Premier League Preview and Prediction: West Ham vs Liverpool

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

Match Preview

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.

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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

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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.

Team News

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.

Key Points

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.

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Score Prediction

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.

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Premier League Preview and Prediction: Chelsea vs Liverpool

Competition: Premier League – Chelsea vs. Liverpool

Venue: Stamford Bridge – Saturday, October 31 – 12:45 GMT (08:45 ET)

Match Odds: Chelsea 21/20 – Draw 12/5 – Liverpool 5/2

Match Preview

Chelsea welcome Liverpool to Stamford Bridge in the first Premier League game of the weekend on Saturday in what is a huge game for both clubs.

Chelsea’s ongoing struggles don’t seem to be improving and it is difficult to see when their season is going to pick up. The pressure on Jose Mourinho and his side every game is so intense but this is a good chance for them to show other sides they are capable of bouncing back.

They come into this one off the back of their midweek League Cup exit to Stoke City, losing 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in normal time.

Chelsea’s Premier League record: P10 – W3 – D2 – L5

Last weekend’s ill-disciplined loss against West Ham was the champions’ fifth Premier League defeat of the season and they come into the game sitting in 15th place.

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Liverpool sit six places higher in ninth but come into this one off the back of three consecutive league draws.

New manager Jurgen Klopp has a great chance of becoming even more of a fan favourite if he can guide his side to a victory in this huge tie.

Liverpool’s Premier League record: P10 – W3 – D5 – L2

Liverpool won 1-0 against AFC Bournemouth in the League Cup in midweek and will want to build on that solid performance with another good showing in London. They have already kept clean sheets at Arsenal and Tottenham this campaign, drawing both matches 0-0.

Klopp will have his side more than aware that Chelsea are not to be taken lightly despite their woeful form and will expect them to give their all to take three points.

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Team News

Chelsea have four injury concerns. Thibaut Courtois and Branislav Ivanovic remain out, while Diego Costa and Pedro are doubts. Nemanja Matic is suspended following his first-half red card last weekend.

Liverpool’s injury woes continue as Kolo Toure, Danny Ings, Jordan Henderson, Joe Gomez and Jon Flanagan are set to miss out. Daniel Sturridge and Christian Benteke are doubts but the Liverpool faithful will be praying they both pass fitness tests.

Key Points

Chelsea’s last five in the Premier League: W/D/L/W/L

Liverpool’s last five in the Premier League: D/W/D/D/D

Key Stat: Stalemate – These two have drawn their last three meetings in all competitions.

Key Player: Willian – The Brazilian has probably been Chelsea’s best player so far this season. They need him to be at his very best if they’re to stand any chance of taking all three points in this one.

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Score Prediction

Chelsea 1-2 Liverpool – Liverpool to heap more misery on Chelsea, who just cannot seem to get going.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Liverpool vs Bournemouth

Competition: Premier League – Liverpool vs. Bournemouth 

Venue: Anfield – Monday, August 17 – 20:00 BST (15:00 ET)

Match Odds: Liverpool 4/9 – Draw 100/30 – Bournemouth 6/1

Match Preview

Liverpool welcome Premier League newboys AFC Bournemouth to Anfield on Monday night as the Reds fans will get their first look at their side without Steven Gerrard leading the team out for the opening league game.

After a summer overhaul that saw Gerrard and Raheem Sterling leave the club, Brendan Rodgers has taken steps to refresh the squad with new talent. The likes of Roberto Firmino and Christian Benteke have added threat to a new look Liverpool attack as they look to break back into the top four after a disappointing campaign.

It’s a case of trying to rebuild whilst still aiming high for Liverpool. And after losing your captain and club legend Gerrard, it will be extremely difficult to do so.

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They won 1-0 at Stoke last weekend, gaining revenge from that 6-1 thrashing at the end of last season, but they were far from convincing and need to use Monday night’s game as a platform to impress.

The same can be said for Bournemouth, who will want to prove they deserve to be in the top flight after an impressive display in the Championship last term.

They lost 1-0 at home to Aston Villa last week but created plenty of chances and will look to relish the occasion of playing at Anfield here.

Eddie Howe has certain philosophy he has imprinted on the south coast but their positive style football must also bring points as they look to extend their stay in the top flight past the end of the season.

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This will be the first ever league meeting between the two, though they have met twice in less than two years, with Liverpool winning a League Cup and an FA Cup game against the Cherries, both away from Anfield.

Team News

Liverpool will be without Jon Flanagan and Daniel Sturridge who remain long-term absentees. Joe Allen is a doubt after sustaining an injury in preseason. Roberto Firmino will hope to start behind Christian Benteke up top.

Bournemouth have Christian Atsu and Shaun MacDonald as doubts but Atsu should play some part. Harry Arter is expected to miss Monday’s game after missing most of preseason.

Key Points

Liverpool’s form: W

Bournemouth’s form: L

Key Stat: Monday night will be the first time the two sides have met in the Football League.

Key Player: Christian Benteke – New Liverpool striker Benteke will want to open his Reds account after drawing a blank against Stoke last weekend and will look to impress on his home debut.

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Score Prediction

Liverpool 2-0 Bournemouth – Liverpool looked average at best last weekend but should have enough to win comfortably at home in what could be a tight game. Bournemouth’s free-flowing style of play could cause the Reds problems but it may be too tough a test for Eddie Howe’s men to pass this early on in the season.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Stoke vs Liverpool

Competition: Premier League – Stoke City vs. Liverpool

Venue: Britannia Stadium – Sunday, August 9 – 16:00 BST (11:00 ET)

Match Odds: Stoke 12/5 – Draw 12/5 – Liverpool 6/5

Match Preview

Stoke host Liverpool on Sunday afternoon in their 2015/16 Premier League season opener in what will be a repeat of their final game of the 2014/15 season, in which Stoke stunned Liverpool 6-1 at the Britannia.

That game ensured the Reds ended a disappointing season in disastrous fashion, while the Potters went into the summer in high spirits after a promising campaign.

Mark Hughes has had another impressive summer as far as transfer dealings are concerned and Stoke look to have strengthened, even with the loss of goalkeeper Asmir Begovic to Chelsea.

They will be looking to start the year with another win against Liverpool as they look to improve on last season’s ninth placed finish and perhaps bring European football back to the Britannia.

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A far from impressive preseason campaign saw the Potters win just two of six games, losing their last three games on the bounce coming into the season opener.

On the other hand, Liverpool come into the new year in excellent form, having not lost any of their six preseason matches.

Brendan Rodgers is under pressure to turn things around at Anfield after a disappointing season last time out, but the losses of Steven Gerrard and Raheem Sterling could make that a tougher task than it seems.

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Plenty of new signings have arrived and the test will be getting them to gel quickly as they look to break back into the top four after their sixth-placed finish last season.

Team News

Stoke will still be without Bojan, although the playmaker is back in training after missing the final five months of last season. Ryan Shawcross is also ruled out, while Marc Wilson and Marko Arnautovic are doubts. Glen Johnson, who joined on a free from Liverpool this summer, could make his debut at right-back.

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Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has three injury concerns as Jon Flanagan and Daniel Sturridge are ruled out, while Joe Allen is doubtful. New signings Joe Gomez, Nathaniel Clyne, James Milner and Christian Benteke are all set to start for the Reds in what will be a new-look side. Roberto Firmino may have to settle for a place on the bench as he is not believed to be fit enough to start.

Key Points

Stoke’s preseason form: L/W/W/L/L/L

Liverpool’s preseason form: W/W/W/D/W/W

Key Stat: There have been 16 goals in the last three games between the two sides – an average of 5.3 per game.

Key Player: Christian Benteke – Liverpool’s £32.5 million summer arrival will look to start life as a Red with a goal on the way to helping his new side to three points.

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Score Prediction

Stoke City 2-2 Liverpool – Expecting another open, entertaining game at the Britannia between two sides looking to start the new season with three points. Stoke will be looking to follow up their end of season result with another victory but Liverpool should be out to impress and their new signings should earn them at least a point in this one.

Could Chelsea beat Liverpool to this £32.5m star to replace MLS bound Drogba?

Chelsea striker Didier Drogba is set to leave the club with MLS his most likely destination, leaving the Blues with only two recognised Premier League forwards on the books in the shape of Diego Costa and Loic Remy.

Jose Mourinho will expectedly be lining up a replacement for the Ivorian as both Costa and Remy are prone to injuries, so strength in depth could be the key to retaining the Premier League crown next season.

It has been revealed this week that Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke has a buyout clause of £32.5m and manager Tim Sherwood has admitted that should anyone meet the asking price, there is nothing Villa can do to stop him leaving.

“There’s a buyout clause in his contract so it will be impossible for us to stop him if he wants to go. Someone’s got to meet that buyout clause and if they don’t, it won’t be considered because we don’t want to lose him,” said Sherwood, as reported by The Guardian.

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Benteke enjoyed an impressive end to the season with Villa, netting 11 times in his final 11 league games, as well as helping them to the FA Cup final with a goal in the 2-1 semi-final win over Liverpool.

Sherwood knows that the cup final could be the Belgian striker’s last game for the club but has urged him to stay at Villa Park in order to hold out for a possible dream move next summer.

“We’re building up to a European Championship, which is a huge stage for Christian, and a tournament where you feel that Belgium will be one of the favourites to win it. By playing for Aston Villa it hasn’t hindered him being the first choice for Belgium up to now.

“If he were to stay here and score at the ratio that he has since I took over, and ends up with 20 or 30 goals next season and then has a good Euros, he is probably playing for Real Madrid [by 2016]. Christian could go to the best club in the world if he scores 30 goals next season. He could be that good.”

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Liverpool have already been strongly linked with the 24-year-old but a move to a side playing Champions League football could be more appealing.

Because of Benteke’s stature and strength, he is a player in a similar mould to Drogba and would suit Chelsea’s style of play under Mourinho, who likes physically imposing forwards to lead the line, therefore making the Belgian an ideal replacement.

Could Christian Benteke move to Chelsea this summer?

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Aston Villa vs Burnley

Competition: Premier League – Aston Villa vs. Burnley

Venue: Villa Park – Sunday, May 24th – 15:00 BST (10:00 ET)

Match Odds: Aston Villa 21/20 – Draw 5/2 – Burnley 12/5

Match Preview

Aston Villa take on Burnley in the final game of the 2014/15 of the Premier League season and Burnley’s last appearance before their drop back to the Championship.

Tim Sherwood‘s appointment as Villa boss in February is one of the stories of the season and his rejuvenation of the side has seen them stay up.

Despite Villa’s escape from the drop last weekend’s 6-1 thumping by Southampton is one to forget and the Villans can end the season on a good note by heaping more misery on already relegated Burnley.

Christian Benteke hit form at the right time for Sherwood and his goals have played a major role in retaining top flight football for the club. He has scored 11 in his last ten games.

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Burnley just haven’t had enough to avoid the drop this season and they were the first side to be drop back down to the Championship.

Sean Dyche‘s side have lost 19 games this season and it is not surprising they haven’t stayed up as winning just six games is not good enough.

They picked up a point last weekend against Stoke and the best they can hope for is a positive result here to avoid finishing at the foot of the table.

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Danny Ings has been the best thing for the club this season and his form, although not enough to keep them up, will surely force a Premier League move during the transfer window. He has netted ten goals in 34 games and can give his fans something to cheer as their stay in the top flight comes to an end.

Team News

Aston Villa have five injury concerns. Kieran Richardson, Libor Kozák, Nathan Baker, Ciaran Clark and Chris Herd are all unavailable. Sherwood will hope his side play with freedom and put last weekend’s result behind them.

Burnley have two absentees with Kevin Long and Dean Marney out. Other than that, Dyche has a full selection and has the opportunity to give some of the less regular members of his squad a final run-out.

Key Points

Aston Villa’s last five: L/L/L/W/D

Burnley’s last five: L/L/L/W/D

Key Stat: Burnley have failed to score in seven of their last eight games.

Key Player: Christian Benteke – The Belgian powerhouse is who Villa fans need to thank for their survival and he is now tipped for a big summer move.

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Score Prediction

Aston Villa 2-0 Burnley – Not much joy for Burnley here as Villa will ease to a final day victory

Liverpool closing in on Premier League goal-machine

Liverpool are closing in on Aston Villa‘s Christian Benteke as the striker is looking to force his way out of the club, according to the Sun.

Benteke has netted 13 goals in 28 Premier League appearances, recapturing the form he showed when he first signed for Villa in 2012.

Brendan Rodgers is expected to enter the summer transfer market in search of a goal-scorer as Rickie Lambert and Mario Balotelli have been linked with moves away from the club. Daniel Sturridge is expected to miss the start of the season so Rodgers will see his options severely limited.

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Villa boss, Tim Sherwood, is desperate not to lose his star-man but Benteke is reportedly set to double his wages if he secures a move to Merseyside.

Benteke’s current deal is set to expire in 2017 so any potential club will have to pay around £30 million to secure his services.

Would Benteke be a good signing for Liverpool?

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Southampton vs Aston Villa

Competition: Premier League – Southampton vs. Aston Villa

Venue: St Mary’s Stadium – Saturday, May 16th – 12:45 BST (7:45 ET)

Match Odds: Southampton 4/5 – Draw 5/2 – Aston Villa 7/2

Match Preview

Aston Villa travel to St Mary’s knowing that a win against Southampton will guarantee top-flight football for another year.

The Saints are chasing their own ambitions however, as they close in on Europa League football. They are one point off Tottenham and will need a win to keep the pressure on Spurs going into the final weekend.

Southampton have been impressive this term despite their drop in form recently and have managed to only concede 12 goals at home in the Premier League, which is no mean feat.

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However, they haven’t registered a win in their last four and have conceded at least two in all of those matches, so Villa will feel confident ahead of this one.

Southampton’s home record in the Premier League: P18 – W10 – D4 – L4

Aston Villa have turned a corner under Tim Sherwood as they look more confident and hungry under the former Spurs boss, achieving a 55% win ratio in the Premier League alone.

When you add this to the matter of them being in the FA Cup final, few will argue what a great job Sherwood has done in such a short space of time as the Villains looked doomed at one point.

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Much of the recent form has been down to the scoring streak that Christian Benteke has put together, netting ten times in the league since Sherwood came in. A sensational return.

Aston Villa’s away record in the Premier League: P18 – W5 – D2 – L11

This being said, Villa have only managed to find the net 12 times away from home this season and will need to be at their best to beat the Saints on Saturday.

Team News

Southampton will be without Dusan Tadic, Jay Rodriguez, Morgan Schneiderlin, Emmanuel Mayuka and Fraser Forster. James Ward-Prowse is back in contention after serving a suspension. Kelvin Davis is expected to come in for Paulo Gazzaniga in goal.

Aston Villa will travel to Southampton without Chris Herd, Ciaran Clark and Nathan Baker as all three are ruled out. Ashley Westwood should continue to keep Carlos Sanchez out of the side and Gabby Agbonlahor could be preferred to Charles N’Zogbia in attack.

Key Points

Southampton’s last five: W/L/D/L/L

Aston Villa’s last five: D/W/L/W/W

Key Stat: Villa have only lost once away at Southampton since November 2000, a 4-1 loss in 2012.

Key Player: Christian Benteke – The Belgian hit-man has been sensational as of late he will be expected to torture Southampton’s defence in this one.

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Score Prediction

Southampton 1-1 Aston Villa – With both teams needing a win, expect them to cancel each other out, as a draw looks the most likely result. A point for Villa should be enough to keep them out of any trouble on the last day, while Southampton will have all to play for should they avoid defeat themselves.

Chelsea set to make move for £30m Premier League star – report

Jose Mourinho is expected to bolster his Chelsea frontline this summer and a number of candidates have already been shortlisted. Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke is the latest to be linked with the new champions, according to Goal.com.

Benteke struggled in the first half of the season but has been rejuvenated under Tim Sherwood and his form looks like it could be enough to keep his side in the Premier League.

The Belgian powerhouse has netted 11 goals in his last nine games and is once again displaying that sensational form he showed when he first joined Villa.

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Chelsea’s forward line have struggled in stages this season, with injuries sidelining Diego Costa and Loic Remy, and Didier Drogba not able to contribute to the same levels as he once did.

Benteke could be a be a slight gamble for Chelsea given his drop in form earlier in the season, but he is a proven Premier League striker, and the service he would be on the receiving end of would be a dream for any centre-forward.

Sherwood isn’t going to let his star go easily, nor for a low fee, and it is reported that Villa will be holding out for around £30 million for the 24-year-old striker with Spurs, Manchester United and West Ham also linked.

Is Christian Benteke the man Chelsea need to bolster their forward line this summer?

United, Spurs and West Ham to battle for £20m striking star

Manchester United, Tottenham and West Ham are all being linked with a £20 million move for Aston Villa forward Christian Benteke this summer.

The 24-year-old Belgian has rediscovered his form under Tim Sherwood at Villa and scored his ninth goal in his last seven matches in Sunday’s incredible FA Cup win against Liverpool at Wembley.

Despite his fine displays in a Villa shirt once again, Benteke could be scoring goals for another Premier League side next season, with no shortage of interest in the powerful striker.

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Manchester United boss Louis Van Gaal was impressed with his performance at Old Trafford earlier this month and could make a summer move, according to the Daily Star.

United will need attacking reinforcements as Javier Hernandez, Robin Van Persie, Radamel Falcao and James Wilson could all leave in the next couple of months, though Wilson’s departure would only be a loan move.

Spurs and West Ham will rival the Red Devils for Benteke’s signature though and both London clubs are looking to the Villa man to solve their striking shortage’s, according to the Daily Mail.

Tottenham have relied on Harry Kane this year but with Emmanuel Adebayor and Roberto Soldado being linked with moves away, at least one more striker will be needed.

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While West Ham are also in the market for a star striker after watching Andy Carroll suffer with continuous injuries, while Carlton Cole will leave when his contract expires this summer.

Sherwood will be desperate to keep Benteke at Villa Park after some fine recent displays but a big money offer could tempt the Villains to sell their star man.

Will Christian Benteke leave Aston Villa this summer? Would a move to United, Spurs or West Ham make sense?