AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

STAR PREVIEW Sat: Liverpool v West Ham

Liverpool have responded to their 7-2 defeat to Aston Villa (yes it really did happen) with three straight wins but an injury crisis has hit Jurgen Klopp’s side and West Ham will provide a tough test this evening for them.

A battling but deserved win against Sheffield United last weekend has them on the coattails of Merseyside rivals Everton in a tightly packed table but they paid a price for their hard-fought win against Midtjylland, with Fabinho, Virgil van Dijk’s replacement following his long-term injury, picking up a hamstring injury of his own.

Jurgen Klopp rang the changes, with none of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino starting (although Salah was brought on and scored the match-winning penalty) whilst Trent Alexander-Arnold impressed and Diogo Jota, who’d improved for a mid-game switch to the left, scoring his third goal in eight Reds appearances.

We can expect to see the big three – and maybe it’s a big four now with Jota really impressing – but the worries are elsewhere on the pitch with Fabinhio likely to be a big miss as Joe Gomez is the only other fit senior option left. Liverpool have a trio of impressive young prospects in Rhys Williams, Nat Phillips and Billy Koumetio, but it’s yet more disruption at the centre of a defence which has given up plenty of big chances – nine without penalties in the Premier League, according to Infogol – and this West Ham side has impressed so far.

Liverpool v West Ham
Premier League
17:30 Sky Sports Main Event / Sky Sports Premier League / Sky Sports Ultra HD

(Maximum 10 matches, since 2010)
JAN 2020 PREMIER LEAGUE West Ham 2-0 Liverpool
FEB 2020 PREMIER LEAGUE Liverpool 3-2 West Ham
JAN 2020 PREMIER LEAGUE West Ham 0-2 Liverpool
FEB 2019 PREMIER LEAGUE West Ham 1-1 Liverpool
AUG 2018 PREMIER LEAGUE Liverpool 4-0 West Ham
FEB 2018 PREMIER LEAGUE Liverpool 4-1 West Ham
NOV 2017 PREMIER LEAGUE West Ham 1-4 Liverpool
MAY 2017 PREMIER LEAGUE West Ham 0-4 Liverpool
DEC 2016 PREMIER LEAGUE Liverpool 2-2 West Ham
FEB 2016 FA CUP West Ham 2-1 Liverpool

David Moyes’ side made a slow start to the season, losing to Newcastle and Arsenal, but they have impressed hugely since, going unbeaten against Wolves (won 4-0) Leicester (3-won 3-0), Tottenham (drew 3-3) and Man City (drew 1-1).

The Hammers were under the cosh for the second half after Michail Antonio’s superb opener (Antonio will be absent) but Angelo Ogbonna, Aaron Cresswell and Fabián Balbuena were brilliant as a back three whilst Declan Rice & Tomáš Souček once again impressed facing a tough task in midfield, and they can make life hard for a Liverpool side that aren’t certain to have Thiago or Naby Keita back.

The Reds are lethal going forward, but they’ve given up opportunities at the back and Liverpool haven’t won a game by two goals or more since their 3-1 victory over Arsenal, so the 4/5 on West Ham with a +1.5 start on the Asian Handicap makes great appeal.

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BACK West Ham +1.25 on Asian H’Cap 5 pts at 4/5 with 

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