfield, experience and youth.

"Then you have the wings - (Felipe) Anderson, fantastic signing, and Arnautovic, an outstanding striker... That's a really good football team, that's what we have to be ready for."

  • 4

  • Goals West Ham conceded in each of their last four games (0-4, 1-4, 1-4, 0-4) against Liverpool.

Despite the praise lavished on the Hammers, it will be a surprise if the Reds do not pick up all three points on their travels, with the German backing his players to handle any "nervous moments" as the season enters squeaky-bum time.

He added: "Yes, there is pressure. There was pressure last year... There were nervous situations last year, two years ago, three years ago.

"That is part of the game of the football. People are in a little bit of doubt about this and that, I understand yes, but people understand in general.

"This club has not been champions for 29 years. So how can people sit there and watch it like (Manchester) City? I don't know how often they have been champions in the last five or six years.

"We really, the people really, desperately want it, that is how it is, they really want it (the league title). I get that and we try with all we have. But there are no guarantees. I am not a nervous person."

While Liverpool are not as short-handed as West Ham, they will not be able to call on Dejan Lovren, who has a hamstring injury.

Klopp also confirmed that fellow defender Joe Gomez, who has been out since Dec 5 with a fractured leg, will also not be returning to the fold any time before the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Bayern Munich on Feb 19 as his rehabilitation "is not exactly going how we want", with another operation likely.

REUTERS

WEST HAM V LIVERPOOL

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 04, 2019, with the headline 'Hammers pack a punch: Klopp'. Print Edition | Subscribe