Newcastle striker Callum Wilson jokingly mocked Michail Antonio’s bullish prediction that West Ham would finish above Liverpool this season.
The Jamaica forward will come up against the Reds next Sunday when David Moyes’ side make the trip to Anfield, with both teams enjoying an impressive start to the campaign.
The Irons attacker was full of bravado in the lead-up to the game. Speaking on The Footballer’s Football Show podcast, he boasted: “I think we are going to finish higher than Liverpool this season. Listen, I am putting it out there.
“I watched the game (Wolves 1-3 Liverpool) because it was just before our game. Listen, Wolves could have run away with it. They had quite a few opportunities. We got them this weekend. It’s a six-pointer. We got them!”
Antonio’s podcast co-host Wilson seemed rather amused at the West Ham player’s claim and retorted: “Michail, wake up! Wake up! I think he is having one of those dreams again.”
You have to hand it to Antonio in one sense – his bold statement is a break from the convention of players and managers publicly talking up forthcoming opposition.
It’s true that West Ham have had a strong start to the season and gave Manchester City a scare last weekend, while their Europa Conference League triumph earlier this year will give them an emboldened belief that they can take on any challenge.
However, for them to go from finishing nine places and 27 points behind Liverpool in 2022/23 to looking down at them in the final table this time around is hard to envisage, especially with the Reds seeming like a reinvigorated and much stronger outfit since the summer.
Antonio would also be wise to consider that the Hammers’ recent track record against us makes for unpleasant reading from their point of view. In the last 14 meetings between the teams, Klopp’s side have won 11, with two draws and just the solitary win for the east Londoners (Transfermarkt).
Even when LFC were enduring their poorest season in years last term, they still managed to beat West Ham twice!
We won’t be taking the Irons lightly next Sunday, that’s for sure, but for all that they’ve impressed under Moyes, we can’t see them finishing above Liverpool in the Premier League table this season.