West Ham vs Liverpool by Luke
West Ham had every chance to walk away with something on the road against Southampton, but the team failed to control anything during the game and suffered narrow 1:0 loss. Hosts took the lead already in ninth minute with a goal from Yoshida, but they stood playing with a man less since 54th minute when their midfielder Wanyama was showed a straight red card. Visitors looked better from that moment on, had much more of the ball possession, but without much creativity in the midfield and with a slow tempo, they weren't entitled to something more.
Having lost this game, they also lost a chance to approach closer to fourth placed Champions League ticket, but also to take over the five position and pass Manchester United. Still, with plenty to play, the team has every chance of securing the European ticket via League competition. In the first leg against Liverpool, they had a chance to exploit plenty of missing players in Liverpool's side, but the team looked more defensive than they actually should - still, a draw away to Anfield surely represents a positive result for them. Home side will miss important defenders Tomkins (22/0) and Jenkinson (20/2), midfielder Lanzini (14/4), forward Sakho (12/3) and couple of more that didn't play so much.
Liverpool, on the other side, simply can't make their form stable this season. They are now coming from fourth straight game without a victory in all competitions, most recently having a 2:2 draw against relegating struggling Sunderland in front of own fans on Saturday evening. No doubt that the Reds looked way more superior and actually even had everything under control all the way till last ten minutes of the match.
First halftime didn't have much actions with the Reds being better but failing to capitalize on that, however Firmino opened up the scoreline in 59th, while Lallana doubled up the lead in 70th minute and everything looked like the Reds will be cruising to a victory finally. With yet another setback, Liverpool now stands only ninth at the table, having six points less than fifth placed Manchester United and even though the difference isn't big, it's hard to see them getting through to the fifth position with such unreliable form. Visitors continue to miss defenders Skrtel (17/1), Lovren (16/0), Gomez (5/0), but also midfielders Allen (9/1) and forwards Ings (5/2).
This game and the competition come as a rare chance for both teams to impress their fans, this especially goes for the players of Liverpool. Overall, I don't see this game as very defensive one. They both come from disappointing performances and now are really in a situation when they both need to impress their fans. Liverpool will surely try to attack at some point, but their defense remains highly unpredictable.