sport news Why West Ham could beat Liverpool this weekend for the first time since 2016

It's been a little while since West Ham last got the better of Liverpool.

You need to go back to February 2016, during Jurgen Klopp's first season in charge, and a fourth round FA Cup replay at Upton Park.

That night saw Angelo Ogbonna head home West Ham's winning goal in the very last minute of extra time after Michail Antonio and Philippe Coutinho were earlier on target.

West Ham last got the better of Liverpool when Angelo Ogbonna scored the extra time winner in an FA Cup fourth round replay at Upton Park in 2016

West Ham last got the better of Liverpool when Angelo Ogbonna scored the extra time winner in an FA Cup fourth round replay at Upton Park in 2016 

Ogbonna celebrates his late winner in 2016 but it's been a tale of woe for West Ham since

Ogbonna celebrates his late winner in 2016 but it's been a tale of woe for West Ham since

Since then it's largely been a tale of woe for the Hammers, who have shipped four goals on four of eight subsequent meetings in the Premier League.

But as West Ham prepare to make the trip to Anfield on Saturday evening, they do so with a greater confidence than usual that they can come away with victory.

We examine some of the reasons why West Ham are optimistic ahead of their visit to the reigning champions.

LIVERPOOL'S LEAKY DEFENCE

There has been a vulnerability about Liverpool's back line of late that just wasn't there for most of their title-winning campaign.

Klopp's side have conceded the joint-most goals in the Premier League so far this season with 14 - equivalent to struggling West Bromwich Albion and Fulham.

As we know, seven of those 14 conceded came in one game against Aston Villa, a performance of such shambolic defending it raised genuine concerns as to whether Liverpool were up to defending their title.

Liverpool's defence has looked far more vulnerable than usual during the early season

Liverpool's defence has looked far more vulnerable than usual during the early season

Liverpool's 7-2 thrashing at the hands of Aston Villa sent shockwaves through the league

Liverpool's 7-2 thrashing at the hands of Aston Villa sent shockwaves through the league

To apply some context, they only conceded 33 goals in the entirety of last season and are well on their way to that total in the space of just six games this time around with just one clean sheet so far.

Opponents who would have been daunted when confronted with Liverpool's defence last season now sense weakness and West Ham will be no exception.

MADE WORSE BY AN INJURY CRISIS

This vulnerability is partly - but not fully as some problems already existed - explained by a series of injury blows in recent games.

Obviously the major absentee is Virgil van Dijk, who is likely to be ruled out for the remainder of the season and has just had surgery on the acute cruciate knee ligament injury suffered at Everton two weeks ago.

Then Joel Matip picked up an injury in the same game that will keep him sidelined for West Ham's visit, leaving Joe Gomez as Liverpool's only fit centre-half.

Injury issues in defence and midfield are causing something of a headache for Jurgen Klopp

Injury issues in defence and midfield are causing something of a headache for Jurgen Klopp

Key defender Virgil van Dijk is likely to miss the remainder of the season with a serious knee injury caused by this challenge by Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford two weeks ago

Key defender Virgil van Dijk is likely to miss the remainder of the season with a serious knee injury caused by this challenge by Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford two weeks ago

Fabinho, who had been slotting in as a defender, is the latest Liverpool injury casualty

Fabinho, who had been slotting in as a defender, is the latest Liverpool injury casualty 

Midfielder Fabinho was expected to slot in until Matip returned to fitness but he suffered a hamstring problem in the midweek

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