Struggling West Ham United will be boosted by the return of Michail Antonio for Sunday's (11 December) Premier League clash with Liverpool, manager Slaven Bilic has confirmed. The versatile winger currently stands as the club's top scorer after notching six goals – all headers – in 13 top-flight appearances, but was forced to sit out last weekend's heavy defeat to Arsenal after limping out of the EFL Cup quarter-final loss at Manchester United with a groin injury.
However, Antonio, called up to the senior England squad for the first time by Sam Allardyce in August, is now back in training and should be available for selection at Anfield. First-choice left-back Aaron Cresswell similarly returns to contention after also suffering a groin strain at Old Trafford that ruled him out of that Alexis Sanchez-inspired 5-1 drubbing by The Gunners.
"From the three players who got injured in the EFL Cup game, a couple of them should be back," Bilic told reporters at a pre-match press conference held on Friday. "Antonio and Cresswell are training with us today after the press conference and according to the medical reports they are fit and they are OK."
The third player referenced by Bilic is Cheikhou Kouyate. The Senegalese international also missed out on Arsenal with a minor groin issue and it looks like the forthcoming trip to Anfield will come too soon in his recovery. Injury-plagued striker Diafra Sakho, meanwhile, is facing at least another month out after suffering a thigh injury against United on only his second appearance since returning from persistent back trouble.
"With Cheikhou Kouyate, it is a little bit different. We were hoping he would be OK for Sunday's game, but unfortunately he will have to miss it. It's not a big [groin] injury, but he has a great chance to make it for the Burnley game in midweek.
"Diafra Sakho is out. We hoped until the scan came out that it would be one week or more like a cramp, but unfortunately it wasn't to be and it'll be five or six weeks. If the medical team do a great job and his body responds it will be four weeks but not for now."
West Ham, who have shipped nine goals in their last two games and currently sit just one point above the relegation zone in 17th, have been beset by fitness problems of late and, along with Kouyate and Sakho, are still missing James Collins, Sam Byram, Reece Oxford and Gokhan Tore. Towering striker Andy Carroll came off the bench against Arsenal at London Stadium and scored a consolation header in his first competitive outing since sustaining a knee injury in August's Europa League play-off round tie against Romanian champions Astra Giurgiu.