Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Prediction: West Ham vs Liverpool

Verdict: Over 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 8/13

Bookmaker: Bet365

On Saturday evening, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side will be hoping their Champions League success earlier in the week will help revitalise the Reds Premier League season. Liverpool will make the journey to East London for matchday 11 and will be hosted by a West Ham side who are flirting with relegation at the bottom of the table.

West Ham

In the build-up to Saturday’s match, Hammers boss Slaven Bilic added to his own ever-mounting pressure when the Croatian manager said that he needs to get something out of this game as his position edges closer to being untenable. After mounting an historic comeback to beat cross-town rivals Tottenham 3-2 at Wembley last month, West Ham looked like a side who might have turned a corner.

Despite progressing to the quarter-finals of the EFL Cup, West Ham managed to throw away a 2-0 lead away at Crystal Palace in the league last weekend. Undoubtedly for the Hammers, their first priority is Premier League survival, after being pegged back to a 2-2 draw with fellow strugglers Crystal Palace thanks to a last-second Wilfred Zaha equaliser, West Ham sit 16th in the table, just one point above the drop zone.

It really has been a difficult start to the season for West Ham, they’re still struggling to adapt to life at the Olympic Stadium and have already dropped points against the likes of Newcastle, Brighton, Palace, Burnley and West Brom, all sides West Ham would have been aiming to finish above come May. The Hammers have only managed to come away with two wins out of their 10 attempts this season, more worryingly for the East London side, they have only picked up 31 points since the start of last season. It’s defensively where West Ham have been appalling, already this season they have lost 4 of their 10 games by conceding three or more goals.

Thing’s don’t seem to be getting any better anytime soon for Slaven Bilic, after Liverpool’s visit on Saturday, West Ham will face-off against Leicester, Chelsea and Arsenal.

Team News

West Ham fans will be happy to hear that New Zealand captain Winston Reid has overcome a calf problem and the defender looks set to slide into the heart of West Ham’s leaky defense. England international full-back Aaron Creswell has also been passed fit after he was forced off with a dead leg last weekend.

The Hammers will, however, be without a string of key first-team players, defenders Sam Byram, Jose Fonte and James Collins are all sidelined with injuries. To add to West Ham’s defensive problems, veteran defender Pablo Zabaleta will also miss the game due to suspension.

Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp’s side will be looking to capitalise on their opponents defensive issues. Currently sat sixth in the Premier League table, the Reds are already 12 points behind league leaders Manchester City. Although Liverpool might be sitting pretty at the top of Group E in this seasons Champions League, Klopp’s side have been incredibly hit and miss domestically this year, only managing to pick up four wins in their 10 attempts.

They will, however, be entering the contest in high spirits, on Wednesday night Liverpool came away with a 3-0 win against Maribor, meaning that Liverpool have now only lost once in their last seven in all competitions and have managed to find the back of the net 19 times.

Although Liverpool might have a number of attacking threats in the final third, the Reds do enter the contest with one worrying mark against their name, this season no Premier League side has conceded more goals than Liverpool this year when on the road, Jurgen Klopp has seen his defense concede 15 goals already this season when playing away from Anfield, it’s also their worst personal record since 1954.

Team News

Like their opponents on Saturday evening, Jurgen Klopp will also be unable to call upon the services of some of his most influential players. Dutch midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum is set to miss out after picking up an ankle injury, this means that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could get his first Premier League start as a Liverpool player.

Liverpool’s talisman Philippe Coutinho is another injury concern for Klopp, the Brazilian playmaker has picked up a thigh problem and is set to be rested. Despite being back in training following a hamstring injury, Sadio Mane will not be available for selection and should return after the international break.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Last time the two sides met in May, Liverpool came away with a 4-0 win
  • Liverpool have lost three of their last six Premier League games against the Hammers (W2, D1) – as many defeats as in the previous 25 meetings
  • None of the last 12 Premier League meetings between these sides at West Ham have ended as a draw
  • Joe Hart has conceded 29 goals in 17 Premier League games against Liverpool during his career; five more than he’s let in against any other side
  • Defeat would leave the Hammers with nine points. The last time they had fewer than 10 points after 11 league games was in 2010-11, a season which saw them relegated from the top flight

Conclusion

It certainly looks like a game that will guarantee goals. West Ham’s final score has seen a minimum of three goals in 19 of their previous 22 Premier League appearances, coupled with Liverpool’s terrible record when away from Anfield, including their 4-1 loss last time away from home, a bet of over 2.5 goals seems like the most logical bet here.

Verdict: Over 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 8/13

Bookmaker: Bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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