Go for goals again with Reds

  • By: Andy Schooler and Dave Tickner
  • Last Updated: April 6 2014, 16:23 BST

Siding with free-scoring Liverpool looks the best bet for Sunday's Premier League action.

Liverpool should hit the goal trail again against West Ham
Liverpool should hit the goal trail again against West Ham

The title-chasing Reds head to West Ham and the stats suggest backing the visitors to hit the goal trail again is thew way to go.

Before that, Everton take on top-four rivals Arsenal in a game which looks likely to be close.

Here's our verdict on the day's top-flight action:

Everton v Arsenal (1330 BST)

Few would have thought a month ago that the race for fourth place in the Premier League could have been as open as it is now - both teams go into this game with the destiny of fourth in their own hands. While Everton have hit their best league run in more than a decade, winning five straight games, Arsenal have stuttered during an admittedly tough run of fixtures. That run includes just one win from their last six away games (all competitions) and features hammerings at Chelsea and Liverpool. Perhaps more relevant though is the 1-0 loss at tough-as-teak Stoke. Everton are similarly hard to beat on home turf - just two league defeats at Goodison Park in more than two years now - but the difference when compared with Stoke is that Arsenal have a strong record against the Toffees, having not lost to them in the last 14 meetings. The latest of those was a 4-1 FA Cup win at Emirates a few weeks ago. While Everton have been hunting Arsenal down with their run of wins, they've actually scraped through most of those matches without playing as well as they were earlier in the campaign, such as in their 1-1 draw with the Gunners in the reverse fixture. Arsenal might not be firing on all cylinders either but they are the best side the Blues will have faced for some time. The visitors have Aaron Ramsey back in their ranks for the first time this year but still have several other injury absentees, including Mesut Ozil and Laurent Koscielny. With Thomas Vermaelen in for the Frenchman and Nacho Monreal set to play at left-back, it's an area the livewire Gerard Deulofeu will look to exploit if he starts again. The worry for Everton fans is that as hard as their side is to beat - they've lost only five times in the league this season, the same number as Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City - they've made a habit of choking in the really big games. The last time they were genuinely in the hunt for a top-four spot they went and lost 4-0 with an awful performance at Anfield. And their biggest game of the season thus far saw them beaten in that FA Cup quarter-final at the Emirates. The more positive news is that both of those defeats were on the road and Arsenal look a little fragile right now. In short, it's hard to pick a winner. As the league table suggests, there would appear to be little between the teams at present and so it makes sense to back the draw, particularly given this is a game neither side can really afford to lose - Everton surely won't be able to recover from defeat, while a loss for the visitors will leave their destiny out of their hands. A best price of just under 5/2 seems fair. In the sub-markets, it's worth mentioning the last-goal times in Everton's last seven games - 87, 87, 90, 90, 85, 81 & 90. Paddy Power go 10/11 about a goal after the 73rd minute. Sadly Arsenal's stats in this niche aren't anywhere near as convincing so I'll mention it and leave it at that.

Verdict: Everton 1 Arsenal 1 (AS)

Opta stats:

Arsenal have won just three of their last 10 Barclays Premier League matches (W3 D4 L3), taking just 13 points from the last 30 available.

Everton's record home (1-6 Aug 2009) and record away and overall (0-7 May 2005) Premier League defeats have come at the hands of Arsenal.

No team has ever had 60 or more points after 31 games of a Premier League season and failed to finish in the top four. Everton and Arsenal have both exceeded this tally.

Everton have won 15 points from goals scored in the final 10 minutes of matches this season, more than any team in the division.

West Ham v Liverpool (1600)

Two of the Premier League's form sides clash at Upton Park; Liverpool have won their last eight to emerge as Manchester City's biggest (only?) rivals for the title, while six wins in nine have eased the Hammers clear of any serious relegation concerns. That West Ham form could put people off Brendan Rodgers' high-flying side at no better than 4/9, though it should be noted that two of those three defeats the Hammers have suffered in that nine-game run have been their only engagements with top-seven opposition. Those looking for a bigger price could do worse than the 21/20 that Boylesports dangle for Liverpool/Liverpool in the HT/FT market. Liverpool's fast starts have become a defining theme of this season. They have scored 60% of their goals before half-time and led at the break in six of their eight straight league wins. Better still, though, is the 11/8 for Liverpool to score over 2.5 goals; they've done so in seven of those eight wins and their last four Premier League away games. The Hammers have failed to contain the division's better sides, shipping three at home to all the other sides in the top five (Manchester City twice) this season.

Verdict: West Ham 1 Liverpool 3 (DT)

Opta stats:

Glen Johnson has scored in three of his last five Barclays Premier League games against former club West Ham, including the last two trips to the Boleyn Ground.

Luis Suarez has scored six goals in his last five Premier League matches and is just two away from the Premier League record for a 38-game season (31) held by Alan Shearer (1995-96) and Cristiano Ronaldo (2007-08).

60% of Liverpool's goals have been scored in the first half, the highest proportion of any team in the top flight this season.

Liverpool have dropped more points from winning positions than any other team in the Premier League away from home (12).

  • Posted at 1525 BST on 04/04/2014.

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