West Ham v Liverpool: Luis Suarez is in the 'top two or three in the world', claims Sam Allardyce

The West Ham manager is under no illusions about the task facing his side this weekend

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce believes Liverpool and Luis Suarez are now benefiting hugely from the loyalty shown by both parties after a difficult summer.

Brendan Rodgers, whose team sit top of the Barclays Premier League, takes his side to Upton Park on Sunday with leading goalscorer Suarez looking to blow away yet another opposition defence.

But it could have all been different last year had the Reds backed down to heavy interest from Arsenal, or if the Uruguay international had forced a move having been criticised after receiving a lengthy ban for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic.

Suarez indicated his desire to leave Anfield for a Champions League side in August but was persuaded to stay on. Instead of playing for another club, he is the talismanic attacking influence in a free-flowing Liverpool XI who know that if they win every game between now and the end of the season they will land their first league title since 1990.

Read more: Why we are heading for a thrilling finale
Carroll could haunt Liverpool - but he had to go
Gerrard: 'Dreams only happen when you get the job done'

Allardyce's side will be tasked with the unenviable job of shackling both Suarez and his strike partner Daniel Sturridge, with the Hammers boss putting the former among the best players around.

"At the moment he now finds himself in the top two or three in the world," he said.

"The commitment he has shown to Liverpool and they've shown to him has given him extra impetus to be even better after the problems he had. His combination with Sturridge has flourished where that looked a concern earlier in the season when neither wanted to play wide on the wing.

"That's all come together. The rest of the team is providing service behind them and they have grown in quality and confidence."

Liverpool travel to east London having won their last six games, scoring 22 goals in the process, and Allardyce knows his West Ham players are coming up against the league's in-form sides.

"At the moment the Liverpool team in terms of form and coupled with results are at 100 per cent," he said.

"Sometimes you can be playing really well and not achieve results, but at the moment based on results and performances they are the top team and are now in the position they find themselves in."

Despite the obvious challenge posed by a rampant Liverpool side, West Ham will go into the fixture buoyed by back-to-back wins that have all but sealed their top-flight status.

Club-record signing and former Liverpool striker Andy Carroll was the star in Monday night's 2-1 win at Sunderland and is now getting back to his best having spent a large part of the campaign on the injury list.

His impact on the West Ham team is so great that Allardyce believes a push to qualify for European football would not have been out of the question had the England international been fit for the entire season.

'It's a possibility," the 59-year-old replied when asked if Europe would have been a target.

"Since the turn of year our change of form and results has improved. It's got better and better. It's the best run in the Premier League we've ever had since we've been back. We'll take that confidence into Sunday's game, and hopefully produce one of those performances which has happened many times this year.

"Palace beat Chelsea, (Manchester) City lost to Sunderland, we beat Tottenham away. We hope it's one of those days. We have to be in top form to get anything out of it."


Suggested Topics
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine