Liverpool vs West Ham Women WSL Preview: A must win for Reds
Image: Getty Images/NurPhoto

Liverpool host West Ham Women at Prenton Park on Sunday as they look to record their first win of the season.

It's been a frustrating campaign for the Reds so far as they sit at the bottom of the Women's Super League table, but a win on Sunday could be pivotal if they're to maintain their top-flight status.

Team News

Liverpool remain without injured duo Jemma Purfield and Jess Clarke as they are sidelined till the new year.

West Ham are boosted by the return of Dutch forward Esmee de Graaf, who was part of the matchday squad in their 3-2 victory over Manchester United.

The 22-year-old has been sidelined for a year and could make an appearance on Sunday for the first time since December 2018.

Crunch time for Liverpool

Vicky Jepson's side have faced some tough away fixtures in recent weeks, with games against Arsenal and Manchester City ending in 1-0 defeats.

It will be a welcomed return to Prenton Park when they face the London club on Sunday, and an opportunity to put some points on the board in a bid to turn their season around.

A disappointing first half of the season sees the Merseyside club rock bottom of the WSL and yet to win a league game this season.

If the Reds are to remain in the top flight next term, they have to start turning positive performances into positive results - starting with a win over West Ham this weekend.

West Ham meeting expectations

West Ham sit comfortably mid-table, occupying the eighth spot heading into Sunday's game.

The Hammers picked up a positive 3-2 victory over United last time out after three consecutive losses against Reading, Man City and Chelsea.

They'll no doubt approach Sunday's clash full of confidence on the back off last week's result, eager to dispatch a side yet to score from open play this season.

What the Reds' boss had to say

In her most recent column for LiverpoolFC.com, Jepson reflected on the disappointment of not taking any points in recent weeks.

She said: "Although we lost both those games 1-0, we can take a lot from both of those games and we could easily have got something out of both of them.

"Sometimes score lines are a false reflection of a performance, which can obviously be very tough to take."

She also highlighted the importance of defending set-pieces, given the opponents' evident strength at scoring from dead-ball situations.

It's something the Reds must work on after they conceded from a set-piece in their 1-0 loss to Man City last weekend, former Liverpool captain Gemma Bonner scoring the goal.

Jepson continued: "We were really disappointed to concede the way we did from a set-piece and we know we have to be better than that.

"Defending from set-pieces is something that we are usually quite good at.

"West Ham scored from three set-pieces during their win against Manchester United in their last game so we have to be aware of that."

Players to look out for

Liverpool's Melissa Lawley will be looking to add to her goal tally this weekend, with the midfielder being the Reds only goalscorer so far this season.

The former Manchester City star slotted home a penalty in their 1-1 draw against Bristol City in October.

Lawley is Liverpool's creative spark and the England international is arguably their most dangerous player going forward.

From a Hammers perspective, Leanne Kiernan is in fine goalscoring form after finding the back of the net three times in their last three outings.

The 20-year-old forward will be looking to make an impact this weekend when they travel to Merseyside to face a Liverpool side desperate for a win.

Sunday's fixture is set to kick off at 14:00 GMT at Prenton Park. The game can be streamed live on the FA Player.

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