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Lee Dixon: Happy Hammers to nick a close one

Can Kevin Nolan score for the sixth time in the Premier League this season?

"I like the look of Kevin Nolan - a boyhood Liverpool fan - to open the scoring at around 9.617/2. With five goals to his name he's the most dangerous man on the pitch and can fire the Hammers to another big win." 

Back Kevin Nolan first goalscorer @ 9.617/2

The betting makes Liverpool favourites to win Sunday's clash at West Ham, but with Sam Allardyce's men in good form and the visitors missing their best player the value resides with the home team, says Lee Dixon

West Ham pulled produced a sensational second-half to humble Chelsea last time out and I don't see the tempo slackening off when Liverpool pay a visit on Sunday. 

Big Sam's happy Hammers have got some serious momentum right now and I fancy they may just claim another big scalp against a side lacking their suspended key man, Luis Suarez

The match odds look upside down here with the home team, at 3.211/5, considered less likely to win than the visitors (2.546/4) with the draw a tempting 3.412/5.

But who could really consider backing Liverpool playing without their star man and having played for 90 minutes on Thursday night? 

Improving though they undoubtedly are under Brendan Rodgers, Liverpool will miss Suarez and it's very hard to see where the goals come from without him. Steven Gerrard is the next highest scorer in the Premier League with two.  

Kevin Nolan apart, the Hammers aren't exactly blessed with goalscorers of their own but they are a powerful team and usually find a way of getting through. Even if he was fit Andy Carroll wouldn't have figured, given Liverpool are his parent club, but Carlton Cole stepped up last weekend and I wouldn't rule out a repeat from the former Chelsea man. For me, Cole is a confidence player and he will be flying after scoring against his old club. 

With West Ham sitting in eighth, the home support will be sharing that confidence and I expect a storming atmosphere at the Boleyn Ground where the Irons have been beaten once in eight league games. That contrasts well with Liverpool's away record of one win in seven, and I think this will be really tough for Rodgers' men.  

While the draw is a tempter - Liverpool have lost only one of their last 10 Premier League games (W4 D5 L1)after all - I've got to back the Claret and Blues to keep the good run going. They're near enough full strength, come into the game off an uplifting win and face an opponent without their star man. A simple back of the Hammers at 3.211/5 is the bet. 

And I like the look of Nolan - a boyhood Liverpool fan - to open the scoring at around 9.617/2. With five goals to his name he's the most dangerous man on the pitch and can fire the Hammers to another big win. 

Recommended Bets 
Back West Ham @ 3.211/5
Back Kevin Nolan first goalscorer @ 9.617/2

The Betfair's Trader's View: Alan Thompson

West Ham have only lost once at home this season and have scored in all but one of their home fixtures. They came from behind to beat Chelsea last week, scoring three times. Liverpool go into the game without leading goalscorer Suarez for the first time this season; he's been responsible for 10 of their 19 goals. Liverpool have only recorded one victory on the road this season (5-2 Norwich) and are without an away win in their last four. Despite this they will be short again in the match odds market, something they have been all season! Liverpool are currently priced at 6/4 (2.5) in the match odds market and I am happy to take them on at that price. I will be laying them.

The Tactical View: Michael Cox

Like Lee and Alan, I'm not keen on Liverpool at 2.5 (6/4). And it's not just the absence of Luis Suarez that makes me say that. Mohamed Diame was exceptional against Chelsea and I think Allardyce will bring him in after last weekend's display. The Senegalese midfielder, together with Mark Noble, will break up Liverpool's passing in front of the back four. That destructive ability, combined with the lack of Suarez, means I can't see Liverpool scoring much. West Ham may not break Liverpool down so let's keep the draw onside with a Liverpool lay.

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07 December 2012

Premier League

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