Coming off of a huge win Thursday afternoon vs. Tottenham, Liverpool will take to the road once again in an attempt to drag themselves back into a heated battle for the league title.
Sunday afternoon will take them to east London, where the Reds will battle a surprising West Ham United club that currently sits just behind them in fifth place. While many figured West Ham would be an improved club in 2021, their rise to the top of the table couldn’t have been predicted. Under manager David Moyes, this is a side that has played well without the ball, while also possessing some clinical finishing in the attacking third. Many doubt whether or not they are for real, but Sunday’s clash vs. Liverpool will offer us some insight to answering that question.
Meanwhile for Liverpool, they finally got back on track Thursday in a statement victory against Tottenham. It was the type of match Liverpool needed to play, and they finally performed to their full abilities in a convincing 3-1 victory. They were precise with the ball, and deadly with their finishing. Entering Gameweek 21, Jurgen Klopp’s side sits seven points back of the league lead, and if Liverpool are going to defend their title – they’ll need to start putting together a string of victories. Sunday represents a chance to do just that, as well as create some separation between themselves and West Ham.
With all of the attacking talent that should take the pitch on Sunday, it should produce some real offensive football. It’s the 4th-placed team vs. the 5th-laced team, and this result should carry some big-time implications down the line. For added insight, team news, and a betting preview – continue reading on beneath the posted odds for our betting analysis on this crucial Premier League encounter.
Liverpool vs. West Ham United Betting Odds:
West Ham United (+350)
Over 3 (+105)
Under 3 (-115)
*Betting odds provided by BetOnline.ag
Liverpool vs. West Ham United Pick:
Expect a charged-up West Ham side to be keen to continue their statement season thus far on Sunday afternoon. David Moyes enters Gameweek 21 with a fully healthy and well-rested side, and the Hammers view this as a big opportunity to catch a tired Liverpool squad in the table.
Easier said than done however when it comes to dethroning the defending champions. Though the Reds are likely tired and a tad banged-up, they still possess world-talents at many key positions, and their possession-based 4-3-3 system will force the Hammers to defend for long stretches of this contest.
West Ham will counter with a 4-2-3-1, and be keen to attack Liverpool when chances do arise. Michail Antonio is expected to lead the line, and his blend of speed and physicality will make him one to watch for a sometimes sluggish Liverpool defense, still forced to be without Virgin van Dijk.
The key for Liverpool will be retaining ball possession and not allowing a quick-strike West Ham team to catch them out on the counter. And though their midfield is likely to be weakened with Jordan Henderson needing to fill in on defense, the Reds still possess the talent to frustrate and out-skill West Ham in key areas of the pitch.
One player who will be counted upon to step up and live up to his lofty wages will be former Bayern Munich star Thiago. He’s an excellent ball-winner and distributor, and without other key pieces in the Reds’ lineup, expect Liverpool’s number six to play a key role in delivering dangerous balls up top to Liverpool’s front-three.
At the top, look for the Liverpool attacking trio of Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino, and Sadio Mane to continue their return to form against West Ham. Those three were dominant mid-week vs. Tottenham, and should be able to maneuver their way around the Hammers’ back-line when on the ball.
This is going to be a tight battle and may start out as a cagey affair, but skill and heavy possession of the Reds should be able to win out. Following a lengthy rut and lackadaisical output, Liverpool look to be back to their old selves, and they’ll prove it by securing another narrow victory in a huge spot Sunday. As short road favourites, go with the former champs to act like it in East London.