Payet set for January return


West Ham manager Slaven Bilic says Dimitri Payet could feature against Liverpool early next month after recovering well from an ankle injury sustained in November.

The Frenchman was set for a three-month absence after suffering the problem in the 1-1 draw against Everton last month, having been one of West Ham's top performers since arriving from Marseille in the close-season.

However, the 28-year-old has made a quick recovery from his injury and could push to feature against Liverpool on January 2.

"It is good news that Dimitri Payet is ahead of schedule," said Bilic, whose side travel to Aston Villa on Saturday before facing Southampton on Monday.

"He should train with us after Villa and is with the fitness coaches now.

"He might be involved in the Liverpool game which would be a big boost for us. [Manuel] Lanzini is progressing [after a thigh injury] and will probably be available for the Southampton game.

"It looks like it will be the same squad [this weekend] as against Swansea, but we should have one or two back for Southampton."