32 min: Mane tries to get something going down the left, but after exchanging passes with Robertson, the flag goes up for offside. Liverpool’s early energy has dipped a little. West Ham are beginning to look a little more comfortable.
30 min: Despite the scoreline, David Moyes looks more concerned than Jurgen Klopp right now. But give it time.
28 min: Fornals bombs down the middle with extreme prejudice. He’s got options either side and Liverpool are panicking, but his pass to the right, intended for Bowen, is poor and intercepted by Robertson. That break was the result of Phillips getting into a tangle with Haller on the halfway line and taking himself out of the game for a crucial minute.
26 min: Fabianski spills an Alexander-Arnold cross and is very fortunate not to tee up Mane in front of an empty net. West Ham hack clear. Liverpool will be happy enough with the way they’re attacking; it’s threatening to click. Just not yet.
25 min: Mane tries to break through the middle. Cresswell comes across him and nicks the ball away. Mane goes over, but he’s not getting a penalty. The ball breaks to Henderson, who tries to guide a low shot into the bottom right. His effort whistles inches wide.
24 min: Gomez switches play to the right with a Van Dijkesque rake. Alexander-Arnold chests down and sends a cross-cum-shot into the box. Fabianski claims. The West Ham keeper hasn’t had much to do.
23 min: Another cross into the Liverpool box from the West Ham left. Phillips does well to clear under intense pressure from Haller. West Ham aren’t attacking often. But when they do commit men forward, they carry a threat.
21 min: Mane probes down the left. No way through. Salah and Alexander-Arnold combine crisply down the right. No way through again. This West Ham defensive block is going to be tricky to break down. The Hammers are a confident outfit at the minute. That win at Leicester changed everything.
19 min: Henderson tries to spring Alexander-Arnold clear down the right but Masuaku reads the danger intelligently and intercepts.
17 min: Coufal is forced to head out for a corner, under pressure from Mane and a long ball. Fornals heads half clear. Wijnaldum intends to return the ball but is stopped from shooting by Coufal. West Ham are keeping the hosts at arm’s length right now.
16 min: Jones wins the ball from Fornals but also stands on his toe. Both players are expecting a free kick to be awarded. The referee, standing by, doesn’t whistle. Liverpool play on through Alexander-Arnold down the right. His low cross is gathered by Fabianski, after a brief fumble, with Mane lurking. It’s a good game, this.
15 min: Robertson shovels the free kick towards the far post. Salah tries to keep it alive but can’t manage it. A poor delivery.
14 min: Liverpool probe patiently. Eventually West Ham get fed up and Balbuena comes through the back of Mane, just to the left of the box. Liverpool string out along the front of the West Ham penalty area.
12 min: Well this is interesting now! Not least because that unbeaten home league record is on the line. Liverpool are the best in the business right now in turning this sort of thing around; West Ham are the Premier League’s worst for dropping points from winning positions. Yep, this is going to be interesting.
GOAL! Liverpool 0-1 West Ham (Fornals 10)
Bowen is in acres in the centre circle. He spreads play to Cresswell on the left. Cresswell pings back for Masuaku, who curls into the box. Gomez’s clearing header is weak, falling to Fornals by the left of the D. Fornals isn’t closed down, and has time to thread a superb low shot into the bottom left. A shock lead, and so much for Liverpool’s fast start!
8 min: Phillips is penalised for clattering into Haller. A free kick. Coufal is sent scampering down the right. Phillips makes up for the foul by getting in ahead of Haller at the near post. A corner, which is ballooned straight out of play, the pressure released.
6 min: Alexander-Arnold’s crossfield ball looks like going out of play to the left of the West Ham goal, but Robertson somehow hooks it into the mixer. The ball hangs in swirling wind and confuses the hell out of Fabianski, who freezes, but Cresswell and Ogbonna are positioned well to deal with the situation.
4 min: Phillips heads Fabianski’s long ball clear. An early confidence booster for the debutant, on whom many pairs of eyes will be trained.
3 min: Alexander-Arnold creams a long pass down the right wing. Salah brings it down but can’t quite control, allowing Ogbonna to usher the ball out for a goal kick.
2 min: Now Mane has a determined run at the West Ham back line, nearly breaking through down the left. Liverpool have flown out of the blocks here. I wonder whether they’ve decided that attack is the best form of defence given the enforced new look of their back line?
1 min: West Ham are kicking towards the Kop in this first half. They soon give up possession, and Salah hares off down the right. He combines neatly with Firmino to break into the box, but the dream of a super-fast start evaporates when he loses control.
West Ham get the ball rolling … but not before everyone takes the knee. There’s no room for racism. Black lives matter.
The teams are out! Liverpool are in red, West Ham in fetching 1970s-throwback blue with claret stripe. Both teams wear the poppy of remembrance in honour of the fallen. There’s also a moment taken to remember Nobby Stiles. We’ll be off in a minute.
Jurgen Klopp on why he’s plumped for Nat Phillips. “Plenty of reasons! Your show is not long enough. It’s just he’s the most experienced of the guys. We did not need to put a midfielder in there. Rhys Williams did well [in midweek] but Nat is not on the list for the Champions League, so it was an easy decision [to rotate and play him today]. He looks good in training, a proper challenger, loves one-on-one situations and is good in the air. It’s a special day for him.” And what does he expect from young midfielder Curtis Jones today? “Defending like a soldier, attacking like a scouser, being cheeky, being free.”
David Moyes, who hasn’t won at Anfield in 16 attempts, speaks to Sky Sports. “The form the players have been in justifies going with the same team. Obviously we look at all the opponents and decide what’s right, but the form of the players is making it quite easy for me. Liverpool are a fantastic team. The crowd normally play such a part. Not to have them here, I hope we can try to take advantage of it.” He’s also looking forward to seeing how Sebastien Haller changes the dynamic of West Ham’s attack in Michail Antonio’s absence, and says he’ll not be rushing Saïd Benrahma into the team just for the sake of it, preferring to build up his fitness and bed him in slowly.
Jurgen Klopp’s solution to the Van Dijk / Matip / Fabinho problem: 23-year-old Nathaniel Phillips. He spent most of his time out on loan last season in the Bundesliga 2 with Stuttgart, but also made his Liverpool debut against Everton in the FA Cup. This will be his Premier League debut. Thiago is still recovering from injury, but Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino all return after being rested to varying degrees against Midtjylland during the week.
West Ham make one change to the XI that drew with Manchester City last week. Sebastien Haller comes in for the hamstrung Micail Antonio.
Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Phillips, Robertson, Jones, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Salah, Firmino, Mane.
Subs: Milner, Adrian, Minamino, Jota, Shaqiri, Rhys Williams, Neco Williams.
West Ham United: Fabianski, Coufal, Balbuena, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Masuaku, Bowen, Soucek, Rice, Fornals, Haller.
Subs: Yarmolenko, Benrahma, Lanzini, Snodgrass, Diop, Fredericks, Randolph.
Referee: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire).
On the face of it, this should be a shoo-in. Liverpool have won the last three stagings of this fixture by an aggregate score of 11-3. West Ham have only won here once in their last 47 attempts, a run stretching back to 1963. Liverpool have won 28 of their last 29 Premier League games at Anfield, and if they avoid defeat today, they’ll equal their club record of 63 home league games unbeaten.
But! West Ham’s sole victory at Anfield in the last 57 years was a 3-0 rout in 2015, when Martin Skrtel and Dejan Lovren showcased a contemporary dance routine still talked about in hushed tones today. It’s probably pushing the point to say Liverpool wouldn’t mind one or either of them back for this match, given the current crisis in the centre of their defence, but not by much. Joe Gomez was also in Liverpool’s back four that day, for a start.
West Ham are in good nick. They’re unbeaten in four, and come off the back of a very solid performance against Manchester City last weekend. Michail Antonio will be a big miss, but Said Benrahma could make his debut, and David Moyes will be eager to get one over on Liverpool, having previously managed their two biggest rivals. A shock win wouldn’t be that shocking.
The table’s set for a delicious supper of soccer, then … with both a Liverpool and Hammers win more than possible, plus everything in between. It’s on!
Kick off: 5.30pm BST.