Liverpool’s first trip to the London Stadium will mark what now appears as their most important game of the Premier League season.
Sunday’s contest could truly make or break the club’s campaign with another win for Arsenal demanding a reaction from Jurgen Klopp’s men in order to continue their fight for a top four spot.
It promises to be a test of just how well these players can handle the pressure and how tough they can be against a West Ham side out to cause an upset.
Anfield great John Barnes has outlined how the recent win over Tottenham for Slaven Bilic’s side could help his former team.
“I think the result over Tottenham can help Liverpool,” Barnes told Standard Sport.
“Had they [West Ham] lost to Tottenham, as much as they’re safe, their fans would have demanded a good end to the season where now I think that’s been the highlight of their season because they’ve stopped one of their biggest rivals from winning the league.”
“I don’t think they’ll approach this game with the same intensity and determination because they have satisfied their fans.”
“If they approach the game in the same way they did the Tottenham game – by defending deep and allowing Tottenham possession – then that will be difficult for Liverpool. They find it hard to break down teams like that because they haven’t got the option of putting a cross in for a big man.”
“If West Ham go and attack then Liverpool can make them pay. I think it’ll be a draw and that’ll be good enough for Liverpool.”
Understandable nerves have somewhat overshadowed the reality that this group of Liverpool players are talented enough to overcome a West Ham that has endured an incredibly mixed year.
Not only is it the biggest game of the season but it could well be one of the most difficult with Bilic’s men capable of being solid at the back as well as a threat going forward.
It is up to the likes of Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana to take full advantage of any space their opponents do leave open as a result of breaking forward themselves. There will be no excuses for a lack of invention or players going missing in such a big occasion.
It’s in our hands, Reds.