Slaven Bilic
Bilic has put together a run of two games with defeat but will be under pressure to build on it. Getty Images


  • Reports suggest the Hammers' ownership will continue to scrutinise the Croatian.
  • Bilic was denied successive wins after a stoppage time equaliser at Crystal Palace.

Slaven Bilic is under no illusion that he remains under pressure at West Ham United despite a recent upturn in form, heading into the visit of Liverpool to the London Stadium on Saturday (4 November).

The Hammers ended a run of three defeats in four games with a shock comeback win against Tottenham Hotspur in the Carabao Cup and were denied successive victories by a stoppage time equaliser by Wilfried Zaha at Crystal Palace, after going into a two-goal first half lead.

Reports via The Mirror suggest Bilic's job remains on the line despite the two-game unbeaten run and he must end a wait for a Premier League win that dates back to September in order to stave off becoming the latest top-flight boss to be dismissed.

"I know the situation," said Bilic, according to Sky Sports, ahead of the visit of Liverpool. "I spoke to the chairmen like I do after every game. He didn't have to tell me what position I am in, we need something from our next game. Every win, even in a cup, will take me and us out of that position.

"The way the Palace game ended, the way we conceded, it was a big blow and another opportunity wasted, dropping two very important points. It hit us. That kind of goal we conceded was hard to swallow, it was a very cheap goal. I didn't see that goal relating to my position. I was disappointed, frustrated and angry as we lost a couple of points."

Bilic's last meeting with Liverpool saw him suffer one of his most damaging defeats, a 4-0 drubbing by the Merseyside outfit. The East London club had, however, won the three previous meetings on their home patch, including in last season's FA Cup.

However West Ham face an injury crisis on the eve of the game with six front-line players ruled out through injury or suspension. Among them is Jose Fonte, who was replaced during the 2-2 draw at Selhurst Park and Michail Antonio, who was a second half substitution.

Pablo Zabaleta picked up a fifth domestic caution of the season and will serve a one-game suspension while Sam Byram has picked up an injury in training this week ruling him out of action. James Collins and Diafra Sakho are long-term absentees.

There is better news regarding defender Winston Reid and full-back Aaron Cresswell however. Reid was absent from last weekend's draw but returns after resuming training, while a dead leg suffered by England international Cresswell, which forced his half-time withdrawal at Palace, has cleared up.

"Obviously Zabaleta is suspended and can't play," the West Ham boss added. "Then we have Collins, who has been injured for a few weeks now. Then in the game against Palace, Fonte [was injured]. In training, we had two injuries for players that won't make it for Palace – Antonio and Sam Byram. They are both muscle injuries. Sam will be out for four or five weeks. Antonio should be fit for the game against Watford after the international break.

"It happened so quick, so fast. Before Palace, apart from James Collins, we had all the players fit. Then in the game we lost Fonte, then Zabaleta's suspension. Then in training it was Antonio and Sam.

"It is part of football but it's strange because one week ago we talked about having a full squad. You asked me ahead of the Palace game if I had a big headache because some of the guys who played against Spurs played really good and we had a great result and the headache was about which team to put on against Palace.

"We had everybody except James Collins and then Winston Reid, who we lost the day before the game. Now we have another few, especially defenders, and it doesn't look great now in that area of the team. But we are in a position to have a good selection and put a good team out."

A run of four clean sheets in the last five games – albeit entwined with a 4-1 hammering by Tottenham Hotspur – sees Liverpool head into the game with a much-improvde defensive record after a poor start to the campaign.

Bilic is ready to take advantage of any lack of confidence among Jurgen Klopp's men, but has fallen short of confirming whether Javier Hernandez and Andy Carroll will be partnered together in the West Ham attack from the start.

"When you play against big guns you have to be solid, but you can't only defend, you have to attack and exploit the spaces they leave in behind – but it is hard to get the balance.

"They [Liverpool] are not very happy with their position. They are a very good team, they play offensive football and it can leave them a little open at the back.

"We have to be very solid when we play them. They have that pace and quality up front and on the flanks. If you have a good transition and players in the right positions you can hurt them."

Andy Carroll and Javier Hernandez
Will Carroll and Hernandez be reunited against Liverpool? Getty Images