Premier League: Liverpool vs. West Ham United
Liverpool will face West Ham United tonight at Anfield aiming to keep alive its hopes of finishing fourth in the Premier League in order to qualify for next season’s UEFA Champions League.
The Reds had a terrible season so far and most likely manager Rafa Benitez will not be part of the team next term. They currently lie in seventh spot, eight points off CL qualification with just four games remaining. And to make things worse, Spain international striker Fernando Torres will not play for the rest of the season after undergoing surgery on his right knee.
It is estimated the 26-year-old from Fuenlabrada will be sidelined for at least six weeks, which means his presence in the World Cup finals in South Africa is by no means assured. He has also expressed his disappointment at being unable to face former club Atletico Madrid in this Thursday’s Europa League semi-final.
“I really wanted to play against Atletico,” Torres told his official website. “I wanted to come back and say hello to people because for me this tie is special.”
Torres started his career with Los Colchoneros, progressing through their youth ranks. He made his professional debut in 2001 and finished his career with the club having scored 75 goals in 174 La Liga appearances.
David Ngog will once again lead the forward line with Torres out injured. The 21-year-old French striker has been thrust into the spotlight much early than expected due to the striker shortage at Liverpool.
“Torres is a big asset but I like David Ngog,” Hammers boss Gianfranco Zola said in an interview. “He can be a problem for us.”
The match kicks-off at 20:00 GMT (3:00 p.m. ET).
UPDATE: The Reds defeated West Ham 3-0 to stay in contention for European qualification, thanks to goals from Yossi Benayoun and David Ngog plus an own-goal from Hammers goalkeeper Robert Green.
[Image via Flickr]