After suffering a home defeat last weekend, Liverpool will want to take all three points when they travel to East London to face West Ham at the Boleyn Ground on Saturday (17:30 BST, live on Sky Sports).
West Ham have not enjoyed the best start to the season in front of their own supporters, having lost both of their home matches, to Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton, so far. They are currently 13th in the nascent league table after gaining four points on their travels.
Sam Allardyce’s (pictured) side twice came back from a goal down to salvage a point at Hull on Monday. Summer signing Enner Valencia provided the first equaliser with a superb strike from outside the area, before an own goal saw them level for a second time. Valencia nearly won them the match with a late close-range header that was deflected over the crossbar.
Allardyce set out his side in a 4-3-3 formation, with Valencia flanked by fellow new recruits Diafra Sakho and Mauro Zarate. It made for a surprisingly open and entertaining match, although Allardyce was not particularly impressed. “Attractive football and no wins is no good to me, no good to the owners and no good to the supporters,” he said afterwards.
West Ham’s owners elected to keep Allardyce in charge following last season’s 13th place finish on the proviso that he would improve the standard of football this time around. The club’s summer signings were geared towards giving him more attacking options, but tension already seems to be arising between their wishes and Allardyce’s preferred style of play.
Allardyce will definitely be without the injured Andy Carroll (ankle) and Kevin Nolan (shoulder) for this match, while Joey O’Brien (knee) and Matthew Jarvis (thigh) are doubtful.
Liverpool have yet to hit full stride so far this season and come into this on the back of two wins and two defeats in their four league fixtures to date. They began their Champions League campaign with a tightly contested 2-1 win over Ludogorets on Tuesday.
The Bulgarian champions were well organised in defence and caused Liverpool problems whenever they got men forward on the counter attack. Liverpool played some neat football at times, but were not a regular threat. The three goals came in a crazy last 10 minutes – Mario Balotelli and Steven Gerrard scoring either side of Dani Abalo’s strike for the visitors.
Tuesday’s starting line-up featured four of Liverpool’s nine summer signings. It will clearly take some time for all of the new recruits to settle and for Rodgers to find a system capable of extracting the best from each of them. He has freely admitted that his side are yet to find their rhythm – a process he will hope can be accelerated over the coming weeks.
There are issues in attack, where, for all their own qualities, none of the summer signings come close to singly replacing what Luis Suarez, now of Barcelona, brought to the team. In defence, the central partnership of Dejan Lovren and Mamadou Sakho is still in its infancy, while there are concerns, too, over a lack of support from midfield and the full-backs.
Rodgers will definitely be without the injured Daniel Sturridge (thigh) and Emre Can (ankle) for the trip to East London, while Glen Johnson (thigh) and Jon Flanagan (knee) are both unlikely to be involved. Joe Allen (knee) and Martin Skrtel (knock) should be back in contention after missing the defeat to Villa.
West Ham vs Liverpool Betting Tips Verdict
Liverpool won 2-1 in last season’s equivalent fixture thanks to two penalties from Steven Gerrard. They also triumphed 4-1 in the reverse fixture at Anfield. The last five matches between them at the Boleyn Ground have seen four wins for Liverpool and one for West Ham. The Hammers have won just three of the last 25 meetings at all venues.
West Ham will be desperate to secure a positive result on home soil to appease supporters frustrated by the defeats to Tottenham and Southampton. Allardyce seems ill at ease with the more offensive approach craved by the club and is in danger of falling between two stools – producing neither attractive attacking football nor a side that is defensively sound.
Aside from their commanding victory away to Tottenham, Liverpool have been a little disjointed so far this season. Southampton, Aston Villa and Ludogorets have all given them a tough time at home, but Rodgers can expect his side to have a little more space to work in on their travels. They have enough underlying quality to see off West Ham.
- Back Liverpool to win @ best odds of 5/6 with William Hill or BetVictor.
- West Ham are yet to keep a clean sheet so far this season, while Liverpool, too, have looked a little insecure at times. We expect to see at least a couple of goals in Saturday’s match and would not be at all surprised to see a repeat of last season’s score. Back 2-3 goals on the ‘total goals exact’ market @ best odds of 6/5 with BetVictor.