Mane's return a boost for trip to West Ham

LONDON • Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp may have Sadio Mane back against West Ham in the Premier League today, as his side seek to address their poor away form.

The Reds have won just one of five league games on the road this season, and were humbled 5-0 at Manchester City and 4-1 at Tottenham Hotspur.

"I'm happy that we have this record at home," said Klopp, whose side have won three and drawn two of their opening five league games at Anfield. "But if you want to be really successful you cannot leave points in other cities.

"Two of our away games were big defeats. But a lot of other teams will lose there."

The Reds have been without Mane since last month, when the influential forward suffered a hamstring injury.

Klopp confirmed that Philippe Coutinho remains sidelined but Mane and Georginio Wijnaldum could feature today.

"We will see how he (Mane) reacts. He could be ready for 20 or 25 minutes," the German told a press conference yesterday.

Given the injury doubts, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could make his first league start for Liverpool.

He began the Champions League game against Maribor in midweek, when the Reds won 3-0.

West Ham, without a win in their last three league games, are only one point above the relegation zone as pressure mounts on manager Slaven Bilic.

Adding to his problems, the team's defensive options have been decimated by injuries to Sam Byram, Jose Fonte and James Collins, while right-back Pablo Zabaleta is suspended. Winger Michail Antonio is also ruled out through injury.

But Bilic believes that West Ham can exploit Liverpool's defensive frailty - they have conceded 16 goals in 10 league games this season.

"They have that pace and quality up front and on the flanks," he told a news conference on Thursday.

"If you have a good transition and players in the right positions you can hurt them."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 04, 2017, with the headline 'Mane's return a boost for trip to West Ham'. Print Edition | Subscribe