Photo by Arfa Griffiths/West Ham United FC via Getty Images

Injury boost for Liverpool as Michail Antonio expected to miss clash

According to reports from The Mail, West Ham will be without in-form attacker Michail Antonio for the trip to Anfield against Liverpool on Saturday following a hamstring tear.

LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 24: Michail Antonio of West Ham United in action with Ruben Dias (R) and Ederson (L) of Manchester City during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Manchester City at London Stadium on October 24, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by James Griffiths/West Ham United FC via Getty Images)

Antonio, 30, is facing up to six weeks out on the sidelines following the injury which was sustained during the 1-1 draw with Manchester City last weekend with what scans have revealed to be a Grade 2 injury tear.

The versatile forward has been in outstanding form in a central forward role since football returned in June, clocking up 11 goals in 13 games.

This season he has played a key role, netting three times in six Premier League appearances with the Hammers already taking  points from Manchester City, Leicester, Tottenham and Wolves from their opening six matches.

David Moyes had originally hoped that the setback wasn’t too severe but Antonio, who has three goals in six games, will miss the trip to the home of the Premier League champions as well as the London derby with Fulham.

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Jurgen Klopp has his own injury worries, with Virgil van Dijk expected to miss the rest of the season out with knee ligament damage while his defensive replacement Fabinho faces three weeks on the sidelines with a hamstring injury. Joel Matip also remains a doubt with an ongoing muscle issue.

This effectively leaves Liverpool with just Joe Gomez as the club’s only recognised senior centre back in the team. Reds skipper Jordan Henderson could partner his fellow England international in the heart of the defence having done so in the FIFA Club World Cup last year. 19-year-old Rhys Williams also remains an option having impressed on several occasions in the first-team this season.

LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 24: Manchester City’s Eric Garcia brings down West Ham United’s Michail Antonio but no penalty was awarded during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Manchester City at London Stadium on October 24, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Rob Newell – CameraSport via Getty Images)

What RTK has to say

Liverpool will know better than most the frustration of losing your top players to injury. A West Ham side without Antonio certainly tips the scales back in Klopp’s favour.

With Antonio in the team, the Hammers are a completely different team – losing just three of their previous 13 matches.

It’s a proposition West Ham haven’t had to face in over nine months. Ironically the last Premier League encounter the Englishman did miss through injury was against Liverpool during a 2-0 defeat at the London Stadium – Mohamed Salah and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with the goals on that particular occasion.

In the 14 league encounters, West Ham were without Antonio last season, they won just three matches while losing seven. It certainly is a gargantuan blow for Moyes and his team.

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