West Ham United will remain without the services of injury-plagued Andy Carroll for this weekend's Premier League visit of Liverpool, manager Slaven Bilic has confirmed. The ex-Reds striker has missed the last three matches with a groin issue and is still struggling to overcome the problem ahead of a Sunday afternoon (14 May) meeting with his former club in Stratford.
"Andy Carroll won't be able to play against Liverpool," Bilic told reporters at his pre-match press conference. "He's still feeling his groin. It's nothing major but he will miss the game."
Mark Noble will also miss the match with Liverpool and a final day trip to Burnley after head of medical and sports science Stijn Vandenbroucke revealed that he is set to undergo surgery on a "long-standing abdominal injury" that has been bothering him for many weeks.
Bilic actually wanted his skipper to feature again against Liverpool, only to be informed that the need for an operation had now become urgent.
"This hernia thing he has had for a couple of months but he didn't want to talk about it. He wanted to help the club and the team but it did affect him. I wanted him to play against Liverpool but the surgeon said the surgery needed to happen as soon as possible."
Another Hammers player that has been playing through the pain barrier is Cheikhou Kouyate. The Senegalese international has been plagued by a wrist injury all season and finally went under the knife this week after helping West Ham to guarantee top-flight safety courtesy of a morale-boosting 1-0 victory over rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
"Again, his problem became worse," Bilic added. "He was supposed to have the operation earlier but because we needed him, we made a plan for him to play as much as possible."
Ending Spurs' title charge was one of the highlights of a difficult first season for West Ham at London Stadium and may have gone a long way to saving the under-pressure manager's job. The club received a further boost yesterday with the news that versatile player of the year Michail Antonio has put pen to paper on a new four-year deal believed to worth £70,000-per-week ($90,000).
Reacting to that contract extension, Bilic said: "It's great for both parties that Michail's signed his new contract. He is the Hammer of the Year and again it shows our ambition.
"The club has been good for him, he has become one of our best players and he came to the national team of England. It is great for us and for him. He prefers to play up front or on the wing, but last year he was brilliant for us as a full-back. He's very versatile and that is one of the reasons he has improved so much tactically."
Antonio has not played since April due to a "significant" hamstring injury, while Diafra Sakho, Pedro Obiang, Angelo Ogbonna and Gokhan Tore are all still sidelined. However, left-back Arthur Masuaku is now fit again after a foot problem.