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Jon Riley 26th Feb 2011 - 18:25

London calling for the resurgent Reds

West Ham v Liverpool | 13:30 - live on Sky Sports 1

King Kenny and his resurgent Liverpool team return to London less than a month after taking all three points from the west end of the capital. This time it's the east end they'll be heading to and West Ham, not Chelsea, they'll be facing.

Liverpool's win over Sparta Prague at Anfield on Thursday night saw Dalglish's men go eight games unbeaten and the Reds are priced at 5/4 to win the match and extend that run. Steven Gerrard could return from a groin injury but doubts still remain over Daniel Agger, Glen Johnson and Martin Kelly.

In Gerrard's recent absence Raul Meireles has really stepped up and taken the responsibility for leading Liverpool's midfield. The Portuguese international has showed the aggression, skill and technique that many expected when Meireles was signed but he failed to deliver for the first few months of the season. Meireles has also found the net on a frequent basis under manager Kenny Dalglish and with Torres off to Chelsea and Gerrard on the sidelines, his goals have been invaluable. For the former Porto star to open the scoring you can get odds of 8/1 and 11/4 for him to score anytime.

Andy Carroll, the Reds record signing but still yet to play, is 9/2 to be fit for the game and to score the opener but he is unlikely to be risked by Dalglish. A more likely attacking duo will be Luis Suarez (4/1 first scorer, EVS anytime) and Dirk Kuyt (6/1 first scorer, 7/4 anytime). Suarez is still finding his feet in the Premier League but Kuyt is a relative old head now and will be looking to add to his Europa League winner in midweek with another goal at the Boleyn ground.

Scotty Parker's awe-inspiring and emotionally heartfelt rallying cry at half-time away at West Brom in their last league game could prove a turning point in the Hammers' season. Trailing 3-0 to one of their relegation rivals, the team turned in a second half performance almost unrecognisable to that of the first 45 minutes to earn a 3-3 draw.

West Ham (12/5) took the impetus from the game at the Hawthorns into their FA Cup clash against Burnley and with Thomas Hitzlsperger making his long awaited debut, they dispatched their Championship opposition comfortably in a 5-2 victory.

The scorers in that comeback were Demba Ba (7/1 first scorer, 2/1 anytime) and Carlton Cole (7/1 first scorer, 2/1 anytime) but it's debatable whether both will start as manager Avram Grant might want to adopt a more defensive formation. If Ba does play, his manager will hope that the January signing from Hoffenheim will be able to terrorise a Liverpool defence that has become more sturdy recently, conceding only three in eight.

If we were looking at this match by the stats book then all indications would be of an away win. Liverpool have won their last four matches against West Ham, scoring three goals on each occasion. The visitors can be backed at 14/1 to win by 3 or more goals in this encounter.

The Hammers have only won one of their last six league matches, picking up five points out of a possible 18, contributing to them having the worst home record in the top flight, averaging a point a game from their 13 matches.

My recommendation for this game is for a Liverpool away win, possibly by a scoreline of 2-0 at a price of 10/1.



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