West Ham United are back in action away to Liverpool at Anfield this evening, with David Moyes’ side coming into the match off the back of what was a frustrating draw with relegation strugglers, Southampton, on Sunday.
A second-half stunner from Declan Rice ultimately secured a point for the wasteful Hammers – having had 25 shots on the day – with the east London outfit having also had goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski to thank for producing a heroic display to keep the Saints at bay, particularly in the first half.
A notable villain in that disappointing stalemate had been that of full-back Vladimir Coufal, with the Czech Republic international once again letting his manager down with an underwhelming display in an attacking sense, having lost possession 21 times on the day, while also completing just two of his eight crosses.
The 30-year-old had only returned to the side as a result of a number of defensive injury absences, with that fact likely to ensure that he does, somewhat fortuitously, keep his place in the side tonight, with the backline still somewhat depleted amid concerns over both Craig Dawson and Kurt Zouma.
One man who may well lose his starting berth, however, is summer signing Emerson Palmieri, with the Italy international – who signed on a £15m deal from Chelsea in the recent window – having been withdrawn on the hour mark at St Mary’s.
The 28-year-old had seemingly been sacrificed in order to spark a formation change for the closing stages against Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side, with the Irons having been forced to deploy a back five initially as a result of their injury woes.
As broadcaster Tom Rennie suggested, however, that system simply “doesn’t work” for Moyes and co, with it potentially having been no coincidence that Rice’s strike came after the visitors had returned to a flat back four.
On the evidence of his withdrawal at the weekend, it would appear that Emerson will be resigned to the bench against the Merseyside outfit later today, with the former Roma man having done little last time out to warrant another start.
The 28-cap menace recorded just 39 touches and failed to complete a single successful cross, with the Evening Standard’s Malik Ouzia having notably stated that the left-back’s delivery was ‘below-par’, while also awarding the new addition just a 4/10 match rating.
That outing epitomised what has been a mixed start to life at the London Stadium for the former Blues man, having failed to provide a single goal or assist from his seven top-flight outings thus far this season.
While the £13.5m-rated ace does have two goal involvements in just four Europa Conference League group-stage games, the Brazil-born defender was notably criticised for his “schoolboy” error in the opening game against FC Steaua Bucharest, as per pundit Carlton Cole, having failed to track his man for the Romanian outfit’s first-half goal.
With concerns surrounding both his defensive and attacking output, it could well be too great a risk to start the 5 foot 9 man this evening, with Moyes needing to be ruthless and ditch the defender against the Reds.