The smile on Sam Allardyce’s enormous face will have been growing broader with every passing minute of Liverpool’s Capital One Cup semi-final second leg tie at Stamford Bridge.
‘Sources’ of the type regularly enlisted by unscrupulous news purveyors have even attested to the fact that he leapt from the sofa to begin fox-trotting round his palatial living room with Mrs Allardyce in the wake of Branislav Ivanovic’s late winner.
Not only had Liverpool’s strongest available side between taken the full 12 rounds by Chelsea, but they had sustained a morale-frying loss in the process.
The West Ham manager’s mirth levels are likely to have been ratcheted up higher still at the moment he set his eyes on the sizeable 4/1 about his side beating Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday, which has already been cut to 7/2.
Such a generous assessment of a side’s victory hopes usually yields handsome double-chance odds and this clash is no different.
The Irons are 21/20 to avoid defeat against Brendan Rodgers’ battle-weary hosts that have failed to win six of their last seven home games.
Allardyce’s troops will be confident of finding the net having found only Chelsea impossible to penetrate on the road all season long.
As a result they’ve been tough to best away from the east end, with only the Blues, Manchester Utd and Everton turning them over since the start of term.
Even among those defeats the Londoners could count themselves distinctly unlucky to have got on the bus empty handed on both northern sojourns.
Liverpool have improved since the Irons played them off the park in a 3-1 win at the Boleyn Ground earlier this term.
However, that performance showed what West Ham are capable of doing to Steven Gerrard and friends if the Merseysiders happen to have an off day.
With five-and-a-half days match-free recharging in their legs to Liverpool’s three, they should certainly have the energetic edge required to glean points from the fixture.
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