Liverpool v West Ham: Reds to ease past hapless Hammers
Liverpool can equal one, and break another, Premier League record with a home win against West Ham on Monday night and Mike Norman doesn't envisage any problems for the champions elect...
Liverpool v West Ham Monday, 20:00 Live on Sky Sports
In pursuit of glory... and records
I could easily leave this section - meant to be used to tell readers about Liverpool's form - blank given that there really isn't anything to say about the Reds that everyone doesn't already know.
Jurgen Klopp's men are simply in invincible league form. Okay, they might not be winning games in swashbuckling fashion and scoring four or five every week but that really doesn't matter when you're racking up the numbers that Liverpool are.
They've won 17 consecutive Premier League games, they've won 34 and drawn one of their last 35 league matches; that's 103 points taken from the last 105 available, and they've conceded just one league goal in three months, winning 10 of their last 11 matches to nil. Oh, and they haven't lost at Anfield for nearly three years, winning their last 20 league matches.
A win against West Ham on Monday night will equal Manchester City's record of 18 straight league wins, and Liverpool will becomes the first club in Premier League history to record 21 consecutive home victories.
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson is expected to be out for three week with a hamstring injury, but with the Reds having no midweek game there's no reason why Klopp won't field his strongest possible starting XI for the visit of West Ham in this fixture.
"I win" - well, 20% of the time you do
West Ham are in huge trouble at the wrong end of the table and now look destined to be in a fight to avoid relegation for the remainder of the season.
David Moyes announced, "That's what I do, I win", during his press conference at being re-appointed the West Ham boss in December. It was a startling comment for a man who in his previous three jobs had won just 29 - exactly 25% - of the 116 games he was in charge of.
Fail to beat Liverpool on Monday night and Moyes' win percentage in his second spell at the London Stadium will be down to exactly 20%. Some winner!
Since that comment the Hammers boss has won just two games - one against out of form Bournemouth, the other against League One Gillingham - and his side go to Anfield on Monday night on the back of seven games without a win. They've lost four consecutive league away matches and currently sit 18th in the table.
Ryan Fredericks, Jack Wilshere and Andriy Yarmolenko remain on the sidelines but other than that West Ham have a clean bill of health.
Even a price of 1.20 can be generous sometimes
I'm not going to get involved in the Match Odds but for what it's worth I think the 1.20 about a Liverpool win is extremely generous, especially when you consider that Man City went off at around the 1.12 mark to beat West Ham just a few days ago.
I will always maintain that absolutely any outcome is possible in a one-off football match, regardless of the gulf in class between the two teams, but I think I'd look a complete fool if I tried to make even the tiniest case for West Ham winning this match, or even avoiding defeat.
On all known form Liverpool win this game, and win comfortably, and don't forget they're chasing down two records here - consecutive league wins and consecutive home league wins - but if you disagree then you can back West Ham at21.00 and the Draw at 8.80.
No reason to back against a serial winner
Undoubtedly the best bet of this contest for me is the Liverpool Win to Nil option, available to back at1.96.
It's been a serial winner in the last three months, paying out at around even money or above in 10 of Liverpool's last 11 league games. The Reds have conceded just one goal in that time, away to top-four-chasing Wolves so absolutely no disgrace there.
We're getting marginally below even money this time but it's a bet I'm confident will land given the Hammers have failed to score away to the likes of Aston Villa, Burnley, Everton, Sheffield United, Wolves, and even Oxford in the League Cup. On Wednesday night they didn't register a single shot on target against Man City.
And remember that it was only three weeks ago that Liverpool beat West Ham to nil (2-0) at the London Stadium, a game in which Moyes' men enjoyed less than 30% possession.
When it comes to discipline back Diop to flop
Jonathan Moss is the referee for Monday's encounter, and he has shown an average of almost four cards per game in the 18 Premier League matches that he's officiated this season. That's a high enough number for me to be interested in the Shown a Card market on the Betfair Sportsbook.
With Liverpool set to field a strong line-up and play their normal game it's reasonable to suggest they'll dominate possession and have plenty of the ball in and around the West Ham box. Step forward Issa Diop.
The Hammers defender has received more league yellow cards (seven) than any other West Ham player this season, and when you include cup competitions he's received eight yellow cards in his last 16 games. That's a booking every two games on average, and yet we can back him at 7/2 to be carded on Monday night.
He's 13/1 to receive the first booking of the game, and I wouldn't put anyone off that bet either, especially given that he was the first player to be carded when West Ham lost to Liverpool just three weeks ago.