CARDS specialist Chris Goodwin (@CGeorgeGamble) picks out his favourite fancies from Super Sunday's showdown between West Ham and Liverpool.
West Ham vs Liverpool | Sunday 31st January 2020, 16:30 | Sky Sports
David Moyes and his West Ham United side are in exceptional form after winning their last four EPL matches. A win here would see them leapfrog today’s opponents into the top four.
It will be a tough task to accomplish as it would appear Liverpool have rediscovered the scoring form that’s made them one of the most formidable sides in Europe.
The Hammers have had a brilliant first half of the season and their fine form has found them fighting it out for a place amongst the European elite next season.
They’ve won their last four games on the spin and have also taken points from Leicester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City to name a few.
The appointment of Moyes on a permanent basis back in December 2019 raised a few eyebrows as he had failed to replicate that which he had previously achieved at Everton. However, it looks as though the London Stadium has provided him with the perfect stage to make West Ham one of the most hard-working and consistent teams in the division.
Only time will tell if they can sustain it and what better way to send that message than by taking points from the Champions.
It’s been a testing first half of the season for Jurgen Klopp as he has seen his side ravaged by injuries. A side renowned for finding the back of the net have seen the goals dry up in recent weeks, however, he will be hoping the midweek victory against Spurs can act as a springboard and propel them back towards the top of the table.
The Reds have won just one of their last six games and have failed to score in three of those. In their 10 away games so far this season, they have conceded in seven of them, and this is something they will need to rectify and tighten up if they’re to keep out a West Ham side who’ve scored in all but one of their home games so far this season.
● Commit on average 10.9 fouls per game when playing at home this season.
● Receive on average 8.6 fouls per game when playing at home this season.
● When playing at home against teams in the top half this season, they have seen 2+
cards on 1/3 occasions.
● In those games, the opposition has seen 2+ cards on 0/3 occasions.
● Are winless in nine EPL matches against Liverpool (D2 L7).
● Have won their last six games in all competitions – have only won seven in a row twice
throughout their entire history.
● Michail Antonio has scored more goals against Liverpool in the EPL than any other
player for The Hammers.
● New signing Jesse Lingard is contention to make his first start for the Hammers, after joining on loan from Manchester United.
● Arthur Masuaku remains absent for this one.
● Commit on average 10.1 fouls per game when playing away this season.
● Receive on average 8.5 fouls per game when playing away this season.
● When playing away against teams in the top half this season, they have seen 2+ cards
on 2/5 occasions.
● In those games, the opposition has seen 2+ cards on 4/5 occasions.
● Have scored at least two goals in eight of their last nine games against West Ham in all
● Are unbeaten in all four games at The London Stadium (W3 D1) and could become just
the second team to go unbeaten away at the ground, after Manchester City.
● Have lost just one of their last 31 EPL games played on a Sunday (W21 D9). That defeat
came this season away to Aston Villa. Each of their last three league games on a
Sunday have ended in a draw.
● Since 2017/18, Mohamed Salah has scored in six of his seven EPL games against West
Ham, netting seven goals.
● Fabinho was not risked against Tottenham after suffering a slight muscle injury in training earlier in the week.
● To make things worse, Joel Matip was forced off at half-time against Tottenham potentially leaving Jurgen Klopp forced to field Nat Phillips or Rhys Williams with Jordan Henderson at centre-back.
● After some initial struggles as Liverpool's holding midfielder, Thiago was moved into a move advanced position against Tottenham and seemed to work more effectively.
● Curtis Jones is an option in midfield if James Milner is unable to start three games in a
Referee: Jonathan Moss
● Averaging just 2.64 cards per game this season after awarding 29 yellow cards in 11 appearances.
● Reffed three EPL games featuring Liverpool in 2020, including this exact fixture home and away, and failed to show Liverpool a single card. Their opponents saw six cards combined.
My first pick is for West Ham to see the Most Booking Points in the game.
Moyes men are on excellent form at the moment but they have a torrid record against Liverpool and I think there will be a few rash challenges as they look to outwork Klopp’s side.
I’ve previously mentioned that so far this season, when Liverpool have played away to sides currently in the top half, their opponents have seen two or more cards in 80% of them, meanwhile, Liverpool has only seen 2+ in 40% of those.
Referee Moss was in charge of both this and the reverse fixture last season. In both of those, Liverpool didn’t pick up a single card whereas, across those two games, The Hammers picked up five in total.
These two are the most well-disciplined sides in the league so I think cards will be at a premium, however, I really do fancy West Ham to see more cards than this weekend’s visitors to The London Stadium given the likelihood of this being an end to end game.
My second pick is for West Ham to see a card but for Liverpool to see under two cards.
In the three games that West Ham have played at home against sides in the top half so far this season, they’ve seen at least one on two of them and I expect them to pick up at least one here. On the other hand, I don’t expect the visitors to commit too many rash challenges and as such, I think they’ll stay out of Jonathan Moss’ book.
I know Liverpool will have a makeshift defence and will put in some players with minimal experience who may be out of position, however, I just don’t see them being punished by Moss, who is exceptionally lenient and who also has failed to show them a single card in the last three games they have featured in with him as the referee.