Nobody likes to hear a football manager making an excuse for his side’s failings. But anyone who witnessed the game against Leicester on Wednesday evening perhaps would have agreed with Jurgen Klopp’s sentiments that the snow caused his players to freeze on the big stage.
With Manchester City losing on Tuesday, we had a chance to open up a seven-point gap at the summit of the Premier League table with a win over the Foxes.
The predicted deluge of the white stuff hit Merseyside hard, and with snow and ice settling on the Anfield turf it was always going to be to our detriment.
And so it proved. We enjoyed 72% of possession but failed to really make it count, fashioning only a couple of decent chances as Leicester defended deep and in umbers.
“You saw that the ball didn’t roll really,” Klopp said afterwards. “If you then have the ball pretty much for 70 to 80% of the time it makes life really uncomfortable.
“The only problem is if it [the snow] stays on the pitch, and that was actually the case.”
We actually took a third minute lead through Sadio Mane, but conditions started to worsen from there and the game became something of a grind.
Harry Maguire equalised for the visitors, and despite a strong shout for a penalty after Naby Keita was felled by Ricardo Pereira, the action finished with honours even.
On the plus side, the point takes us five clear of City, and puts all of the pressure back on them as any more mistakes could prove fatal.
On Monday evening we travel to the capital to take on West Ham at the London Stadium; a venue that has been very kind to us. The Reds have triumphed 4-0 and 4-1 here, and indeed we have won our last four games against the Hammers with a goal difference of +14!
Liverpool Team News
Injuries and illness have really hurt us from a defensive perspective of late, and Klopp will be hoping the five day break from action yields positive results on that front.
Jordan Henderson was forced to play at right back on Wednesday, while Virgil van Dijk – suffering with a touch of man flu – probably shouldn’t have played and was arguably at fault for Leicester’s equaliser.
At least the Dutchman should be fully fit for the trip to the Hammers, while James Milner will return following suspension. With Trent Alexander-Arnold and Fabinho both nearing full fitness, Klopp at least has options.
Naby Keita was subbed off after 66 minutes against the Foxes, and you wonder if his latest audition for a first team place will be deemed a failure. Admittedly, the conditions were not in his favour.
With no new injuries to worry about, Klopp can name something approaching his first choice starting eleven on Monday, and it will be intriguing to see what he views that as.
West Ham Form
A lengthy injury list has hampered the progress of West Ham, and rather than blowing bubbles their supporters are spitting feathers right now.
After building some nice momentum just prior to Christmas with four straight wins, the Hammers have since won just one of their last five.
Worst still, their last pair of outings have yielded some derisory performances, namely 0-2 and 0-3 tonkings at Bournemouth and Wolves.
West Ham vs Liverpool Betting Tips
There are still teething troubles for West Ham at the London Stadium, where they have already lost five times this term.
To make matters worse, only four sides in the top flight have shipped more goals on home soil, and given that this is a happy hunting ground for Liverpool generally speaking we have to assume an away win is on the cards.
The Hammers currently have ten first team players on the treatment table, ranging from star men to fringe names, and clearly they will be struggling if the likes of Marko Arnautovic, Aaron Cresswell and Jack Wilshere are sidelined for too long.
We would maintain, while not necessarily backed by stats, that Liverpool are a better side on the road than we are at Anfield, where expectation and opposition parking their bus can make it difficult for our natural attacking flair to reveal itself.
Away from home, however, where the onus is on our opponents a bit more, is where we can truly thrive.
The bookmakers have us in at around 1/3 to win this match, and while we agree with those odds they are of course unbackable.
And so we’ll use the various bet builder tools to place a mouth-watering double: Liverpool to score and Mo Salah to score anytime, on which you can double your money at Evens.