West Ham United won’t break their curse against Liverpool if Jarrod Bowen does not start for the Hammers at Anfield.
David Moyes confirmed that his star striker did not play for the Hammers in their comeback Europa League victory over Backa Topola on Thursday (21 September) due to illness, putting him in serious doubt for their Premier League clash against Liverpool.
As quoted from the Evening Standard (22 September), Moyes said: “Bowen has a virus. I’m hoping he’ll be ok. I’ll check him. He’s not trained this week, nothing at all, so I need to see how he is.”
The Hammers have something like a curse against Liverpool. They hardly enter a clash with Jurgen Klopp’s side as favourites, having failed to secure all three points 13 times out of their last 14 top-flight encounters dating back nearly seven years, with one win and draw draws in that time [11v11].
But, there was some hope heading into this clash. Liverpool left it very late to secure an expected three points against a resilient Wolves in their last Premier League encounter and had to rely on goals in the final 10 minutes to secure victory at St James’ Park.
West Ham’s start to the season has been perhaps more impressive. While Liverpool sit three points above the Hammers, excellent counter-attacking and high-scoring victories against Brighton and Chelsea have shown us the best that Moyes’ boys can offer.
Both sides had the physical burden of European football on Thursday (21 September), but the likes of Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk and Darwin Nunez all had to take the 2060 mile round trip to Austria to face LASK, while the West Ham players would have faced a short coach journey home after their 3-1 victory at the London Stadium.
Bowen specifically has been one of West Ham’s outstanding players this season. In terms of best player so far, the Englishman falls just short of the sensational James Ward-Prowes, but Bowen’s consistent goal threat and creativity have made him something to behold this season.
The former Hull City man has scored the most Premier League goals for his side this season (3), while also getting himself an assist. He has the most shots on target per 90 (1.20), the most shot-creating actions (14) and does his defensive duties too with the most tackles of any attacking player [FBRef].
The Hammers have often relied on counter-attacking play this season to snatch goals from nowhere. Often against energetic and high-pressing sides, like Liverpool, the likes of Bowen thrive, so his absence may make their tactical desires harder to achieve.
Bowen also has good form against top sides. Last season, he got assists against Arsenal and Chelsea and scored against the Gunners [Transfermarkt]. He would have been very eager to get off the mark against Liverpool, especially at Anfield.
It seems unlikely that the Hammers will get an elusive win against Liverpool on Sunday without one of their star men, so Hammers fans across East London will be eagerly awaiting the team news at one o’clock to see if their European Cup winner will have the chance to catch fire once again.