A strengthened Liverpool side host an overhauled West Ham under Premier League winning manager Manuel Pellegrini in the opening game of their 2018/19 season at Anfield on Sunday.
Date: 12 August 2018
Game week 1
Kick-off: 14H30 (GMT+2)
Referee: A. Taylor
Assistants: G. Beswick, A. Nunn
Fourth official: P. Tierney
TEAM MATCHES WIN DRAW LOSS
Liverpool 115 62 29 24
West Ham 115 24 29 62
Liverpool 4-1 West Ham United 09/05/18 (Premier League)
Liverpool goalscorers: E. Can (29′), M. Salah (51′), R. Firmino (57′), S. Mane (77′)
West Ham United goalscorers: M. Antonio (59′)
Players to watch:
Liverpool fans have been dying to see midfielder Naby Keita in action. The Guinea international was signed last season but only joins the club now and could announce his arrival against the Hammers after a strong season in Germany with RB Leipzig.
Xherdan Shaqiri is also an interesting signing for the Reds and looked in form in pre-season.
West Ham made a rash of new signings, 10 in total, with Jack Wilshere from Arsenal eager to prove his critics wrong with a good season, while Felipe Anderson, a £36million signing from Lazio alongside fellow new boys Lucas Perez (£4m, Arsenal) and Carlos Sanchez (£4m, Fiorentina) will be under the microscope.
Liverpool’s new signings: Naby Keita (£52.75m, RB Leipzig), Fabinho (£43.7m, Monaco), Xherdan Shaqiri (£13m, Stoke), Alisson (£56m, Roma).
West Ham’s new signings: Jack Wilshere (free, Arsenal), Ryan Fredericks (free, Fulham), Issa Diop (£22m, Toulouse), Lukasz Fabianski (£7m, Swansea), Andriy Yarmolenko (£17.5m, Borussia Dortmund), Fabian Balbuena (£4m, Corinthians), Felipe Anderson (£36m, Lazio), Lucas Perez (£4m, Arsenal), Carlos Sanchez (£4m, Fiorentina).
Team form and manager quotes:
Liverpool won all but two of their pre-season friendly matches, losing to Dortmund in the International Champions Cup and drawing with Bury, alongside seven victories – since the Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid, and coming into this came on the back of a 3-1 defeat of Torino on Tuesday.
West Ham have enjoyed similar form in preparations for the new season, losing in Switzerland to Winterthur, and drawing with Preston North End, but beating five teams, including Angers last week.
Ahead of the game, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said: “We have to be in a championship mode. We jump into the water and we dive until we don’t have oxygen anymore. That’s the plan. A lot of people think because of the transfer window we will [challenge more] – but that’s not how it is.”
Pellegrini added: “I will try to play attacking football and score a lot of goals because, throughout my career, I have always been a manager who plays offensive football and tries to attack. But to attack, you must defend very well also, so we must be a balanced team.
“Last season, they had one of the worst defences in the Premier League, so this year we will try and be balanced while always thinking that we want to score one goal more than the opposition.”
Liverpool are without Dejan Lovren, while Fabinho is currently ill.
West Ham will monitor Ukraine winger Andriy Yarmolenko, who is suffering from hip and thigh issues.