This game was originally postponed owing to Liverpool’s involvement in the Club World Cup, and victory here would secure Jurgen Klopp an insurmountable lead of 19 points over Man City.
Sadio Mane will miss out, but Liverpool have plenty of attacking options at their disposal and their past encounters with their hosts would suggest only one outcome.
It’s a good time to face the Hammers as they’re without star goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski and attacking talents Andriy Yarmolenko and Felipe Anderson, and in matches where the Polish shot stopper hasn’t lasted the 90 minutes, West Ham have gone W2-D3-L10 in the league this season.
A switch in the dugout hasn’t really reaped rewards either, as the hosts’ past four fixtures have seen them lose to Sheffield Utd, Leicester and Championship outfit West Brom, while securing a home draw with Everton.
Klopp will be frustrated that his second-string side couldn’t hold onto a 2-0 lead in their FA Cup tie with Shrewsbury on Sunday, but excluding that result plus a defeat to Aston Villa in the League Cup with an even weaker team, Liverpool have been utterly relentless in their quest for trophies.
They’ve won 23 of 26 unbeaten matches domestically or in Europe stretching back into September with the first team, as the three stalemates came against higher quality outfits in the shape of Man Utd, Arsenal and Napoli.
West Ham are yet to play Liverpool this term, but their record against the top sides in recent times is a succession of defeats sprinkled with the occasional victory.
They’ve lost eight of 11 fixtures against the ‘Big Six’ or this season’s Leicester across all competitions since late February, which includes four of five on home turf in the current campaign.
Liverpool To Win To Nil
Unsurprisingly it’s been Liverpool and Man City that have dealt the most damage as against those two sides alone, the Hammers have lost 11 of 12 winless matches since January 2017, conceding a minimum of four goals on as many as nine occasions, as well as losing by a margin of three goals or greater in nine of them too.
West Ham have managed just the solitary strike in the five meetings since the start of last season, and with the pragmatic David Moyes having taken over from the more expansive Manuel Pellegrini, we’d expect another shutout.
Liverpool -2 Handicap
Indeed, Liverpool possess by far the best defence in the division. However, although Virgil van Dijk and to a certain extent Alisson Becker deserve the majority of the plaudits, the contribution of Joe Gomez has gone a little under the radar as his centre-back partner dominates the headlines for individual excellence.
The Reds have conceded just one goal in eight league games since the England international returned to the starting line-up in early December, while he was a fixture in the team in the first half of the campaign before suffering injury.
Over this season and last term, Liverpool have kept a clean sheet in 67% of the games he’s started, compared with a mere 40% in his absence.
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