Competition: FA Cup Fourth Round – Liverpool vs. West Ham United
Venue: Anfield – Saturday, January 30 – 17:30 GMT (12:30 ET)
Match Odds Liverpool 29/10 – Draw 12/5 – West Ham 29/10
Liverpool are facing their third match in seven days here. They booked a Wembley date with Manchester City for February 28th after their League Cup semifinal victory over Stoke City on penalties on Tuesday.
But with plenty of key players having played that match, Jurgen Klopp could rest some of those stars for the West Ham game, especially as they head to Leicester City on Tuesday night.
If the Reds do advance to the fifth round, it will mean they play at least seven matches next month as the fixtures just keep coming. So some big decisions lie at the German manager’s door on what to prioritise.
Christian Benteke could lead the line for Liverpool after starting on the bench against Stoke. He started both games against Exeter City in the third round of this competition.
For West Ham, the 2006 FA Cup final has been the closest the club has come to winning silverware since 1980. With the Hammer’s league form so strong, and with the scalps they have been pulling off, they could well go deep into this year’s FA Cup.
This competition gives them their last chance of winning silverware before they leave Upton Park for their move to the Olympic Stadium next season.
West Ham can take huge confidence from completing a league double over their counterparts on Saturday, scoring five goals and conceding none in the two league matches against Liverpool.
With longer rest time than their opponents too, they could inflict some serious damage on the Reds.
Dimitri Payet is a man that Liverpool will need to halt, as the Frenchman has been so impressive since joining from Marseille in the Summer. One defeat in eleven has seen the Hammers move up into sixth place in the league, one place above the Reds in seventh, so this should be a close battle.
The match comes too soon for the likes of Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho, Martin Skrtel and Divock Origi, while Danny Ings and Joe Gomez are long-term absentees.
West Ham recently lost Carl Jenkinson for the season. James Tomkins, Michail Antonio and Mark Noble are racing to bit fit, while Andy Carroll is expected to be back in training next week. Diafra Sakho is still missing through a knee injury.
Liverpool’s last five in all competitions: D/L/W/W/L
West Ham’s last five in all competitions: W/W/W/L/D
Key Stat: Liverpool haven’t conceded a goal at Anfield in the FA Cup since 2012, which coincides with the last time they got to the final, when they played Chelsea in a 2-1 loss.
Key Player: Dimitri Payet – When Payet is on the pitch West Ham look a totally different side. He is West Ham’s top scorer and leader in assists and is a true fan favourite. He can cause problems for a Liverpool backline that has been decimated by injuries in recent weeks and he is more than capable of unlocking the door that can send West Ham to the next round.
Liverpool 0-2 West Ham – A first league double over Liverpool since 1952 will give the Hammers huge amounts of confidence going into this one. Injuries on both sets of teams deplete the matchup of key players. But West Ham are confident away from home as victories over Arsenal, Manchester City and their opponents Liverpool have already shown. Whoever wins will be feared in round five.