By Guy Giles

Slaven Bilic has confirmed that West Ham have a defensive injury crisis on their hands ahead of Liverpool’s visit to the London Stadium on Saturday, with Jose Fonte and Sam Byram joining Michail Antonio on the sidelines.

Antonio was reported to have suffered a recurrence of a rib injury suffered earlier this season, and Bilic confirmed that the flyer will indeed miss the clash with Liverpool as West Ham look to bounce back from their disappointing draw with Crystal Palace.

Bilic stated that he expects Antonio to return after the international break.

Bilic also revealed that Jose Fonte and Sam Byram will miss out against Liverpool, with Byram set for four or five weeks out, and no return date given for Fonte.

Speaking to the press at West Ham’s Rush Green training complex, as quoted by the club’s official website, Bilic said: “It happened so quick, so fast. After Palace we had all our players fit apart from [James] Collins.”

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While Collins shared a positive update on his return from injury on Instagram this week, it seems the Liverpool game comes too soon for the Welshman.

On top of all this, Pablo Zabaleta is suspended, leaving Bilic with limited defensive options this weekend.

Bilic said: “Injuries are a part of football. One week ago we were talking about having a full squad. Before Palace I had a big headache because some of the guys that played Spurs were really good.

“Then this week we’ve had a few. It doesn’t look great in that area of the team now.”

In other West Ham news, the Hammers have three names on a shortlist to replace Bilic.

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