Venue – Anfield, Liverpool
Referee – Stuart Attwell
Date & Time – Saturday, February 24th @ 15:00 GMT
Current Odds – Liverpool 1/5, Draw 11/2, West Ham 12/1
Liverpool have kept three clean sheets in their last four games but they were all away from Anfield. At home, the Reds haven’t managed a clean sheet for five games, since the 5-0 win over Swansea on Boxing Day. However, this Liverpool team looks to once again be in irresistible form. The hammering of Porto in Portugal has been downplayed by many in the football world but FC Porto were, and are, having a fantastic season. In my match preview for the Porto game, I predicted a 1-1 scoreline and I would have been quietly satisfied to bring them back to Anfield with that scoreline. But Klopp’s men blew Porto away and took us all by surprise. Regaining the consistency shown between November and January now is the aim. If Liverpool can perform to such high levels for the rest of the season then top four will be guaranteed.
West Ham Form
Moyes’ West Ham won their most recent game, beating Watford 2-0 at home in the league. The Hammers have lost their last two away games, losing in the FA Cup at Wigan and going down 3-1 at Chris Hughton’s Brighton in what was a relegation six-pointer.
Appointed in November, Moyes’ win record so far is around the 30% mark. No doubt, he has helped the team improve and they show far more cohesion now than they did under Bilic in the early stages of this season, but one has to question his ability to help take them up a level. West Ham are in 12th position at the moment but make no mistake, they are in for a relegation dogfight between now and the end of the season. My own belief is that they possess too much talent to go down. But it’s now up to Moyes to help this team realise their potential and claw their way towards mid-table safety before things get really interesting in April and May.
Liverpool Team News
Liverpool are close to having a clean bill of health for the first time in months. Nathaniel Clyne is the only absentee but even his own situation has greatly improved in recent weeks with a return to team training and inclusion in the Liverpool squad for the knockout stage of the Champions League. I expect James Milner to have done enough in his performance against Porto to earn a starting place for this game. Same for Lovren, he looked solid at the back in Portugal and may well get another chance on Saturday.
Liverpool have no suspensions for this game.
Liverpool’s Top 3 Rated Players this season – (WhoScored.com – at least 10 appearances)
- M. Salah ———- 7.7
- R. Firmino ——- 7.41
- E. Can ———— 7.25
West Ham Team News
West Ham are without Masuaku, Andy Carroll, Obiang, and Fernandes. Winston Reid and Manuel Lanzini face late fitness tests this week to see if they will be available for selection on Saturday.
West Ham have no suspensions for this game.
West Ham’s Top 3 Rated Players this season – (WhoScored.com – at least 10 appearances)
- M. Lanzini ——– 7.18
- A. Masuaku ——- 7.04
- M. Arnautovic —- 6.96
Liverpool XI (4-2-3-1) – Karius; Gomez, Lovren, van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson(c), Milner, Can; Salah, Firmino, Mané
West Ham XI (4-5-1) – Hart; Zabaleta, Collins, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Antonio, Kouyate, Noble(c), Mario, Arnautovic; Chicharito
When they last met
The last meeting between these two sides at Anfield was in December 2016. Reds fans had to be content with a 2-2 draw that day. Lallana gave Liverpool an early lead but goals from Payet (now at Marseille) and Antonio put West Ham in front at the break. Origi equalised for Liverpool early in the second half.
Their most recent two games were at the London Stadium with Liverpool winning both games, 4-0 towards the end of last season and 4-1 in November of this season. Salah (2), Matip, and Oxlade-Chamberlain were on the scoresheet that day.
Liverpool 4 – 0 West Ham
Liverpool have put four past West Ham in their last two meetings and I’m expecting more of the same on Saturday. David Moyes never seems to get it right when he brings his teams to Anfield and with the Reds in such flying form after dismantling Porto. I think a goal in the first half will open the game up and from there the Reds should win comfortably.
** Please note – “xGA” in the Form Stats tables symbolises “expected goals against” **