West Ham United's bid for a place in the top four has suffered a major blow after Cheikhou Kouyate, Enner Valencia, Joey O'Brien and Winston Reid sustained injuries during the Hammers' 2-1 win over Liverpool in the fourth round FA Cup replay clash at the Boleyn Ground on Tuesday (9 February). The quartet could miss the club's upcoming fixtures in the Premier League and FA Cup, which will be a big blow to Slaven Bilic, who was hoping to challenge the clubs above them for a place in Europe's elite competition. They are currently in the sixth place, eight points behind fourth-placed Manchester City.
Apart from a top four battle, with Southampton in the seventh place and Everton also closing in on them, they have a fight on their hands to qualify for a place in Europe next season. They face Norwich City at Carrow Road on Saturday (13 February) and Bilic is hoping for a quick return for some of the injured stars.
"Unfortunately we had to pay the price with a few of them and we can only hope they won't be out for long. Cheikhou felt a little uncoordinated but hopefully he will be okay. Enner looks like a bruise. Joey hadn't played for long time so we hope it's just tightness, but with Reid it doesn't look good to me," Bilic said, as quoted by talkSPORT.
"Unfortunately the victory [against Liverpool] came at a price as several of the players suffered injuries. Winston Reid and Joey O'Brien both picked up injuries to their left hamstring and will have a scan on Thursday. Cheikhou Kouyate lost consciousness during a challenge with Liverpool defender Jon Flanagan," club's head of medical and sports science Stijn Vandenbroucke confirmed on West Ham's official site.
"The rules stipulate that when a player is concussed, they cannot have significant physical activity for the next six days so he will miss the weekend game against Norwich," the fitness expert added.
Vandenbroucke, however, did provide some positive updates on Manuel Lanzini and Diafra Sakho, who are expected to return to action before the end of the month following a lengthy spell on the sidelines. The former has been out since the start of January with a muscular injury, while the latter has been out since the end of November last year with a thigh strain.
"We have more positive news with the return of Manuel Lanzini and Diafra Sakho from long-term injuries."
"Lanzini is only a few days away before re-joining the team. Sakho is not far behind him but he needs more work because he has been out for around ten weeks so he will have a period of extra fitness work under his belt. We hope to see him back in action by the end of the month," the head of sports science added.