Liverpool path for second in the Premier League is clear

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Liverpool can climb to second in the Premier League with a victory over West Ham at Anfield on Saturday. With Manchester United not taking part in Chelsea till the following day, a win over the Hammers would see Jurgen Klopp’s males go above their greatest rivals — for 24 hours, at the very least.

The subsequent three video games could possibly be pivotal for each golf equipment in the battle for second. Jose Mourinho’s staff have occupied that spot for most of the season and by no means actually been pressured from the chasing pack, however stuttering United kind has seen the hole between them and fifth-placed Tottenham reduce to simply 4 factors.

With Manchester City working away with the title, it is the four-way battle for the three remaining Champions League locations — together with the battle at the backside to remain in the division — that ought to present the most curiosity between now and May.

If Chelsea win on Sunday it could set issues up for the run in, particularly as Liverpool additionally face a visit to Old Trafford in a few weeks. Collecting six factors from house video games with West Ham and Newcastle would see the Reds go to in good condition and a win on March 10 would put them in pole place not solely to complete in the Champions League locations, however as runners-up.

But no matter Sunday’s outcome, there might be positives: A United win would see Chelsea lose floor, whereas a Chelsea victory strengthens Liverpool’s problem for second. A draw, in the meantime, would see the Reds make up two factors on each, offering they beat West Ham.

And that is the key; Liverpool must maintain their very own enterprise and keep away from the sort of foolish slip-ups which have plagued them over the years.

They did beat the Hammers comfortably in November. The Londoners had briefly threatened to make a sport of it after they received again to 2-1, however Liverpool went straight up the different finish and restored their two-goal benefit earlier than ultimately working out Four-1 winners.

Klopp switched his tactical method that day, reverting to a Four-Four-2 formation with Mohamed Salah taking part in as a central striker. Much of the injury was finished on the counter, however that tactic is unlikely to work as nicely this weekend as there is much less onus on West Ham, as the away facet, to assault in this sport.

David Moyes will set his staff as much as defend deep and counter assault if and when attainable. It’s an method Liverpool are used to however it is additionally one which they typically battle to beat.

Jurgen Klopp during Liverpool's Premier League game against Swansea.
Jurgen Klopp’s facet have had issue beating West Ham at Anfield in latest years.

Some supporters are already bracing themselves for a letdown after listening to Loris Karius speaking about Liverpool’s defensive enchancment and Dejan Lovren revealing that he has been serving to Virgil Van Dijk adapt to what Klopp needs from his defenders.

Things are going very nicely at the second however that is typically when Liverpool are at their most susceptible. Having crushed runaway leaders City in January, for instance, they misplaced to then bottom-of-the-table Swansea in their very subsequent sport.

And so, having destroyed Porto in their final outing, Liverpool should guard in opposition to that all-too-frequent letdown efficiency; West Ham at house has all the makings of a kind of “entice video games” if they don’t seem to be cautious.

Though they’ve received Four-Zero and Four-1 on their final two visits to West Ham, Klopp’s facet have had issue beating Saturday’s opponents at Anfield of late.

Two seasons in the past, Manuel Lanzini impressed the Hammers to a shock Three-Zero win on Merseyside and, when the groups met later that season in the FA Cup, West Ham received a replay at Upton Park. Last season’s assembly at Anfield ended in a 2-2 draw.

With Nathaniel Clyne again in coaching and on the method again to full health, Klopp has just about a full squad at his disposal. This is important given the considerations many had about how his gamers would have the ability to cope along with his high-intensity fashion of play.

The Liverpool supervisor has made extra adjustments than every other Premier League supervisor this season and to this point you’d need to say it has labored.

With no harm issues and everybody trying to be in good kind, Liverpool have a chance to push on between now and May, however how excessive they end in the desk may rely vastly on how they carry out over the subsequent three fixtures, beginning this Saturday vs. West Ham.

Dave Usher is one among ESPN’s Liverpool bloggers and the founding father of LFC fanzine and web site The Liverpool Way. Follow him on Twitter: @theliverpoolway.

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