IT’S difficult to work out Liverpool’s ambitions for the rest of the season. They’ve reached the Capital One Cup Final but haven’t been taking the FA Cup seriously.
Jurgen Klopp fielded reserve teams in both matches against Exeter and in the initial tie at home to West Ham but must now surely admit defeat in the race for a Champions League spot.
The Hammers, having defeated Liverpool 3-0 away and 2-0 at home in the league this season, looked too big at 3-1 when the line-ups were revealed but played poorly.
They still managed a 0-0 and that’s three clean sheets against the Reds who will have Jurgen Klopp back in the dugout after he missed the weekend draw with Sunderland as he underwent an appendix operation.
The German says he’s feeling better but can’t have watched the last 13 minutes of his side’s weekend match when they conceded two late goals after tens of thousands of fans walked out in protest at season-ticket prices.
Joey O’Brien will make his first start of the season at right-back with James Tomkins and Carl Jenkinson injured and Sam Byram cup-ties. Manuel Lanzini and Diafra Sakho are out.
While they continue to struggle in the league the team has suffered just one defeat in 11 cup ties and that was to Stoke before winning on penalties to reach the League Cup Final.
The likes of Martin Skrtel, Joe Allen, Danny Ings and Dejan Lovren all miss out but Philippe Coutinho, Divock Origi and Daniel Sturridge are all in contention after recovering from injuries.
This time West Ham are 8-5 match favourites but it’s a difficult call and it could simply come down to who wants it most. Liverpool are just under 2-1.
My advice from a betting point of view is to wait for confirmed line-ups then have a think about. I West Ham’s starting team shows many less changes than their visitors I’ll be on them to win.
With Liverpool having failed to net in 540 minutes against the Hammers a possible bet is under 1.5 Liverpool team goals at 1-2.
Here’s a couple of stats that won’t help at all. West Ham haven’t beaten Liverpool in seven FA Cup meetings but have lost just one of their last 10 FA Cup games at home to Arsenal in 2010.
Wait for line-ups