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Liverpool-West Ham United Preview

AP - Sports

Premier League leaders Liverpool will be looking to make it nine consecutive wins as they travel to Upton Park to face West Ham United on Sunday.

Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool (22-5-5) head into the latest round of matches two points clear of Chelsea at the top of the table, with the title race set to go down to the wire. A win over West Ham would be a great start to a month that sees both Chelsea and fellow-title challengers Manchester City travel to Anfield, and the Reds should be brimming with confidence after a 4-0 demolition of Tottenham Hotspur a week ago.

"Our victory over Tottenham was psychologically our best victory of the season because of some of the background noise going into the game about pressure," said Rodgers. "The level that we played at in terms of control and calmness of performance shows the confidence in the team."

That victory over Spurs made it eight straight league wins since a 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion at the start of February, with Rodgers' side slamming home 30 goals in that run. Such sparkling form makes the Merseyside club marginal favourites for the title, but the manager is not getting carried away just yet.

"Our objective was always to qualify for the Champions League. If we trace it back to the beginning of the season everyone recognised that was going to be a really difficult task for us," said Rodgers. "We're in a great position, of course, at this moment but the finish line is quite a way out. People are looking at it with six games to go and thinking it's nearly there but there's still a way to go and there's still a lot of work to do."

West Ham (10-7-15) have recorded two crucial 2-1 wins in their last two games, giving them six victories in the last nine league matches to pull themselves away from the relegation scrap. Despite the importance of the victories, the style of play preferred by Sam Allardyce has not gone down well with the club faithful, with the players booed off by the fans after both games.

The West Ham manager will be hoping that two former Liverpool players perform well against their old club on Sunday to raise the mood around the club. Both Liverpool's record signing Andy Carroll and Stuart Downing are expected to start for the Hammers.

"Liverpool made a decision early on (about Carroll) and we were the first to try and resolve that situation," said Allardyce, referring to Liverpool's decision to sell their biggest signing in club history. "As disappointed as Andy was, that was the decision made by Brendan and you have to move on, you have to put it behind you. Stewart Downing also comes into the fray where he played a part in Liverpool last season and then joined us.

"The rest of the team and those two lads particularly will want to show how good they are on Sunday. Let's hope they play very, very well on Sunday because we need them to."

Liverpool's only injury absentee is fullback Jose Enrique, whereas West Ham have fitness doubts over Kevin Nolan (back), George McCartney (hamstring), James Collins (calf) and Joey O'Brien (shoulder).

West Ham were on the receiving end of a 4-1 shellacking when these teams met at Anfield in December. Guy Demel scored an own goal to give Liverpool a halftime lead, and a Luis Suarez brace and Mamadou Sakho effort earned the Reds a comfortable win. Liverpool outshot West Ham 32-8, restricting the Hammers to just a single shot on target.

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