Carroll can cause Reds problems on their West Ham trip
Matt Haynes | December 31, 2015
West Ham v Liverpool
- Premier League
- Saturday, January 2
- Kick-off: 12:45 GMT
- Upton Park, east London
- Live on BT Sport 1
Reds look to extend run
Liverpool are evens with Coral to beat West Ham United which would make it three wins in a row and boost their chances for a top four finish while possibly taking them ahead of fierce rivals Manchester United.
The Reds embark on a challenging fixture schedule over the next month and, out of most of their Premier League match-ups, will see this as an ideal opportunity for three points.
Jordan Henderson hobbled off last time out against his former club Sunderland and will face a late fitness test, with it being likely that the midfielder could well miss the match.
Striker Christian Benteke has now scored two in two matches and, crucially, both of them have been winners. The Belgian is 5/1 to open the scoring and may relish a physical battle with Hammers’ centre back pairing James Collins and Angelo Ogbonna.
His goal last time out against Sunderland was the quickest second half strike of the season, coming after 22 seconds. It was the result of fantastic one-touch interplay between Philippe Coutinho (2/1 anytime) and Adam Lallana (5/1 anytime) before sliding past the keeper instinctively.
While he missed a chance at the end of the match, going one-on-one with Vito Mannone, it appears that when Benteke has time to think about what he will do with the ball, he spurns the chance, so his teammates may look to play him into situations where he doesn’t have any time to second-guess himself.
Hammers at the double
In the reverse, the hosts were emphatic 3-0 winners at Anfield. Manuel Lanzini (2/1 anytime), Mark Noble (6/1) and Diafra Sakho (unavailable) all scored, though with Jurgen Klopp at the Reds helm the Hammers will no doubt face a much sterner test.
Slaven Bilic’s side are also unbeaten in six matches, though five of those are draws, with their only win coming last time out against Southampton. Michail Antonio (7/2 anytime) and Andy Carroll dispatched and it could well be the latter who is earmarked to do the business for the home side against his former club.
Against strong strikers, Liverpool’s defence, which has looked shaky at the best of times this season, may falter and the physical presence of Carroll may well cause problems for the Reds rearguard. He is therefore, great value at 9/1 to score two or more, especially with the returning Dimitri Payet a genuine threat from set-pieces.
Speaking of the Frenchman, his return is a huge boost for the Hammers and, if he is 100 per cent fit, he could well run the match for them and is 11/4 to net anytime.
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