Preview: Liverpool vs. West Ham United

Brendan Rodgers throws the ball back into play
© PA Photos
Sports Mole looks ahead to this Sunday's Premier League encounter at Anfield between Liverpool and West Ham United.

Liverpool will have Europe in their sights when they welcome West Ham United to Anfield for a Premier League battle this Sunday.

While Champions League qualification is a somewhat distant hope for the Reds, they could secure a place in next season's Europa League if they manage to close the current five-point gap to fifth.

The home side head into this fixture on the back of a comeback victory over Aston Villa last Sunday, while West Ham have been dealt a slight blow due to the absence of Andy Carroll.

The striker, who netted a brace in last weekend's 3-1 win over West Bromwich Albion, will be ineligible to play against the Reds as he is only at Upton Park on a loan deal from Merseyside.

The Hammers are expected to retain their Premier League status due to stretching six points above the relegation zone, so avenging their 3-2 defeat to the Reds in the reverse fixture will be at the forefront of their minds.

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers could be without youngster Raheem Sterling due to a thigh injury, while the Hammers could line up with Carlton Cole up front.

Recent form

Liverpool: WLWWW

West Ham: WLWLL

Possible starting lineups

Liverpool: Reina; Johnson, Carragher, Agger, Enrique; Gerrard, Lucas; Coutinho, Henderson, Downing; Suarez

West Ham: Jaaskelainen; Demel, Reid, Collins, O'Brien; Diame, O'Neil; Jarvis, Nolan, Vaz Te; Cole

Sports Mole says: 2-0

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers during the match against Zenit St Petersburg on February 21, 2013
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