Liverpool showed little desire to be part of the FA Cup when these teams met just over a week ago as they put out a second string XI. If that was to highlight the very real issue they have with fixture congestion at the moment the almost inevitable result was that it has lead to yet another match and so they meet West Ham for a fourth time this season.
So far Liverpool have failed to score in three attempts against the Hammers this season as they’ve been beaten twice, and they were also a distant second when they came here in the league last term. Of course this season has shown that, if anything, West Ham are the better side and that is particularly true here with the Reds likely to rotate their squad heavily once again. Regardless, West Ham are unbeaten in 11 games at home since late August, with four clean sheets in the last six, and six of their last eight home matches have had fewer than three goals.
It’s been 10 years since the Hammers beat a top-flight side in the Premier League – on the way to the 2006 final where they were beaten by Liverpool – but they’ve also not been beaten at home in the Cup since 2010.
Liverpool are winning less than they did when Brendan Rodgers was in charge as the squad has been exposed as simply not good enough to compete. They’ve drawn two and lost two of their last four matches since a somewhat lucky escape in the 5-4 win at Norwich – who on recent form are currently about the worst side in the league – and the 3-0 win over mid-table League Two outfit Exeter City. On the road they have failed to score in five of their last nine matches while conceding at least twice in six of those games. Furthermore, their recent trips to Premier League teams in the Cup have generally ended badly as they’ve lost three and won only one of their five such matches since that 2006 success.
Since 1992/93 there have been 22 FA Cup 4th Round replays between two Premier League sides and half have finished all-square but the away side has won on just four occasions. Furthermore, 15 have been level at half-time. That suggests it is worth keeping the draw on our side but we expect Liverpool to field a weakened team and for West Ham to be the superior side.
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