Biggest test so far for David Moyes’s reborn West Ham as Liverpool come to town

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·4-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

West Ham are a completely different prospect under David Moyes, who feels they are ready for a shot at the top four this season. Sunday brings the chance to show just how much they have changed.

Even since the end of last season, David Moyes’s Hammers side have taken another step forward and sit level on points with champions Manchester City inside the Premier League’s top four as they welcome Liverpool this weekend with the chance to leapfrog them with a win.

Liverpool, though, visit having not lost a League game since March.

Jurgen Klopp’s side are not infallible, as Brighton showed in coming from two goals down to take a point last weekend, but West Ham will have to be at their best to claim a first win over Liverpool since January 2016.

The Hammers side that Moyes found when he returned to the club would have gone into these games merely happy to keep the score respectable. That mentality has been transformed by the Scot, who last night took charge of his 1000th game as a manager.

For all their highs last season, the one fair criticism that could be levelled at Moyes was his reluctance to show what his side was capable of against the bigger teams.

Fans were frustrated at the decision to still play more conservative football against the ‘Big Six’. Moyes would argue it was pragmatism over conservatism, and the approach did bring points from a draw at Manchester City to the thrilling 3-3 at Tottenham, though there was a feeling in many of the games that the Hammers could have done more. They did not beat a single one of the traditional top six last term.

Things have changed this season.

The Hammers have already beaten Tottenham in the Premier League and knocked Manchester United out of the Carabao Cup. A draw against Manchester City in the same competition also saw them knock the holders out on penalties.

In two games in four days against Manchester United in September, Moyes’s change of heart was there for all to see. They fell to a late Jesse Lingard goal and even later Mark Noble penalty miss in the Premier League context, but were at Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side from the off and deserved a point. They made up for that disappointment with the League Cup win at Old Trafford days later, which was secured thanks to a rampant start.

West Ham now pose a real threat to any side they come up against, and they know it. Sunday is another chance to show just that against one of the strongest sides on the planet boasting the most in-form player in the world in Mohamed Salah.

 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)

“The gaffer has said that we can compete for the top four,” said goalkeeper Alphonse Areola, underlining the belief within the club.

“I feel confident with this group. We have a good group and I think we are here for one thing, to win every single game. I think we can go far in our campaigns.”

There is a new confidence around the London Stadium these days, even greater than last term, though Moyes is experienced enough to balance the new found conviction with the threat they face this weekend.

“We’ve got a different mentality throughout the club,” said the Hammers boss.

“But you see games against Manchester City and Manchester United they make you suffer with the ball because they’re so good on the ball and at long times it is very hard to be aggressive and press on the ball because they are so good.

“You have to try and keep the ball from and hopefully affect them in any way we can but we’ll certainly try and give them the best game we can.”

Keeping the ball out of the clutches of Klopp’s Liverpool is a daunting task, but one West Ham would hardly have faced up to when Moyes arrived.

The former Manchester United manager will also have to hope that his side have the legs to compete throughout following their exertions in Europe last night.

In Genk they were made to fight back from a sloppy start after Joseph Paintsil fired the hosts ahead inside five minutes. West Ham looked to have turned things around and won it thanks to a stunning brace from Said Benrahma. The Algerian’s work, however, was undone with three minutes to play when Tomas Soucek headed into his own net to end West Ham’s perfect start to the season in Europe.

 (BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)
(BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

While progress to the knockout stages was secured thanks to results elsewhere, Moyes’s side were pushed harder than they have been in Europe all season and the Scot was forced to send on three certain starters on Sunday (Jarrod Bowen, Pablo Fornals and Tomas Soucek) on before the hour mark. Having lost two of their three games following European nights so far, Moyes knows the task may feel even greater come Sunday.

The confidence of pulling off such a win, however, has never been higher in east London.

Read More

David Moyes: Said Benrahma ‘a much better player’ for West Ham these days after Genk brilliance

Declan Rice: West Ham still ‘learning’ on European front after Genk draw

West Ham promise bans over anti-semitic song on plane to Belgium

David Moyes interview: I’m just getting started at West Ham - I can only see the club growing from here

West Ham boss David Moyes at peak of his powers as he reaches landmark 1,000th game

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting