Both Liverpool and West Ham are now getting to that part of the season where the games are coming so quickly that they don’t have time to either savour or stew over their most recent result.
Those two teams were in Europa League action on Thursday, and within minutes of the final whistle in Linz yesterday, Jurgen Klopp’s thoughts would’ve turned to formulating a plan to get one over on David Moyes’ charges when they visit Anfield this coming Sunday in the Premier League.
Both sides go into the game in flying form, having enjoyed impressive starts domestically and begun their European campaign with a come-from-behind 3-1 victory.
The two line-ups at the weekend are likely to be much-changed from the Europa League games due to the quick turnaround, but the Liverpool coaching staff can surely plan for one of West Ham’s starters last night to be in the team again on Sunday afternoon.
Had things turned out differently in the summer, James Ward-Prowse could’ve been in Klopp’s line-up rather than Moyes’. The 28-year-old had been linked with the Reds in June (The Mirror) but ultimately moved to the London Stadium, having left Southampton after their relegation at the end of last term.
He’s made a flying start to his West Ham career, registering at least one goal contribution in all five of his matches for them so far (two goals, five assists), and he stole the show with his performance for the Irons last night.
As per Sofascore, the ex-Saints captain opened up TSC Backa Topola time and again with his sublime distribution, picking out no fewer than seven key passes, finding a teammate with seven crosses and nine of his 10 long balls, and ending the night with a 95% passing success rate (60/63 completed).
Of course, none of this should be wholly surprising to Liverpool fans who’ll have seen Ward-Prowse net 51 times and supply 43 assists in 347 Premier League appearances over the years (Transfermarkt).
Curiously, he’s tended to be rather quiet when facing the Reds – it took until his 20th time playing against us to score his first goal, netting in the madcap 4-4 draw at Southampton at the end of last season. He’s only provided two assists across all those matches as well (Transfermarkt).
However, the 28-year-old is most certainly a man in form, as West Ham’s Serbian opponents discovered to their cost last night.
Liverpool may be on a five-game winning run in all competitions but have a horrific tendency to concede the first goal in matches. Ward-Prowse may well prey upon that familiar failing if Klopp’s side allow him to continue wreaking havoc on Sunday.