PREMIER LEAGUE expert Ben Levene (@benlevene96) shares his views on the Super Sunday clash between Liverpool and West Ham.
Liverpool v West Ham | Sunday 12th August 2018, 13:30 | Sky Sports
Champions League finalists Liverpool have had a successful transfer window, adding depth and a much-needed goalkeeper. They look to have gone up a level and are likely to prove Man City’s strongest challengers.
The Reds kick-off on Sunday at home to West Ham. Liverpool went unbeaten at Anfield last season, but even that doesn’t tempt me towards the 1/4 about them.
We know little about this new look West Ham, and what they are capable of.
Instead I’m happy to turn to the goal markets. Since Jurgen Klopp took charge, 32 of 51 Premier League games at Anfield have seen Over 2.5 goals (63%). Over the past two seasons that figure stands at 24 of 38, which still equates to 63%
Liverpool are known for their goals, so that’s nothing groundbreaking. But perhaps Sunday’s opponents, West Ham, can play their part too.
Klopp’s side have injury troubles in defence, with Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip both set to miss out. Joe Gomez is also a doubt, meaning Virgil Van Dijk could be the only fit first-team defender available.
The Hammers have also done business this summer, adding quality across the park – particularly in attack.
Felipe Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko have come in, and alongside Marko Arnautovic can form a dangerous front-three. Arnautovic thrived as a central-striker last season and has continued that form in pre-season.
West Ham will be a danger on the counter – that’s how I expect them to approach things. New manager Manuel Pelligrini is too shrewd to ignore Liverpool’s strengths and weaknesses.
Pelligrini won all three opening day matches in charge of Man City, although I wouldn’t be reading too much into that.
10 of 19 league games at Anfield last season saw a goal inside the opening half-hour, should that occur again, then the game will open up.
The First Goal time betting seems short – Over 1.5 first-half goals is 5/4 and that looks the shrewdest way to side with goals this Sunday.
Liverpool v West Ham – Over 1.5 first-half goals (5/4 Coral)