By George Overhill

22nd Sep, 2023 | 8:40am

Paul Merson predicts West Ham United vs Liverpool result amid 'big advantage' verdict

Paul Merson has predicted Liverpool will inflict a second successive Premier League defeat on West Ham thanks to the “big advantage” of playing at Anfield.

The Sky Sports pundit said in his Sportskeeda predictions (21 September) that while the Irons “played well” in defeat by Manchester City last week and are “really good on the counter” he expects Jurgen Klopp’s side to “nick this one”.

He has therefore tipped the Reds to record a tight 1-0 victory to further disrupt the Hammers strong start to the campaign.

Merson said: “I thought West Ham played well last weekend despite losing 3-1 to Manchester City. They had their chances, but ultimately, the defending champions showed their class, especially in the second half.

“Liverpool also turned on the style after the interval against Wolves and looked so much better after subbing on Luis Diaz for Alexis Mac Allister. Things didn’t go their way in the first half, but Jurgen Klopp made a few tactical tweaks at halftime as they clawed their way back into the game.

“West Ham are really good on the counter, but I expect Liverpool to nick this one. Playing at Anfield will be a big advantage for them after a trip to Austria in the UEFA Europa League.

“I think Darwin Nunez will start ahead of Cody Gakpo. The Uruguayan is more pacy and direct, while the latter knits it all together and brings others into play. They are both talented players in their own right, but Nunez suits this game better.

“Mohamed Salah, on the other hand, might not be scoring too many goals, but you can never take him out of the game, as we saw against Wolves when he chipped in with two assists.”

Double blow

David Moyes will be looking to get back on track as quickly as possible after City came from behind to win at the London Stadium.

A trip to Anfield wouldn’t have been his choice fixture in order to do that but that is what he’s got and at least it will get two games against tough opposition out of the way.

Jarrod Bowen will likely be in the spotlight more than usual given suggestions he has been considered by Liverpool as a possible replacement should Mohamed Salah leave [The Athletic, 11 September].

The Irons winger has been in excellent form so far this season and his manager could do with some more of the same on the day.

But if he performs well it is likely to only increase speculation that Klopp might come in with an offer in one of the next couple of transfer windows.

However, that is the inevitable downside of recruiting well as West Ham also found with Declan Rice, who went, and Lucas Paqueta, who didn’t, this year.

The Hammers will be up against it on Merseyside and have a pretty poor record at Anfield but have started the season well and should still be looking to spring an upset.

In other West Ham news, a long-time starter for Moyes is now expected to leave after a flashpoint with his manager.