In form and hunting revenge, Andy Carroll could be the man to derail Liverpool’s title ambitions. The Reds face the giant striker on Sunday for the first time since his £15m switch to West Ham in the summer. And after recovering from the knee injury that has dogged his campaign, the 25-year-old will be champing at the bit to prove a point against his old club. A repeat of the man-of-the-match performance against Sunderland in midweek could see Carroll break Liverpool’s unbeaten streak in 2014.
But with the strike partnership of Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez on a goalscoring tear that could yet eclipse more milestones, the Hammers will find it tough keeping the SAS quiet. That, even before you take stock of the fact Liverpool haven’t failed to score in the last 22 league games. And with a first league title in their crosshairs since 1990, the Reds will be looking for a ninth successive victory – a feat last achieved in 2006.
West Ham may have had their relegation concerns eased following two straight wins but the subplot to this tale will provide a fascinating backdrop for another breathtaking chapter in this whirlwind Premier League season.
KICK-OFF: Sunday, 4pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS…
Liverpool 4 (Demel og, Sakho, Suarez 2) West Ham 1 (Skrtel og), Premier League, December 2013
Liverpool 0 West Ham 0, Premier League, April 2013
West Ham 2 (Noble, Gerrard og) Liverpool 3 (Johnson, Cole, Shelvey), Premier League, December 2012
Just three goals from the SAS will break the club record of 52 set by Ian St John and Roger Hunt in 1963-64.
The Reds have kept three clean sheets in their last five games but only four away from home all season.
Carroll will fancy his chances of a third league goal this term as Liverpool have conceded 11 headed goals this season.
The Hammers are joint 2nd for clean sheets in the league (13) but goals have been in short supply having failed to score in 12 games this campaign.
Glen Johnson is another player facing his old club and the full back has scored three times as many goals against West Ham as he has against any other side (3).
West Ham to win: 9.0
Liverpool to win: 0.35
TV: Live on Sky Sports 1 at 4pm, highlights on BBC 2 at 10.25pm