West Ham will welcome Liverpool to Upton Park in London on Sunday Dec. 9 in a key English Premier League matchup. Both teams are coming off of big league wins last weekend as West Ham knocked off Chelsea 3-1 and Liverpool beat Southampton 1-0. Liverpool also won during the week to advance in the Europa League tournament. The last time these two teams met in London, West Ham were 3-0 winners in the 2010/11 season. But Liverpool won the previous four games against each other, scoring three goals each time.
West Ham enters the game three points ahead of Liverpool so this is a huge game standings-wise. Liverpool can pull level with them if they can take all three points. West Ham goes into the game in 10th place with six wins, four draws and five losses for 22 points. They’ve scored 19 goals and allowed 17. Liverpool is in 12th place with 19 points from four wins, seven draws and fur losses. They’ve managed to score 19 goals while allowing 18 against.
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce is hoping his squad can keep the momentum going from the win over Chelsea and his game plan might be to take as many shots as possible on Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina. The Spaniard is vastly overrated and has a habit of letting in howlers that cost his team dearly. He has shown he can let in the strangest goals at the most inopportune times and there are rumours circling around that he might leave Merseyside once the upcoming January transfer window opens and he could wind up with Arsenal.
One of Liverpool’s best players recently has been Jose Enrique as he’s been shifted from fullback to left wing. Of course, striker Luis Suarez is would be a handful, but he has to sit this one out with a suspension. Forward Fabio Borini is still out injured and so is defender Martin Kelly. Midfielder and captain Steven Gerrard is still a world-class player and his skill and leadership will be essential if he’s fit enough to play. In addition, young Raheem Sterling has proven he can handle the tough going of Premier League football. Midfielder Lucan Leiva is also back in action after missing several weeks with an injury.
West Ham will have to do without striker Andy Carroll as he’s out of action again with another injury. But since he’s on loan from Liverpool he wouldn’t have been allowed to play against his parent club anyway. This means Carlton Cole could be the starting striker for Allardyce and he had a great game against Chelsea last week as the 29-year-old scored a goal and set up another. Also missing will be forward Ricardo Vaz Te and it looks like Diarra and Collison will miss the match. On the other side of the coin, Yossi Benayoun should be back in the squad.
This should be one of the weekend’s more interesting games and Liverpool could be in trouble without Suarez. Look for West Ham to come out with a close win.
Bet365.com has the latest odds of a West Ham win at 2/1 with a Liverpool victory at 6/4 and a draw at 2/1.