Slaven Bilic’s West Ham United again get an opportunity to play spoil-sport when they host Liverpool at the London stadium on Sunday. Last week they poured cold water over Tottenham’s title hopes when they prevailed over the League runners-up 1-0 at the London stadium. Liverpool, on the other hand, botched up a serious home advantage by playing out a 0-0 draw against Southampton and missed an opportunity of going 3 points clear of Manchester City’s 69. But the Southampton stalemate leaves the Reds on the 3rd spot with a slender 1 point lead over Manchester City who have the advantage of an extra match. The Liverpool attack of Coutinho, Firmino, Lallana, Sturridge and Origi that showed such prolific goal-getting qualities when the current season started, are presently going through a goal drought. For a side that has banged in as many as 71 goals from their 36 Premier League outings this season, the last five games have produced a similar number of goals with scores reading like 0-1 (win) against West Bromwich, 1-2 (loss) against Crystal Palace, 0-1 (win) against Watford, 0-0 against Southampton.
Staving off dangers of relegation post a string of 5 successive defeats in March, Slaven Bilic’s West Ham have recovered remarkably since April, going on a five-match undefeated run that’s dotted with a 0-0 draws against Everton and Stoke City and a noteworthy 1-0 over title hopefuls Tottenham Hotspur last weekend. The Hammer defence of Jose Fonte, Winston Reid, James Collins and Sam Byram have been really tight and stingy when it has come to conceding goals of late, as evinced from the 4 clean sheets they have maintained from their previous five outings.
On the road, Liverpool have conceded as many as 9 games to defeats and draws compared to an equal number of away games they have won. The Hammers are a much better side at home and could make the going tough for the visiting Reds. Slaven Bilic’s Hammers had, in fact, held Liverpool to a frustrating 2-2 draw on their last trip to Anfield in December.
Although odds favour a win for Jurgen Klopp’s visiting Reds against a 12th-placed West Ham United side, one can trust the Hammers to pull off a surprise at the London stadium on Sunday. Liverpool will be wary of such an outcome as that would push them to the brink of the Top 4 zone, what with 4th-placed Manchester City hard on their heels. So, it’s a must-win situation for Liverpool in their 14 May clash.
Liverpool to Win, Best Odds 8/13