Liverpool's defensive injury crisis worsened again on Tuesday night, but Jurgen Klopp's men nevertheless managed to march to victory as they took control of their Champions League group.
Goals from Diogo Jota and Mohamed Salah saw Liverpool put Midtjylland to the sword in the second round of European fixtures, but the victory was overshadowed by makeshift centre-back Fabinho being forced off through injury in the first half, with Jurgen Klopp facing a dilemma in defence with Virgil van Dijk also out for the long term.
However, the champions have made a winning start to life without the influential Dutchman and are now searching for their fourth win on the bounce, although Klopp's men were made to work for their most recent victory in the Premier League - a narrow 2-1 triumph over a struggling Sheffield United side last weekend.
Liverpool's quest for back-to-back Premier League titles is sure to be significantly hampered should Van Dijk not take to the pitch again this season, but the Reds have made a strong start to proceedings overall and sit second at this early stage - only Merseyside rivals Everton have picked up more points after six matches.
Furthermore, Liverpool's extraordinary record at Anfield has seen the Reds go unbeaten in the league on familiar territory since a 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace in April 2017, but given the recent form of West Ham, the visitors may feel ever-so slightly optimistic about their chances of stopping the Reds in their tracks when they make the journey to Merseyside this weekend.
West Ham stretched their unbeaten run in the Premier League to four matches with a hard-fought draw against Manchester City last weekend, with Phil Foden rescuing a point for the Citizens after Michail Antonio's brilliance shone through with an acrobatic opener in the capital.
The Hammers boast a remarkable set of results against European-chasing sides recently - it would be difficult to forget their astonishing late comeback against Tottenham Hotspur in a hurry - while David Moyes's men have also taken maximum points from encounters with Leicester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers this season.
Those victories were not just narrow triumphs by a one-goal margin either; West Ham dominated the Midlands outfits and are sure to be brimming with confidence ahead of their trip to Anfield, with Moyes's men losing just one of their last six games in all competitions.
After an unconvincing start to the season with defeats to Newcastle United and Arsenal, the Hammers are certainly on the rise and will feel confident of giving an injury-plagued Liverpool a good run for their money at the weekend - especially seeing as the champions have conceded the joint-most goals in the top flight so far.
However, West Ham are winless against the Reds since the 2015-16 FA Cup, and Liverpool have won six of the last seven meetings with the capital side in the Premier League.
Liverpool Premier League form: WWWLDW
Liverpool form (all competitions): LLDWWW
West Ham United Premier League form: LLWWDD
West Ham United form (all competitions): WWLWDD
With Van Dijk out for the long term, and question marks hanging over the heads of Fabinho and Joel Matip regarding their availability, Rhys Williams could be handed his first Premier League start alongside Joe Gomez in the heart of the Liverpool defence.
Jordan Henderson's half-time substitution raised concern among the Liverpool faithful, but Klopp confirmed that the change was planned and the Englishman is fine for Saturday, although Thiago Alcantara and Naby Keita are both still doubtful.
The formidable attacking trio of Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino were all benched in midweek, which all but guarantees their inclusion in the starting lineup this weekend, although Salah was seen limping down the tunnel after Tuesday's win.
With regards to West Ham, Antonio had to be forced off early on in the second half against Man City, and the 30-year-old will miss out the trip to Anfield.
Last weekend's game came too soon for Brentford loanee Said Benrahma to feature, but the attacker could be given the green light to face Liverpool if he is up to speed.
Any alterations whatsoever are unlikely should Moyes have a full squad to pick from, but Sebastien Haller is set to spearhead the Hammers attack in Antonio's absence.
Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Williams, Robertson; Henderson, Milner, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane
West Ham United possible starting lineup:
Fabianski; Coufal, Balbuena, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Masuaku; Bowen, Rice, Soucek, Fornals; Haller
We say: Liverpool 2-1 West Ham United
Any team would struggle with the loss of one of their top defenders, and Liverpool's growing list of injuries is certainly a major concern for Klopp amid an unforgiving fixture schedule. The Reds are facing a challenging fixture against a West Ham side who have made a habit of taking points off of some of the big sides recently, but we still think the champions will do enough to get over the line.
Top betting tipOur expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a home win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home Win:data
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