Tuesday 21 November 2017

Dan's the man for Bilic if he hangs up red shirt

Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge
Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge

Helen Rowe-Willcocks

Slaven Bilic has spoken of his admiration for Daniel Sturridge, saying he would be interested in taking the Liverpool striker to West Ham if he was made available in January.

The Hammers face Jurgen Klopp's men in the Premier League at Anfield this afternoon, and after Sturridge was ruled out of the clash due to a calf ­problem, Bilic admits the amount of ­injuries the England international ­picks up is a concern.

Rumours began circulating in ­November about the 27-year-old leaving the Reds and, despite Klopp ­categorically denying the reports, a ­number of clubs have expressed an interest in the England striker.

"He's one of the biggest ­talents, he's a great player," Bilic said. "The talent is there, the touch, the finishing, everything is great. The only thing that has stopped him being a regular for club and country are the injuries. He's just a player that has been linked with us, basically, and we've been linked with almost every player.

"We're always there in contention. Most of the time it's absolutely not true, 95 per cent of the time. But you're asking me about Sturridge and I have no problem about that. All the clubs are thinking about him because he is that kind of player."

West Ham sit just one point above the relegation zone, but Bilic is confident his side can exploit Liverpool's weaknesses on Merseyside.

"They are definitely one of the ­contenders for the Premier League ­title - some of their football is great and most of their football is quite consistent this season. Obviously last week was not great, because they were winning 3-1 and lost 4-3, but they are obviously one of the title contenders.

"Of course that result gives us heart because they are conceding goals. But of course they attack with such numbers they leave the back open and there is a lot of space that, although they have good offensive and defensive transitions, you can use.

"The Bournemouth game was a great comeback from them, to be fair, and they deserved it if you watch the second half. It's much easier to do those kind of comebacks at home, when you have the crowd, but they showed that you can beat Liverpool in an opposite way. They went at them and caused problems.

"In a 90-minute game you have all sorts of situations, but the way Liverpool play at Anfield, the opponent has to be solid first of all, compact behind the ball and with numbers to stop them creating. Then, when you have the ball, you can hurt them."

  • Liverpool v West Ham, Sky Sports 1, 4.30

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