Liverpool v West Ham
Premier League. Kick-Off 1.30pm Sunday August 12th. Live on Sky Sports
LIVERPOOL are expected to launch what many people are tipping to be a Premier League title challenge with an easy victory at home to West Ham.
Last season’s run to the Champions League Final, and three wins in four matches against Manchester City, showed what the Reds are capable of on their day.
And with belief that they can go toe-to-toe with the very best teams in Europe has inspired a summer of big spending by Liverpool, who have bolstered their squad by bringing in Alisson, Fabinho, Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri for combined fees of £160million.
That quartet should make Jurgen Klopp’s team significantly stronger, and they were pretty good anyway with Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino forming an often irresistible trio up front that could trouble any defence.
Thus Liverpool are now second favourites in the title betting and after a pre-season in which they won seven, drew one and lost one – to Borussia Dortmund – in their nine warm-up matches, they now aim to get off to a flyer against a much-changed West Ham team.
Manuel Pellegrini is the Hammers’ new manager and has been backed to the hilt, with their outlay on new players being around £90million a couple of hours before the transfer deadline in addition to free-transfer captures Jack Wilshere and Ryan Fredericks.
Greater creativity was clearly the aim for West Ham and that will be provided by Wilshere, Felipe Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko, although another out-and-out goalscorer was something which, at the time of writing, the East Enders had not managed to secure.
Although West Ham’s pre-season results were solid, the opposition was never top-notch and it could take some time for their new-look squad to gel, so all I can see is Liverpool getting their season up and running quickly with an emphatic success.
I can’t see West Ham going down without a fight but think Liverpool will prove too strong up top and be more clinical with their chances.
Liverpool v West Ham stats
- Liverpool have scored exactly four goals (and won) in all of their last three matches against West Ham
- All of the last four meetings of these clubs have contained over 3.5 goals
- West Ham have won on only one of their last 48 visits to Anfield