Dave Davis explains why winning at Anfield against West Ham this afternoon is of the utmost importance.
When Liverpool take to the field against West Ham on Sunday, the game could be crucial for a number of reasons. Last weekend’s display against Bournemouth was disappointing on several counts, ranging from individual performances to the result. By the time 4:30pm comes round on today, there could be real nerves vibrating around Anfield.
After last week’s defeat, Liverpool sit four points off Arsenal and Chelsea at the top. The title dream certainly isn’t dead, yet Jurgen Klopp’s side failed a major gut check at Dean Court which will have thrown real doubt into the equation. We’ve been looking up in recent weeks, yet Chelsea could be seven points ahead by kick off and Tottenham could be level with us on points.
Aside from any Karius debate or tactical questioning, the main factor that was felt more than anything else was the absence of Joel Matip. The former Schalke centre half has been in amazing form all season and the likes of Lovren and Lucas look decidedly shaken without the Cameroonian defender alongside them. Adam Lallana has also been in training all week and will surely be in a better condition than when he came on as a substitute – Sadio Mane has recovered from a knock too.
West Ham aren’t in the best form and they were destroyed by Arsenal 5-1 at home in their last league game. They have been a bogey side for us in recent times, though, and their 3-0 win at Anfield last season has stuck in the memory. Combine that with big man Andy Carroll returning to Anfield and some Reds will have a niggling worry about this game.
This isn’t a must win at all costs type of game, but if we’re not successful then in a period where momentum is absolutely crucial, nerves will spread. Six points or more would be a lot to recover to go top and you’d expect to see many fans place the focus on fourth place. It’s not a must win, but don’t pretend it’s not an important game.