West Ham United boss Gianfranco Zola believes the influence of striker Carlton Cole will help the club remain the top flight this season.

Ahead of tonight's clash with Liverpool, the Italian tactician said that Cole can be the man to drag the Hammers out of the drop zone despite the fact he is not scoring at the moment and has only recently returned from injury.

"Carlton has not scored for a while, but the contribution from his game is massive," Zola said.

"He produced a good pass for Ilan for one of his goals recently and when he did that, it was as good as scoring himself.

"Carlton was brilliant in the second half against Everton two weeks ago and last weekend against Sunderland he was everywhere. He has been great.

"This season he has been very unfortunate with his physical problems, but he has a lot to give the national team.

"His knees were a problem, but he's getting better and better and I'm expecting him to score every time now."