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Changing injury updates as West Ham United prepare to meet Liverpool

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Late decisions over players’ fitness will once again be the order of the day

Crystal Palace v West Ham United - Premier League Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images

As usual there will be late decisions made over the match fitness of several West Ham United players in the hours leading up to the Liverpool game; but with the intensity of football nowadays, that's becoming the normal for most clubs.

Playing twice a week brings its own problems since the recovery period between games is shorter; so any minor injuries and niggles often don’t get the chance to settle before the next fixture is due.

Even at times like this when there’s been no midweek match, the recovery period is still essential. But this often means that the number of players actually training can be seriously reduced from Monday through to Wednesday.

With Sunday generally designated as a recovery day for those who played on the Saturday, that realistically leaves only the Thursday and Friday for Slaven Bilić to get everyone together.

We’ve come to accept that for one reason or another at the moment, Slav just isn't in a position to name his squad until virtually the last minute.

We’ve seen once again how the build-up to the Liverpool game has followed a familiar pattern and watched the injured list change as the week passed.

Most of the earlier talk centred around the fitness of James Collins who is currently recovering from an ankle sprain, and of Michail Antonio who played at Crystal Palace with painful ribs.

Now it appears that both players won’t be involved against the Reds on Saturday evening. Neither will Sam Byram; who is reported to be suffering with a muscle injury which is expected to keep him out for roughly four or five weeks.

To make matters worse, Jose Fonte picked up a foot injury at Selhurst; and with Winston Reid still under treatment at that stage Gary Lewin et al will (literally) have had their hands full all week.

Crystal Palace v West Ham United - Premier League Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

However, Winston Reid is now expected to play; and Aaron Cresswell is included in the squad to face Liverpool, having just recovered from a bruised thigh muscle - aka the ‘dead leg’ - an injury which is all too common in football.

Despite the popular misconception that you can just ‘‘run these off’’, that isn’t always the case as ‘dead legs’ like most injuries vary in type and severity.

If the bruise to the thigh results in the tissue bleeding being superficial only, then in most cases some physical activity like running and cycling will encourage the bruising to drain away between adjacent muscles.

This is what tends to happen with most injuries of this nature; but the problem arises when the tissue bleeding is contained within the muscle itself.

In these situations the bleeding is unable to drain away due to being in a confined area; so any form of physical activity actually increases the bleeding and the thigh swells further as the pain increases along with the internal pressure.

In these cases, surgery is often required to release the pressure within the muscle itself.

It’s the more uncommon version of the ‘dead leg’, but one that everybody needs to be aware of before just attempting to ‘‘run it off’’ without giving due consideration to the potential for the injury to be of the more serious kind.

As Aaron has continued to recover from his injury then, so too has James Collins.

Although the big Welsh defender is now back in training, he was never really in contention for the Liverpool game based on the fact that he will be lacking in match fitness at this stage.

As a whole-hearted and committed character, he needs to be as near 100% as possible. So on that basis, therefore, James will probably be the first to acknowledge that he needs a little more time in order to do himself justice when he does return.

Michail Antonio is reported to still be feeling the effects of turning out against Crystal Palace, and it has been widely stated that he’s since taken a bit of flak for his troubles.

Apart from the obvious arguments over what happened with the late goal it has been questioned whether Michail should even have played in the first place.

That's a decision though that will have been made after a lengthy discussion between the management team and the medical people; and of course Michail himself will have had a huge say in the final decision.

Crystal Palace v West Ham United - Premier League Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images

Slaven Bilić made it perfectly clear before the Crystal Palace game that whether or not Michail Antonio played at Selhurst would be a decision taken on the day of the match.

Any medical concerns over the injury will have been excluded long before that stage, so Michail will have been cleared to take some part in the game, although not necessarily for the full ninety minutes,

It's always easy to be wise after the event; but the nature of rib injuries means that it's often a case of knowing your limits. That’s academic now though since reports indicate that Michail has been ruled of the Liverpool match due to a muscle injury and will continue to recovery appropriately.

As far as Winston Reid is concerned, the bench mark for assessing his situation will be full participation in the Friday training session together with being monitored overnight for any adverse reaction that may affect his chances of playing on Saturday.

So from an injury aspect at the moment it's looking like being a case of ''watch this space''. But in the current circumstances it may even be as late as Saturday before any final decisions are able to be taken.

The bottom line? Indications are that Winston Reid and Aaron Cresswell seem likely to play. As far as the others are concerned, additional time will be needed together with ongoing treatment and training.

As always, however, that could change before kick-off...