With Steven Gerrard talking of his "hunger" for the league title and boss Rafael Benitez close to agreeing a new contract, West Ham could find this is not the time to be trying to end a 45-year wait for a win at Anfield.

West Ham arrive at Anfield on Monday night facing a relegation fight themselves and without a win at Anfield since Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters' scored in 1963 - when the Beatles' 'She Loves You' was top of the charts.

Reds boss Rafael Benitez said: "We have qualified for the next stage in Europe, now we have three months to concentrate on the league. We have only lost once in the Premier League this season and we must make sure we continue that level of form."

Benitez, believed to be close to a new deal at the club after further talks in recent days between the manager's agent and club owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett, knows a run of indifferent Liverpool performances must come to an end.

A poor display in their last home league game allowed Fulham to claim a 0-0 draw, and the midweek victory over Marseille in Europe was hardly convincing.

Now Liverpool have a run of nine league games before title rivals Chelsea visit Anfield on February 1, in which they should only be troubled when they travel to Arsenal this month and face Everton at home on January 19.

West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola has tipped Liverpool to be strong challengers for the Premier League title this season, but actually believes Monday's trip to Anfield has come at a good time.

"I don't think Liverpool are having their best moment," said the former Chelsea striker.

"But we are focused and we know we cannot afford any mistakes. We know a lot about them, we've seen them a lot. And I think we have prepared as well as we can so we'll see what happens.

"It could be a good year for them. They've already won two big games (against Chelsea and Manchester United) and that is important. It makes a big, big difference in your confidence. This year I've noticed they're playing better football so they're a team to watch."

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Topics:
#Arsenal
#Fulham
#Martin Peters
#Football
#Chelsea
#Premier League
#Geoff Hurst
#Manchester United
#Everton
#Steven Gerrard
#Gianfranco Zola
#Liverpool