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."

PA

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
filmIdris Elba responds to James Bond rumours on Twitter
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
film
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015