West Ham have some troubling team news as defensively they come into the game with no natural right back available, with Zabaleta and Byram out, while Antonio, who can play there is also sidelined. Fernandes looks likely to fill in. Reid returns and replaces the injured Jose Fonte in what is actually a defensive improvement, while the rest of the team looks set to remain intact from the last game. Given their personnel worries, West Ham are justifiable underdogs at home with a +0.75 handicap, but they do have home advantage and the benefit of having had no midweek game, which could work in their favour. They’d be happy enough with a draw against Liverpool but won’t set out defensively. They’ll have to play well to avoid defeat, but with good motivation, it is a possible scenario. While goals have come fairly regularly for West Ham this season, they’ve not been too strong defensively conceding close to two per game on average. The game plan will be to frustrate Liverpool and set up an organised defensive block, which could make crossing the 3 total goals line tough, as it’s unlikely they’d truly open up at any stage while level, as it would only suit Liverpool more.
Very mixed team news for Liverpool as they lose Philippe Coutinho to injury once again, while Mane has a good chance of returning to the bench ahead of schedule. Checks will be needed for Lovren and Wijnaldum, but neither are likely to start given the international break is on the horizon. Henderson and Sturridge are likely recalled from midweek, but they aren’t at full strength overall. Recent league form has been very wobbly, but a couple of strong Champions League showings will have raised the mood in the camp somewhat. They’ll travel to West Ham as favourites with a -0.75 handicap to overcome, which seems fair. They’ll only be happy with a win and will play on the front foot, knowing that dropped points will leave them further behind their rivals. If ahead, they won’t sit back The 3 total goals line is fair, even with Liverpool not having Philippe Coutinho at their disposal, with there being plenty of other routes to goal. They’ll attack and not ease up if ahead, being vulnerable defensively, needing at least a two-goal cushion to feel secure. From behind a lot of risks would be taken as it’s not a game they’ll feel they can afford to drop points in.
Verdict & Prediction
Having dropped two points against Crystal Palace late last time out, the West Ham squad were bitterly disappointed, but overall their form has improved in recent weeks. They host Liverpool with a potentially decimated back line, but will still be looking to take all three points at home. Realistically, with their injury problems at the back, if they were to take a draw it’d not leave them too disappointed at all, though it would win-less run in the league to four They sit just above the bottom three, so motivation to get a result won’t be lacking to any degree.
Prediction: West Ham +1.00 Asian Handicap
Odds: 1.96 SBOBET, 1.94 Pinnacle
If you would like to join our premium newsletter, let us know, we are offering a discounted price for all new members.