West Ham United v Liverpool
London Stadium, Sunday 7th November, kick off 4:30pm
by John Spillane
Sunday's top four clash sees West Ham entertain a Liverpool side two points and two places better off and lying in second place.
Having finished last season in sixth place, the failure to add last season's loan signing Jesse Lingard to their squad was a disappointment. Due to this it has been a surprise that the East Londoners are doing so well. Kurt Zouma and Saiid Benrahma have been added and after 10 games they have a record of W6, D2, L2 and are also in the quarter finals of the Carabou Cup, and progressing nicely in Europe. There are accusations that they have benefited from a favourable schedule, having only played one side currently lying in the top 8 (Man U lost (h) 1-2) but you can only beat what is put in front of you.
So far this season they have been a streaky side, starting with two wins, followed by two draws, then two defeats in three. They have now won the last three Everton (a) 1-0, Tottenham (h) 1-0 followed by last week's 4-1 away to Aston Villa, albeit having played for a long time against 10 men. Declan Rice's influence on the side grows each week and he has shown an improved attacking side to his controlling midfield role. Michail Antonio, a converted striker, takes much of the headlines despite injuries, with his six goals. Behind the lone striker there is support coming from a rotation of Benrahma (3 goals), Pablo Fornals (3 goals), Jarrod Bowen (2 goals) and Manuel Lanzini.
Following the 5-0 success at Old Trafford Jurgen Klopp's side were brought down a peg or two in last week's 2-2 home draw with Brighton, which having led 2-0 they came close to losing all three points. The hamstring injury to Roberto Firmino is a bad loss but Diego Jota has taken up that role successfully in recent times. The club are unbeaten overall in 25, and are 20 without defeat in the league. Premier league top scorers with 29 overall; Mo Salah (10) Sadio Mane (6) and Jota (4) have contributed 20 between them. They have drawn four times (Brighton (h), Chelsea (h), Man City (h) and Brentford (a) ) and are far from invincible. Away from Anfield they have been able to find additional space with 19 goals in five games and the home side's defensive record will be tested.
An area where West Ham could have success though is at set pieces with Tomas Soucek's aerial presence a real danger. The home side recently overcame Manchester City in the Carabao Cup, but faced against a full strength Liverpool they may find this a tougher task.
Suggested bet : Liverpool to win (8/11 at bet365)
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