Our football writer previews the English Premier League matchup between Liverpool and West Ham United.
While both of these sides are coming off fairly devastating defeats, there can be no confusing the extreme disparities that exist between these teams. Liverpool have been sensational this season and lost one of those games where the mystical pendulum of momentum just fell out of their hands.
West Ham are on a dreadful run of form that has brought Slaven Bilic’s job into question. This has clearly been compounded by massive injury issues and a lack of dedication amongst their so-called marquee players. So what last season would have looked like a potential banana peel for Jurgen Klopp should come as a gentle tonic. But one never knows.
English Premier League | Sunday 11 December | Anfield | 18:30
To Win (90 Mins)
Liverpool 3/10 | Draw 47/10 | West Ham United 8/1
Klopp has to take last weekend’s result on the chin and accept culpability. Ragnar Klavan should have played at centre-half alongside Dejan Lovren while that midfield trio just looked too leggy. I think that Adam Lallana will come in alongside Jordan Henderson and Emre Can to add some dynamism to that middle trio.
Georginio Wijnaldum seemed to stultify everything he touched last week and Liverpool should dominate possession this week. Daniel Sturridge remains an injury doubt, probably because he stubbed his toe and got a boo-boo.
Joel Matip will crucially return to the side and bring a semblance of respectability to that backline. Loris Karius had a day he would rather forget last week in a performance that could bode poorly for the future.
This Liverpool side will be a different beast at home, especially with Matip and Lallana coming back into first team reckoning. Saido Mane should be ready for this game despite coming off the field a bit gingerly last weekend.
West Ham United
Oh West Ham. Just when you thought it couldn’t get much worse, James Collins gets injured, the one guy who will always give a hundred percent. One thing is certain, Andy Carroll has to start. After scoring when coming on last week, his presence is simply fundamental to any chance they have this week.
Former club Liverpool have shown a propensity to self-destruct under the aerial ball. Other than that bit of news, it looks bleak for Bilic. Dimitri Payet looks to have gained 10kgs this season in a flagrant act of unprofessionalism that seems out of whack with the Bilic dynamic I thought existed.
Aaron Cresswell and Michail Antonio's injuries are massive blows that take away all of the West Ham's width. In order for yet another former Liverpool player - Alvaro Arbeloa - to be accommodated, they simply have to play 4-4-2. He doesn’t have the athleticism to get up the field and they don’t have the personnel either. Cheikhou Kouyate will also be missed as will Diafra Sakho.
The Hammers midfield will be ripped to shreds. The odds on Mark Noble seeing red for two bookable offences will be something to look into. The durable campaigner will look like an analogue tool in a digital world against this Liverpool side, especially with the support that he has.
Verdict: Liverpool Halftime/Fulltime Win (15/20)
I don’t see West Ham mounting any sort of resistance, given their current crisis. With five of their key players back, I may have been swayed to deal Klopp a double dose of reality. But that will have to come some other week. Take Liverpool to dominate and win the match on the Halftime/Fulltime double at 15/20.
Written by Damien Kayat @Hollywoodbets