Jurgen Klopp has told his pre-West Ham press conference – as per the Liverpool Echo – that the Hammers have a “brilliant” replacement for Michail Antonio, after the English ace was ruled out from facing Liverpool on Saturday evening.
Antonio has been on fire for the Hammers since football resumed – but the powerhouse suffered a hamstring injury after his overhead kick against Manchester City last weekend. It leaves the Hammers with Haller up top.
The French target man joined West Ham for a whopping £45million (BBC) in the summer of 2019 but only showed glimpses of quality last season – scoring just seven goals in 34 appearances. It has seen him relegated to second-choice striker.
But this season, he has improved – even in the shadow of Antonio. Four goals in the Carabao Cup were followed by an excellent header during a 4-0 win over Wolves after coming on as a substitute. Klopp commented on his time at Eintracht Frankfurt.
“Antonio has been sensational so far,” Klopp said. “They will miss him, that doesn’t help [West Ham]. Haller played an incredible season at Frankfurt. He is good, quick, physical, brilliant in the air. They have options. West Ham have enjoyed some smart business in the last 18 months. It is all starting to click.”
TBR’s view – Haller can cause Liverpool problems
Haller is in good form and boasts qualities that can cause Liverpool issues. But the reason he is likely to cause problems for Klopp’s side, is due to the champions’ lack of options in the middle of their defence.
Joel Matip has been joined by Virgil van Dijk and Fabinho in the treatment room – the latter of whom suffered a hamstring injury on Tuesday night against FC Midtjylland. It looks as though rookie Rhys Williams will play alongside Joe Gomez.
Haller’s strength and aerial ability could see him get the better of a young defender like Williams. The battle between Haller and the Liverpool defenders will determine the outcome of the match.