Premier League preview: West Ham v. Liverpool

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The Reds look to keep pace with Manchester City and Tottenham as they travel to the Olympic Stadium to take on West Ham United on Monday at 3:00 p.m. ET live on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com.

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Liverpool is facing a defensive crisis with Dejan Lovren‘s hamstring still acting up, Trent Alexander-Arnold remains sidelined with a knee injury, and Joe Gomez‘s fractured leg not healing properly. That left midfielder Jordan Henderson forced to deputize at right-back last time out in the 1-1 draw against Leicester City, but James Milner returns from his red card suspension to take over that role.

Jurgen Klopp has the Reds at the top of the Premier League table, but Man City’s victory over Arsenal on Sunday leaves them with just a two-point lead, needing points against the Hammers to restore the lead to a more significant cushion.

West Ham could have Marko Arnautovic ready to play despite a foot injury forcing him off against Wolves last time out. That would be a big boost for the Hammers who sit 12th in the table, a solid nine points above the relegation zone but also seven points behind the European places. Samir Nasri only made it two appearances before picking up an injury of his own, still out with calf problems that forced him out of the loss to Wolves last time out.

The Hammers have dropped their last two Premier League matches and four of their last seven, a trend they’ll want to reverse sooner rather than later given the difficult end-of-season fixture list.

What they’re saying

West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini on January transfer window: “The transfer window brought a lot of damage to this club. The focus went away from the team, and I’m not just talking about ​Marko Arnautovic, there were others considering leaving.”

Klopp on pressure of leading the league: “Yes, there is pressure. There was pressure last year, a lot of pressure when we played Man City away in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, and we dealt with it. There was pressure at Rome, there was pressure in so many moments in the Premier League. We had to win each game because Chelsea were constantly chasing us. That is the only way we can do it.”

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Prediction

West Ham’s poor form is not the way they’d like to enter the game against a Liverpool team earning results despite injury troubles. Those defensive woes will leave Liverpool vulnerable, and West Ham should find joy through Arnautovic, but ultimately Liverpool will prove too dynamic in a 3-1 victory.