West Ham face defensive injury crisis ahead of Premier League clash against Liverpool
West Ham face a defensive injury crisis and are also without Michail Antonio for the visit of Liverpool.
Antonio, the fall guy from last weekend’s 2-2 draw against fellow strugglers Crystal Palace, will not be in the squad for Saturday’s evening kick-off.
The winger, who faced criticism after his decision to cross the ball rather than keep it in the corner led to Palace’s 97th-minute equaliser, has a slight hamstring injury according to manager Slaven Bilic.
The Hammers also have to face Liverpool’s potent attack without a recognised right-back as Pablo Zabaleta is suspended and Sam Byram injured, while centre-halves Jose Fonte and James Collins are crocked as well.
“We have four or five injuries and one suspension,” said Bilic. “Sam will be out four or five weeks but Antonio should be fit for Watford after the international break.
“It happened so fast. Before Palace we had all our players fit bar James Collins. Then Winston Reid was injured in the run-up and Aaron Cresswell went out in the game against Palace.
“But Reid and Cresswell are fit and they trained so they should be fit for Liverpool.”
Last week Bilic survived the latest in a long line of supposed ‘matches to save his job’, this time knocking Tottenham out of the Carabao Cup before at least taking a point from Selhurst Park.
But a crisis is never far away at the London Stadium these days and the Croat admits the visit of Liverpool is another match crucial to his future.
“I don’t see that (Palace) goal in relation to my position,” he added.
“I was frustrated and angry at losing the chance to get points. It was unbelievably important.
“That kind of goal is hard to swallow. It was a very, very cheap goal. It should not have happened at this level of football.
“A number of people analysing it blamed Antonio and of course he had his head in his hands afterwards. He took the blame for the goal.
“Now yes, of course I need something personally. I am in a position I don’t want to be in. I have been there for a quite a time now.
“Every win, even in the cup but especially in the league, it will take us and me out of that position and put us in a more comfortable position. Every game you don’t win puts you in a worse position.
“I don’t divide me from the team. We are all in the same boat. We have to think about Liverpool, as it being a very important game, not about my position.
“I do think I can turn it around, otherwise I wouldn’t be here. West Ham more important than any individual and that counts me too.”