If Liverpool fans had thought that their club had turned a corner after beating champions Chelsea, their draw at Wigan, paired with a dispiriting defeat at Stoke, hammered home to the Anfield faithful how far the red half of Merseyside has fallen in the last 18 months.
If you add Liverpool’s concerns about recent results to the news that Steven Gerrard will miss as much as a month of the season with a hamstring injury picked up in England’s friendly defeat to France, Roy Hodgson would be forgiven for cursing the day he agreed to leave the comfy confines of Craven Cottage.
If there were one team, however, that Liverpool would like to be taking on this weekend, West Ham must surely be it. Still bottom of the Premiership, the Hammers have struggled to match Avram Grant’s promises to owners Davids Gold and Sullivan that the London club would be clear of relegation danger by the start of 2011.
Failing to win at home against Blackpool last weekend was a big blow for West Ham’s immediate prospects, and whilst performances have slowly improved there have been few points gained over recent weeks. In a meeting of two struggling clubs, Liverpool, at home, should have enough to see of West Ham without their captain- challenges ahead however promise to be tougher.