Big Sam on: Liverpool

Sam Allardyce spoke to members of the local and national media at Chadwell Heath on Friday morning ahead of his side's Barclays Premier League encounter with Liverpool.

The Hammers' boss answered questions regarding how to stop the Reds' free-scoring attack, his side's fine recent form and the latest team news ahead of the clash.

Sam, what's the team news ahead of the weekend?

SA: "Kevin Nolan is ok. George McCartney is the biggest doubt. He came off with a hamstring problem on Monday night. It's probably caused by a bit of fatigue and the fact he played three games in a short space of time, so it looks as though he'll miss out on Sunday."

You've played against a lot of good sides down the years, how good is this Liverpool side, and how good will you have to be to beat them?

SA: "At the moment I think that the Liverpool team, in terms of its form and results, is operating at 100 per cent. Sometimes you can be playing really, really well and not achieve the results that those performances deserve, but certainly at the moment their results and performances make them the top team in the league. Other teams have slipped up and they've taken full advantage by producing the quality of football and the goals that they've got over the last period.

"That's been very good for Brendan Rodgers and his team. When you have two quality strikers of the ilk of Sturridge and Suarez then the rest of the team know that somewhere along the line they're going to put the ball in the back of the net if they provide the service for them. They haven't been too concerned about conceding a goal here and there. They seem to know that they'll score one more than the opposition if the opposition score against them."

In world terms, how good is Luis Suarez?

SA: "At the moment he now finds himself in the top two or three in the world. The commitment he showed to Liverpool and they showed to him, seems to have given him that extra impetus this season to go out and be even better than he was after the problems he had. The combination with Sturridge has flourished where that looked a little concerning in the early stages as neither wanted to play in a wide position. That seems to have all come together now and the rest of the team is providing the service behind them has grown in quality and confidence.

"People are emerging from an England point of view and it's very encouraging to see Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling emerge more than ever this year. We've got a big job on our hands, we know that, but after our performances and our results we're really looking forward to it. We've eased the pressure on ourselves and produced a great run of form and results at this period of time with six wins out of nine. That's two points per game, that's top-six form. We're in our best form of the season and hopefully that will make for a competitive game on Sunday afternoon."

David Sullivan said that if you'd had Andy Carroll fit all season that you'd be pushing for Europe. Is that a statement you agree with?

SA: "It's a possibility, yes. Since the turn of the year our change of form and results has improved and it's got better and better and now we're in the best run we've had since we've been back in the Premier League. We've got to take that confidence into Sunday's game and hopefully we can produce one of those performances that has happened many, many times in the Premier League this year.

"Just the other week Crystal Palace beat Chelsea and Manchester City lost to Sunderland, things like that can happen. We beat Tottenham away 3-0 when they were right up near the top so we hope it can be one of those days, but we certainly have to be on top, top form to get anything out of the game. Now there's less pressure on us, we're not safe yet, but we are feeling a lot more confident going into this game based on less fear from our league position going into this game."

Do you think Liverpool were too quick to pass on Andy Carroll?

SA: "He (Brendan Rodgers) made a decision early on and we were the first to try and resolve that situation. As disappointed as Andy was, that was the decision made by Brendan and you have to move on, you have to put it behind you. Stewart Downing also comes into the fray where he played a part in Liverpool last season and then joined us. The rest of the team and those two lads particularly will want to show how good they are on Sunday. Let's hope they play very, very well on Sunday because we need them to."

For the clubs that are at the bottom of the table scrapping for survival, how important are the fans in helping the team in that situation?

SA: "There becomes a fear factor in the players at this stage of the season and as a manager you have to override that fear factor. The fear factor is massive in trying to relax and make sure that your players are focussed on the task at hand. The key is to not be too intense and try to relax them because the whole club fears relegation and that spreads like a plague. You have protect the players from that because if they go out with fear then they can freeze and not produce what they're capable of. That's the biggest managerial tool you have to have at this stage of the season if you're down there. You have to promote the good things they do and remind them of what they're capable of and the good results they've produced. You have to get them ready to go out and fight for what they need to do to stay safely in the Barclays Premier League."

Ravel Morrison has been voted Sky Bet Championship Player of the Month for March, have you been keeping an eye on his progress?

SA: "We see Rav with our scouts and staff on a regular basis. He's right in the think of a different experience to the one he had last season when he was at Birmingham. He's got the real pressure on him now of staying in the Play-Off places which is nearly guaranteed now. He's scored a few goals so we're pleased to see him playing regularly and gaining more and more experience."