One sure sign of a big-time footballer is his ability to perform in big-time football matches.
Few football matches come bigger than facing Liverpool and few footballers produce their best against the Reds more often than Michail Antonio.
West Ham United’s No30 has scored four goals in his six career appearances against Liverpool in Claret and Blue, helping the Hammers to a pair of historic victories along the way.
Both of those goals and wins came in his first season as a West Ham player, 2015/16, as the Irons defeated the Reds at the Boleyn Ground to complete their first league ‘double’ over the Anfield club since 1963/64, then knocked Jurgen Klopp’s side out of the FA Cup in the final tie to be played at the Hammers’ old home to boot.
Antonio opened the scoring on both occasions, racing the length of the pitch to head past Simon Mignolet in the Hammers’ 2-0 Premier League win in January 2016, before volleying Enner Valencia’s cross beyond the Belgian goalkeeper in a 2-1 FA Cup fourth-round replay success the following month.
I’ve got four goals in six games against Liverpool, so if I keep getting in good positions, against a team that I’ve got a good scoring record against I can continue that and hit the back of the net again
West Ham have not beaten Liverpool in the clubs’ five meetings since then, with Klopp’s men winning four of them, but Antonio himself has maintained an impressive scoring rate against them, netting in the 2-2 Premier League draw at Anfield in 2016/17 and a consolation strike in the 4-1 defeat on Merseyside last season.
Unsurprisingly, then, the 28-year-old is relishing the opportunity to tackle the Reds again on Monday evening, when the world’s television cameras will be trained on London Stadium.
“I’m definitely looking forward to it!” smiled the versatile Antonio, who joined West Ham from Nottingham Forest in August 2015 and passed 100 appearances for the Club earlier this season.
“I’ve got four goals in six games against them, so if I keep getting in good positions, against a team that I’ve got a good scoring record against I can continue that and hit the back of the net again.”
To read Antonio's full interview and much, much more exclusive content, download or purchase Monday's 100-page Official Programme.
The print edition will be available to buy in and around the London Stadium on matchday and can be ordered online here.
Whether you live overseas or just want to consume your content on the way to London Stadium, that means you can download your Digital Programme before kick-off, with the game being televised live in a large number of countries across the world.