Stewart Downing optimistic West Ham can beat Liverpool

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Stewart Downing is optimistic that West Ham can surprise a few people on Saturday when his former club Liverpool make the trip to Upton Park.

The Hammers are yet to pick up a single point in the two matches they have played at the Boleyn ground this campaign, but Downing believes Monday’s exciting performance at Hull has given them something to build on.

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Error prone

"If we can cut the errors out, I think we've got a really good chance against Liverpool," he said on the official club website.

"You saw what Aston Villa did on Saturday - they shut them out and Liverpool didn't really have many chances. That's what you've got to do because if you're sloppy against top teams they'll punish you.

"If we show the same passing and movement that we did on Monday, but cut the errors out, we can play against anyone. We need to get a result at home too."

Liverpool suffered a shock 1-0 defeat at Anfield last weekend against a resilient Villa, while they also had UEFA Champions League duties in midweek, so the Hammers could benefit from any lasting fatigue and draw inspiration from Villa’s performance.

However Brendan Rodgers’ side will want to bounce back after an underwhelming start to the Premier League season in which they have already lost twice.

Defensive mistakes

The Hammers carved out an abundance of opportunities against Hull but still had to come back from behind on two occasions to earn a point, when on another day they could have comfortably claimed all three.

Sam Allardyce sides are often solid at the back and give away very little in regards of time, space and goalscoring opportunities. But this campaign, in the midst of a ‘new attacking philosophy’ taking West Ham by storm, they can’t seem to buy a clean sheet.

This can be put down to the side’s desire to play pretty and keep the ball on the floor, which in the most part they did extremely well against Hull. It is a tricky style but once they become confident with it and cut out the mistakes they will be a tough team to beat and entertaining to watch.

New role

Downing was deployed in a central role on Monday night and was often the driving force to the Hammers attack; he claimed his first assist of the new season when he gave the ball to Valencia before he scored his wonder strike.

"I really enjoyed getting on the ball more [in a more central position]. It felt like I was in the game a lot. As long as I'm playing and doing well, I'm not really fussed what position it is, but I certainly enjoyed it on Monday."

Allardyce set the team up in a diamond formation with the 30-year-old in behind the two strikers, which looked to give the team the pace and fluidity on the ball that was often missing last term.

If the manager opts for the same lineup against Liverpool on Saturday we could be in for a thrilling match, but for the Irons to claim their first home win of the season they’ll have to ensure they remain solid at the back.

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England Football
Stewart Downing
West Ham United
Premier League

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