FA Cup: West Ham United - Liverpool
These two are meeting for the fourth time this season and Liverpool are still looking for their first win and goal, after losing both league games and drawing the first FA Cup game at Anfield. The Reds were absolutely battered in the EPL game at Upton Park over New Year and were lucky to score nil and concede only two ! The Reds were the better team in the cup game , despite making ten changes and should really have won that by a couple of goals. They have very littlle (as in no) chance of finishing any higher than 5th in the league and surely it will be all about the cups from now on in and Liverpool are still involved in three of those and could still salvage plenty from this campaign. The one worrying thing about that is that they "rested" a handful of youngsters from the U21 team at the weekend and they are clearly going to continue to continue to rotate to some degree, but Daniel Sturridge (who was an unused sub at the weekend), Philippe Coutinho and Divock Origi are all set to return . Sturridge and Christian Benteke have been playing together in training in build up and the club are clearly going to try the pair in tandem at some stage, probably this evening, but the signals in terms of line up, are very mixed.
They are coming off a 2-2 home draw with Sunderland at the weekend which suited us, but the Reds should have coasted home after leading 2-0 late in the game, they can claim to have been distracted by the fan protest which saw many of the home supporters leave in the 77th minute, immediately followed by the first goal conceded, but there have been a lot of excuses this season and patience is wearing a litth thin. At times they have looked quite good and at others pretty dire, either the goals do not come, or when they do they gift them back at the other end, two against Sunderland, three to Arsenal, four to Norwich City, the only thing you cannot fault them for is their work ethic and under Jurgen Klopp, they are 100% committed and prepared to run until they drop.
The Hammers have said they will rotate a little, but also that they would give this priority over the upcoming league game. I would be surprised if the Hammers kept Liverpool out for a fourth straight game and there was enough encouragement from the last meeting at Anfield and the weekend game to feel that there will be at least a goal in this for the visitors, regardless of line up. Early goals have been a feature of recent United games, with 8 inside 17 minutes in eight of their last nine starts and if one comes tonight, it could be a catalyst for turning this into a mini goal fest. Travelling support of 6,000 will ensure that there is no let up from the visitors , whatever the scoreline , last ten h2h meetings in East London have averaged 3.3 goals and I expect this to follow suit.
over 2.5 goals 2.14 asian line/Sportmarket