Michail Antonio has added an extra spice to West Ham’s clash with Liverpool by claiming that the Irons will finish above the Reds this season.
But to do that, Hammers boss David Moyes will surely have to reverse his horror Anfield record.
Ex-Everton chief Moyes has never won at Anfield, losing 12 and drawing six of his 18 visits to the red half of Merseyside.
There has only ever been one longer winless streak in the Premier League and that is held by the Scottish manager himself…
He has previously gone 19 away games without a win against Arsenal but West Ham’s fine start to the season will give him as much hope as ever before to finally end the curse.
West Ham, having sold captain Declan Rice this summer, sit sixth in the Premier League with a loss to champions Manchester City their only blemish so far.
However, a true test of their top-four credentials will come against Liverpool who are just three points above them in third.
“I am backing myself over Liverpool,’ Antonio said on the Footballer’s Football Podcast. “You know what, I think we are going to finish higher than Liverpool this season. I’m putting it out there.
“I watched the game [Liverpool 3-1 Wolves] because it was before our game and Wolves could have run away with it! They had quite a few opportunities.
“We’ve got them this weekend and it’s a six-pointer. We’ve got them!”
Antonio might not have realised that to win West Ham’s six-pointer, his teammates will have to end Moyes’ two-decade wait for an away win at Liverpool.
The Scot’s first trip to Anfield was a highly respectable 0-0 draw with Merseyside rivals Everton in December 2002.
But Moyes never managed to get the derby bragging rights on Liverpool turf during his 11 years in charge of the Toffees.
In fact, a 2-2 stalemate in January 2011 remains the only time a Moyes team has scored more than once in a game at Anfield.
Moyes hoped for better luck when he joined then-champions Manchester United after 12 games without a victory.
Yet Daniel Sturridge’s goal handed him a first defeat in charge of the Red Devils in what was his third game in his only season at the club.
Moyes’ calamitous 10 months at Sunderland during their 2016/17 relegation season unsurprisingly failed to turn the Anfield tide.
And subsequent returns to Liverpool during his second spell at West Ham has also not paid dividends either as the wait for a win goes on.
“I don’t look at it [the record] – I just know it’s there,” he said last year.
“When you go to play Liverpool Football Club, they have incredible support. I’ve come up against some brilliant Liverpool teams … and quite often I’ve been one of the managers of one of the clubs with quite a big rivalry against them.”
Last season West Ham came as close as any Moyes side have to winning at Anfield, with Darwin Nunez’s header sealing a nervy 1-0 victory.
Alisson Becker was also forced to save Jarrod Bowen’s first-half penalty and Moyes must have been thinking there’s a curse.
If there is then it might be safer to let Antonio lead the team-talk this afternoon instead…
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