Liverpool travel to London to face West Ham United in the first Premier League fixture of 2016.
The Reds make the trip to the capital for the early kick-off despite playing in the evening fixture on Wednesday away to Sunderland. West Ham, meanwhile, have had two more days to prepare for the fixture.
Such poor scheduling makes the size of the task for Jurgen Klopp's side even greater, with the Reds seeking to avenge a 3-0 humbling in the reverse fixture at Anfield in August—a game that went a long way to sealing former manager Brendan Rodgers' fate.
This fixture last season saw the home side run out 3-1 victors, courtesy of goals from Winston Reid, Diafra Sakho and Morgan Amalfatino—West Ham were 2-0 ahead after just seven minutes.
It's another opportunity for Slaven Bilic to get one over the Merseysiders, having overseen that 3-0 win at Anfield and having also knocked the Reds out of the Europa League as coach of Besiktas earlier in 2015.
Date: Saturday, 2 January, 2016
Time: 12.45 p.m. GMT/7.45 a.m. ET
Venue: Upton Park, London
TV Info: BT Sport (U.K), NBCSN (U.S.)
After a run of five successive Premier League draws, West Ham recorded their first victory since October when they beat Southampton 2-1 last time out.
Liverpool have recovered from going four games without victory in all competitions to beat Leicester and Sunderland, both 1-0 and both courtesy of a Christian Benteke goal, in their last two outings over the festive fixtures.
Won 2-1 vs. Southampton
Drew 1-1 vs. Aston Villa
Drew 0-0 vs. Swansea City
Drew 0-0 vs. Stoke City
Drew 0-0 vs. Man United
Won 1-0 vs. Sunderland
Won 1-0 vs. Leicester City
Lost 3-0 vs. Watford
Drew 2-2 vs. West Bromwich Albion
Drew 0-0 vs. FC Sion (Europa League)
Key man Dimitri Payet returns to West Ham's squad after two months out with an ankle injury. Left-back Aaron Cresswell could also return.
Liverpool are without Martin Skrtel, James Milner and Divock Origi. Daniel Sturridge is training but not likely to be included in this fixture. Jordan Henderson limped off against Sunderland and his fitness isn't clear.
West Ham: Adrian, Jenkinson, Tomkins, Collins, Cresswell, Song, Kouyate, Lanzini, Noble, Zarate, E. Valencia.
Liverpool: Mignolet, Clyne, Lovren, Sakho, Moreno, Lucas, Can, Lallana, Firmino, Coutinho, Benteke.
Players to Watch
West Ham: Manuel Lanzini
Argentine winger Lanzini was one of the key architects of Liverpool's defeat to the Hammers at Anfield in August, scoring the opening goal after just three minutes and setting up the second to claim the man-of-the-match award on his debut.
Making his return from injury as a sub against Southampton last time out, the 22-year-old could make his first start since November.
The Hammers are expected to make his loan signing permanent for £7.4 million, as reported by Daniel Prescott for MailOnline.
Liverpool: Christian Benteke
After two goals in two games over the festive fixtures, Benteke will be key to Liverpool getting a result against the Hammers.
The Belgian forward hasn't convinced with his performances—missing two very presentable chances late on in each of the last two games—but his goals are winning games.
Key Battles: Finishing and Fitness
These two sides are separated by just one place and one point, with Liverpool in seventh and West Ham eighth. Goalscoring has been the issue for both sides, with injury-hit forwards the story for each.
Andy Carroll, the former Liverpool forward, came off the bench to score the winner against Southampton in the last game, but it's just three goals in the last five games for Bilic's side.
Liverpool have just four goals in their last five league games, with Benteke now their only fit forward owing to injuries to Origi, Sturridge and Danny Ings.
How each side takes their chances will be key to the outcome of this game.
Also key will be how Liverpool cope with two days' less time between games—will Klopp make more changes as a consequence and how will he use his substitutes? West Ham will be fresher and could call on Payet and Lanzini to run at Liverpool's tiring defence in the latter stages.
Odds (via Odds Shark)
West Ham: +303
Prediction: West Ham 1-1 Liverpool
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