Bilic delivers fitness update on key West Ham duo ahead of Liverpool
By Dominic Toner
West Ham manager Slaven Bilic has revealed that wing-backs Michail Antonio and Aaron Cresswell are both available to return against Liverpool.
The defensive pair missed the damaging 5-1 home defeat against Arsenal after being forced off injured in the previous game at Manchester United in the EFL Cup quarter-final defeat.
Slaven Bilic’s side felt the full impact of their absence against the Gunners and missed their energy down the flanks.
The Hammers travel to Anfield on Sunday to face Liverpool and they are currently just one point above the relegation places in 17th.
Bilic has explained that his two defenders can return against third-placed Liverpool, but midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate is still not fit enough to play.
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“Antonio and Cresswell have been training and are available for Sunday. We hoped Cheikhou would be back but it has come too soon,” Bilic said, as quoted by the club’s official Twitter account.
???? "Antonio and Cresswell have been training and are available for Sunday. We hoped Cheikhou would be back but it has come too soon." #COYI
— West Ham United (@WestHamUtd) December 9, 2016
Antonio has been arguably West Ham’s best player in a miserable season and is the club’s top scorer following six goal, with all of them coming in the Premier League.
The 26-year-old Englishman is extremely versatile and appears to be well suited to a wing-back role in the 3-4-3 system.
He will be tasked with dealing Liverpool ace Roberto Firmino if he starts on Sunday and will need to make sure he does his defensive duties.
Cresswell is another player who has performed this campaign and is extremely popular with the West Ham supporters.
The 26-year-old has only made seven appearances this season because of a long-term injury and will hope for an extended run in the side, but will face the electric pace of Sadio Mane against Liverpool.
In other West Ham team news, this player can give Liverpool big problems at the weekend.