Thursday 27 Aug
Updated Thursday 27 Aug 10:00
Preview

Slaven Speaks - Liverpool

Slaven Bilic faced the media on Thursday morning ahead of Saturday's trip to Liverpool.

The Hammers will look to end a two-game losing streak when they head to Anfield and the manager revealed Diafra Sakho should shake off a groin injury in time to make the squad.

Is Diafra Sakho available for selection this weekend?

SB: "We are hoping he will be. He felt a siffness in his adductors after Saturday's game, and he trained individually, but we expect him [to be okay] because it is not something major. We are expecting him to train with us tomorrow and then to be in the squad for the game on Saturday."

Putting the physical aspect to one side, do you have any concerns mentally?

SB: "No. I am more concentrated on his physical side. I've spoken to the player of course, and he looks alright. If he is fit physically he will be in the squad because we need players in his positions."

Was Enner Valencia right to criticise the Club's medical department the way he did?

SB: "No he wasn't. I spoke to him yesterday, he's a good lad, and he apologised. He knows that the medical department is trying very hard to get him back as soon as possible. He said something that I really believe he didn't mean to, he's apologised and for me that's sorted."

In terms of Kevin Nolan leaving, why was he allowed to leave this week when he captained the team against Bournemouth?

SB: "It was not only this week. We had a few chats with Kevin, now he's leaving and I can only say a big thanks to him for the Club becasue he was a great captain and a great professional. Even in the short period I experienced working with him he was a brilliant professional, a hard worker and I wish him well on behalf of the staff, the players and the Club."

Was it just because he wasn't going to get as much game time as he wanted?

SB: "That is basically the only reason. In the end it is good for both parties."

Alex Song, any update on what is happening there?

SB: "We have a game in a couple of days and I'm not going to lie to you, and I don't like the situation that I'm thinking more about what's going to happen than your players that are playing. It is the end of the window and we need the players, and I am spending a lot of time thinking about the players who might become my players. I have to do it, but as I've said before I won't discuss it in public until they eventually become West Ham players."
 

How is Andy Carroll progressing and when do you expect to see him back in action?


SB: “Andy Carroll was back in training with us this week and felt good. Today he will do the whole session and he is improving. He is injury free and it is just a matter of fitness now to get him back.


“Before he joined us he had a minor setback but this week he is partly training with us and then if everything goes well over the international break he should participate in the game against Newcastle.”


Any other team news?


SB: “In the offensive part of our team we have a few injuries and have limited options. We have good news (on their comebacks) but they will not be available for Saturday.


“Zarate is progressing well but he will not be ready for Saturday. Sakho looks like he will be okay for Saturday. Carroll is improving and doing very well.


“We are without Jenkinson but we are okay at the back and have enough players. In midfield we are alright but in the wide positions and upfront we are light and would like to have more.”


How much are you looking forward to managing the team at Anfield on Saturday?


SB: “It is a great atmosphere to play at that stadium and to be part of it. We are looking forward to this game and it is a great experience. It is one of the most famous stadiums in Europe.


“We are going to have a really good team to go out there. In some positions we will have to hope that the players can last the 90 minutes.


“I need to prepare the team and also be active in the transfer window. It is not an easy week but with a defeat like we had last week, we were gutted after the game. We have got over that and we have to bounce back.”


Liverpool are unbeaten this season and have taken seven points from the opening three games. How impressed have you been with their start to the season?


SB: “They are a tough team and have seven points. They have not scored so many goals but have not conceded many. The results are different.


“If you see the players they have bought, they still want to be attacking and score goals. They have quality in every department of the pitch and are really dangerous upfront. Now they have physical size with Benteke and the quality with Coutinho and Firmino.


“Seven points from three games is what they expected and I am expecting a tough game. But we are positive as well and they have their weaknesses which we need to exploit.”


West Ham United have not won at Anfield since 1963. How much does that worry you heading into the game?


SB: “That is long but it doesn't mean a lot to me. This is a new game and new players. What has happened over the last 52 years but this is a completely new game.”