Behrami wants birthday bonus

Valon Behrami will hope to celebrate his 25th birthday tonight with a memorable win away to Liverpool but he is not expecting any gifts from good friend Alberto Aquilani.

The Switzerland midfielder was imperious in an unfamiliar left-wing position in the 1-0 win against Sunderland last weekend and may well retain that role at the Reds. Should he find himself up against Aquilani, the two will have plenty to talk about.

Finally finding his feet at Liverpool, the Italy midfielder spent a significant time at Chadwell Heath with the club's medical staff last spring. He joined Behrami, who at the time was out with a knee problem, for an intense period of rehabilitation before he left AS Roma for Liverpool in the summer.

Behrami said he would not find it strange to be taking on an old mate. "We played against each other when we played for Lazio and Roma, so we are used to meeting each other in a big match. It will be a pleasure to see him, but I hope for us it is going to be good and a bad day for him!"

The Hammers favourite is in no doubt about his friend's quality, which he has started to show after a lengthy injury absence. "It has been hard for him, coming into English football. It is very different but he is a very good player and getting back from his injury, of which he is still in pain with sometimes.

"He has not yet been able to show all of his quality yet, but in the future he will be one of the best players for Liverpool. They haven't really seen what he can do. When he is a 100 per cent fit and gets used to English football, he will show it. In Italy, he was one of the best players."

"He needs to just get fit again. He has had bad injury and just needs some time to get in a good condition and I am sure he will be of quality to his team."

Behrami is set to be as important to his own side on Monday night and has spoken of a strong week's work on the training ground. He hoped the fact that few people were expecting the Hammers to take anything back to London - as was the case earlier this month in the draw at Everton - would work in their favour.

"We are confident. We have worked very well this week in training after a very good win at home, so the confidence is there. We know we are going there to play what is a very good team. The expectation is not on us, but we will go there to quietly do our job to try and get a good result.

"If we can work hard like in the last two games then hopefully we can get some more points and this will be good for us. To win on my birthday would be very nice."