Competition: Premier League – West Ham United vs. Liverpool
Venue: Upton Park – Saturday, January 2 – 12:45 GMT (07:45 EST)
Match Odds: West Ham United 13/5 – Draw 12/5 – Liverpool 21/20
West Ham will host Liverpool in the Premier League’s first game of 2016 at Upton Park this Saturday lunchtime in a game in which the Reds will be looking for revenge after losing 3-0 in the reverse fixture back in August.
West Ham come into this one unbeaten in six Premier League games, but have only managed one win in their last nine and don’t look to be as much of a threat as they were in the early weeks of the campaign.
It’s remarkable how they are still in the top half of the table, after taking just nine points from a possible 27 in their last nine matches.
Injuries haven’t helped Slaven Bilic’s men, though they have managed well enough with the loss of Dimitri Payet. But with his return nearing, things look positive for the Hammers if they can make winning a more frequent event from now.
West Ham United’s Premier League record: P19 – W7 – D8 – L4
Liverpool have been impressive as well as efficient recently, winning their last two games 1-0 in the Premier League.
Inconsistency, however, is letting them down. A 3-1 win against Chelsea and a 4-1 win against Manchester City have been blighted by losses to Watford and Newcastle in the last couple of months.
They come into the game in seventh place, just one point and one place above West Ham in the table, so a win for either here would be an important one.
Liverpool’s Premier League record: P19 – W8 – D6 – L5
Liverpool will want to push on for the top four now they have put two wins together and manager Jurgen Klopp knows a good start to 2016 will increase the club’s chances of Champions League qualification.
West Ham are likely to still be without Dimitri Payet, although he is nearing a return to action. Aaron Cresswell and Nikica Jelavic are also doubts and might miss this one too through injury. Winston Reid, Diafra Sakho and Victor Moses are all definitely out and will miss the clash.
Liverpool will be without Jordan Henderson, Martin Skrtel, Jon Flanagan, Joe Gomez, Danny Ings, Divork Origi, James Milner and Jordan Rossiter. Daniel Sturridge and Joe Allen are doubts but could start as Jurgen Klopp will need to make changes again.
West Ham United’s last five: D/D/D/D/W
Liverpool’s last five: L/D/L/W/W
Key Stat: West Ham are undefeated in their last seven home matches in the Premier League.
Key Player: Christian Benteke – The Belgian striker has been more clinical in front of goal recently, scoring in Liverpool’s last two games, and we expect him to be on the scoresheet once again here.
West Ham United 0-1 Liverpool – We’re not expecting many goals in this clash as both will want to start the new year in as solid a way as possible. However, we feel that Liverpool have enough quality to just edge out an injury-stricken West Ham side here.