Liverpool v West Ham: Matip’s return makes for any easy win

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WILL DYER (@w2Dyer)’s second Sunday helping comes from Anfield. Liverpool’s 15 game unbeaten run came to an end last time out but will they get back on track at the first attempt against a ragged West Ham?

Liverpool v West Ham | Sunday 16:30 | Sky Sports 1

Sunday pits the wits of two clubs that registered pretty shocking defeats last time out. Liverpool throwing away a 3-1 lead to lose 4-3 at Bournemouth in the dying minutes whilst West Ham were torn apart by Arsenal in a 5-1 thrashing at the London Stadium.

That was Jürgen Klopp’s first defeat in 16 matches since the 2-0 loss at Burnley way back in August and therefore only their second defeat this season.

Funny that both defeats should come at lesser lights like the Clarets and Cherries, but then again this has been a problem of the Reds for some time; consistently winning the games that they should be strolling through.

Prior to the game at Vitality Stadium, Liverpool had kept three consecutive clean sheets and actually this was only the second time they’d conceded two or more goals in a game since that loss at Turf Moor, the other being the 4-2 win over Crystal Palace.

MVP Matip

At Anfield they have conceded just five goals in eight matches this season and thankfully their defensive MVP, Joel Matip, had no problems in training this week and should be good to start against West Ham.

Matip has been a wonderful acquisition from Schalke. This time last year there was already talk of landing the Cameroonian centre-back but Liverpool had to wait until the summer. Since then he has taken to the Premier League like a duck to water and the stats show just how important he is to the club.

In 11 Premier League games with Matip the Reds have conceded nine goals, in the three games without him they’ve conceded the same amount! Liverpool will also be relieved to see that Sadio Mane has recovered quickly and also trained this week without any problems, ready for the game on Sunday.

Mane is Liverpool’s top scorer in the league on seven goals. He’s also made a brilliant transition and that return is exceptional for a player who’s not an out and out striker. In fact, the Senegalese winger’s strike rate is top class, 87 goals scored in 235 games for club and country and he’s still just 24 years-old.

Liverpool’s playing style suits Mane down to the tee and while Philippe Coutinho is side-lined his importance to the side is accentuated even more. Roberto Firmino also bears the weight of responsibility but he had a poor game against Bournemouth, never really finding the time and space to affect the game.

Unhappy Hammers

As for the Irons, things have gone from bad to worse for them this season. Crowd trouble, controversy over the Olympic stadium deal and on the pitch a woeful start has extended into December.

Getting knocked out of the Europa League by a penniless Astra Giurgiu was a shambles but the league form has arguably been worse. A W3-D3-L8 record compared to the same stage last season when they were W6-D4-L4.

Michail Antonio and Winston Reid have been their top performers but the former is injured for the game this weekend. A change in formation has not had the desired effect and although Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini were absent earlier in the season their return to the side hasn’t done anything for results.

All three Premier League wins have come by 1-0 score-lines but it’s very hard to see that happening at Anfield on current form. The Hammers actually won this fixture 3-0 last season though but incredibly that was before Klopp had even set foot on Merseyside, the German coach feels like part of the furniture now.

Liverpool to dominate

The only positive I can find for West Ham is that they’ve found the back of the net in each of their last five games in all competitions. However, with Matip returning to the hosts defence and Klopp surely working on defensive structure in mid-week I can’t even count on that run continuing.

The Reds have won 13 games in all competitions this season, 11 of those have featured over 2.5 goals but that bet is a best price 8/11 with BetStars and as short as 4/7 in places.

Instead I’ll look to the correct score group markets. Liverpool to win 2-0, 3-0 or 3-1 is 11/5 at BetVictor and that makes much more appeal.

Best Bets

Liverpool v West Ham – Liverpool to win 2-0, 3-0 or 3-1 (11/5 BetVictor)

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Will's an avid supporter of his local team, Swindon Town. He got into betting after a serious case of beginners luck landing a 14 fold BTTS accumulator. Whilst mostly transfixed to the English Leagues, he can't get enough of football and can regularly be found watching more obscure matches from around the globe. Will has a growing interest in American Football after watching the Atlanta Falcons in the States a few years ago. Outside of betting he loves nothing more than snowboarding, travelling the world and a weekend with his pals.

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