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Nic Ladds 19th Apr 2010 - 9:50

Next year will be Liverpool's year, again

Rafa Benitez looks set to break his promise of fourth in the table to Liverpool fans as they are now eight points behind Tottenham with just four matches left to play. West Ham are far from safe in the league, just three points above Hull and it could be a nervy end to the season for Hammers fans.

With the club recently put up for sale, Liverpool fans will be hoping new owners can come in soon and put this dreadful season behind them.

Yet another chorus of "next year will be ours" echoing around Anfield is starting to sound repetitive and unless new owners bring some magic beans with them, Liverpool's fortunes don't look like turning any time soon.

Liverpool's (4/11) midweek Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid is surely now a priority if they are to salvage anything from this season.

Even with Liverpool minds on either next season or Europe, it is hard to see them coming away from this match with anything less than three points.

Their opponents, West Ham (8/1) have had an equally disastrous season at the other end of the table. They have won just once away from home in 17 attempts and they should really look at their remaining matches against Wigan, Fulham and Man City to get points and just aim for a respectable scoreline here.

With both managers' futures uncertain, this match could be a stage for them to show that they are still the right man for the job and it could be an entertaining encounter.

To make it that little big tougher for West Ham, Liverpool haven't lost in nine home league matches and West Ham haven't won at Anfield since September 1963. History certainly isn't on their side.

The major team news is that Fernando Torres is a big doubt as he awaits an examination on a long standing knee problem. There have even been reports he needs surgery and could miss the rest of the season including the World Cup.

Should he start he is as always favourite to score first (7/4). In his absence I would have a bet on Dirk Kuyt to score first at 4/1 or any time at Evens, he often pops up with a goal when needed.

West Ham are still without talismanic midfielder Scott Parker who completes a two match ban.  There are no fresh injury worries though and Zola will be hoping Carlton Cole can add to his nine league goals this season and score first (9/1).

Realistically though, I think Liverpool will win this match at a canter, West Ham are so demoralised and poor away from home they will do just enough to stay up in their last two home matches.

I will be going for a 3-0 Liverpool win at 7/1, I can't really see West Ham scoring. If Liverpool can't score many without Torres then the Liverpool and under 2.5 match goals at 12/5 looks good to cover your bases.



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