West Ham are the first opponents for Liverpool to face on the back of a Champions League excursion, with Hammers across the globe hoping to find the Reds in a hung over state following their midweek exploits.
For the legion of detractors poking holes in the Merseysiders’ credentials to land consecutive top-four finishes, their ability to juggle the two competitions simultaneously will be key and this result will do nothing to silence them.
At 13/4, a punt on Sam Allardyce’s side ranks as the best value from the match-betting buffet, with Liverpool’s 17/20 favouritism untouched next to the pickled onions.
Champions League-based distractions could be blamed for the Reds’ shock loss last weekend against Aston Villa, with attentions in the home camp arguably turned to the pending visit of Ludogorets.
Raheem Sterling was omitted from the starting line up for a match that was also used as a sounding board for Adam Lallana to prove his match fitness from the off, despite being out for the month that preceded it.
Their performance in the eagerly-awaited clash with the Bulgarian behemoths was strewn with all the hallmarks of underestimation on the home team’s behalf, which resulted in the heavy favourites coming perilously close to sharing the spoils.
Despite being obsessed with succeeding on the Champions League stage, Brendan Rodgers and his troops turned in a novice showing in their first match in the competition for five years.
It stands to reason that after a rookie performance in Europe, Liverpool will find being on task against West Ham tough going, so side with the underdogs here.