Sat, Feb 26, 7:25am by Kevin Pitstock
Both sides have different objectives going into this game. West Ham’s sole focus will be on Premiership survival, despite making their way into the last eight of the FA Cup. They still have every chance of escape in an incredibly tight Premier League. Liverpool are about to have their renewed strength tested, with games still to come against the top four after this match at Upton Park, so they need to grab three points as useful insurance if they are going to be involved in European football next season.
WEST HAM UNITED PREVIEW
West Ham certainly haven’t been short of goals in their last two matches. They came from 3-0 down at West Bromwich Albion to earn a draw and they then put five past second-tier side Burnley in the FA Cup. The bare stats though don’t make good reading. They have the worst home record in the league in terms of points per game and they really do struggle against sides in the top half of the table. They’ve picked up just four points against them – another low. When you take out in form striker Victor Obinna and defender Matthew Upson they do look a little frail. Thomas Hitzlsperger should make his league debut. Their recent record against Liverpool is nothing to write home about.
Liverpool are in the happy position of having the current longest unbeaten streak of any Premier League club – 8 games and counting. They’ve also developed a very healthy mean streak in that time, just conceding three goals. There’s a chance that the highly influential Steven Gerrard could return from injury. It still looks too soon for £35mn striker Andy Carroll to make his debut, however Daniel Agger, Glen Johnson and Martin Kelly are doubtful, leaving the defensive cover looking a little on the light side against a Hammers side who are at least scoring goals. Liverpool have had the better of the Hammers in recent matches, coming out on top in their last four meetings, scoring three goals each time.
WEST HAM UNITED v LIVERPOOL BEST BET AND PREDICTION
Liverpool should come through here against a still fragile West Ham with our score prediction 2-1. Liverpool look generously priced at $2.25 with Sportsbet Australia and should be backed with confidence!
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