- Liverpool and West Ham play their ‘game in hand’ at the London Stadium on Wednesday
- The Reds have won 22 out of 23 EPL games so far this season
- West Ham a huge 7/1 for the home win
Liverpool’s lead at the top of the Premier League is unassailable, even with 15 games still to go, but the Champions-elect still have one massive challenge on their hands – to go the whole EPL season unbeaten. Not since Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal ‘Invincibles‘ went unbeaten in 2003/04 has it been achieved, so this is very much on Jurgen Klopp’s radar.
The next leg of this quest comes this Wednesday when they travel to east London to play West Ham on January 29, at 2:45 pm EST, who themselves have a very different aim, namely to pull themselves clear of the relegation zone.
It has all the makings of an interesting one, so we’ll preview the game and see if we can identify some good bets.
West Ham vs Liverpool Odds
|West Ham||+1, +1.5 (+111)||+700||O 3 ( -109)|
|Liverpool||-1, -1.5 (-131)||-286||U 3 (-111)|
All odds taken Jan. 28
If Liverpool wins this game, they will make it an incredible 15 consecutive league wins on the bounce with everything pointing to this becoming a record-breaking season, but they did suffer a minor setback at the weekend in the FA Cup. Klopp picked his ‘cup team’ for the visit to Shrewsbury, but the mixture of fringe players and talented youngsters could only draw with the Shrews, even after taking a 2-0 lead.
So keen was Klopp to avoid a replay, he threw on Mo Salah and Roberto Firminho late on to try and win the game but to no avail and the two teams now meet at Anfield on February 4, a date intended to be part of the Premier League’s winter break. The Liverpool boss has controversially stated that neither he or his first-team players will be involved in this fixture.
For West Ham, there are no such conundrums as they were beaten 1-0 at home by West Brom at the weekend as their FA Cup dream died for another season. They were booed off at the end by a half-empty London Stadium and will simply have to be better against the Reds to avoid another humiliation.
FT: West Ham 0-1 West Brom.
By far, the worst performance of the season. That was an absolute embarrassment, and everyone at the club from top to bottom needs a rocket up their arse to sort this mess out.
— West Ham Fan Zone (@WHUFCFZ) January 25, 2020
Ironically, before the season started many fancied the Hammers for a top-half finish but after a reasonable start there followed a steady decline in results and performance levels that eventually saw manager Manuel Pellegrini sacked and replaced by David Moyes.
It initially looked as if Moyes had steadied the ship but results have still not been great for West Ham and they now find themselves sucked into the very heart of a survival battle having won just once in their last six.
For a few weeks – since Liverpool went to play in the Club World Cup, in fact – they’ve had a game in hand on the teams around them but if they lose to Liverpool, that game in hand will be gone and they’ll be stuck on 23 points alongside 18th-placed Bournemouth and 19th-placed Watford. The alarm bells will really start ringing.
West Ham vs Liverpool Head-to-Head Stats
|17th||Position in EPL table||1st|
|6 / 23||Wins/games played||22 / 23|
Injury Doubts Aplenty in Both Camps
Moyes has injury concerns ahead of the game with Arthur Masuaku and Robert Snodgrass both struggling, although the latter has an outside chance of being fit. Sébastien Haller, who hasn’t been the goal-getting striker West Ham fans had hoped, may find himself making way for the fit-again Michail Antonio as Moyes looks to shake up his striking department for this crucial phase of the season.
So keen was Klopp to avoid a replay at Shrewsbury, he threw on Mo Salah and Roberto Firminho late on to try and win the game but to no avail.
Klopp is expected to go with the XI that beat Wolves 2-1, although there is a slight doubt over Sadio Mane who picked up a thigh injury in that game. If he is unfit either Divock Origi or new-signing Takumi Minamino will be called up to replace him. Other fitness doubts in the Reds’ squad are Adam Lallana, James Milner and Xherdan Shaqiri, but there is a chance Fabinho will return after playing the full game against Shrewsbury.
Value With the Draw
So, while Liverpool is typically odds-on for the win, the Hammers have proved themselves capable of getting good results, especially at home. Moyse will have them fired up for this one and will set them up to counter Klopp’s potent attack, so this could be interesting. Liverpool hasn’t had the best of weeks, at least by their standards, so let’s not discount the draw here, especially at a juicy +390. The Reds have only drawn once – against Man Utd – but could be number two.
Pick: West Ham and Liverpool to draw (+390)