Like each and every Premier League fixture, Monday’s meeting between Liverpool and West Ham United will be full of interesting sub-plots and individual battles.
One of them is undoubtedly the potential clash between two players who know each other’s games inside out – Liverpool’s Andrew Robertson and West Ham’s Jarrod Bowen.
For those who remain unaware of the link, the Reds left-back and Hammers outside right were teammates at Hull City during the 2016/17 season, training together and testing one another’s mettle on a daily basis.
Robbo and I used to train against each other all the time and we’ve had a lot of battles!
Back then, Robertson was in his fifth season as first-team regular, while Bowen was a teenage rookie in his first campaign at that level, eager to show he had the tools needed to stay there.
In the three years since, Robertson has joined Liverpool and won the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Club and FIFA Club World Cup, and is all but certain to lift the Premier League trophy at the end of the current campaign.
Over the same period, Bowen – nearly three years younger than Robertson at 23 – scored more than 50 goals for Hull and became the hottest property outside the top-flight, ultimately earning himself his January move to West Ham and back the Premier League.
On Monday evening, the Irons’ new No17 is hoping to renew acquaintances with his former Tigers teammate at Anfield, where he would love to make his full debut in front of more than 50,000 supporters and a worldwide television audience.
“I’ve never played there, but I’m looking forward to it, as the atmosphere has to be one of the best in world football, especially at this moment when they are the best team in the world,” he confirmed. “We played Manchester City on Wednesday night and they were very good, but Liverpool are 25 points clear of them, which just shows the level they are on.
“They deserve the respect and praise they are getting because they are outstanding, but it’s got to be the case that we go there believing we can beat them. Especially with the situation we’re in, we’ve got to go into games and start on the front foot.
“Yes, there will be times where you have to sit back and let the other team have the ball because otherwise they will just play around you, play quickly and open you up that way, which is what they want, so we’ve got to try and play them the way they don’t want to play and make it uncomfortable for them.”
I’ve never played at Anfield, but I’m looking forward to it, as the atmosphere has to be one of the best in world football
Should he feature, either from the start or from the substitute’s bench, Bowen will undoubtedly try to ‘make it uncomfortable’ for the man he shared a dressing room with at Hull, Scotland star Robertson.
“Robbo and I used to train against each other all the time and we’ve had a lot of battles!” smiled Bowen, who played alongside Robertson on his Hull debut in an EFL Cup win at Exeter City in August 2016. “He has come on leaps and bounds since then and I have as well, so it will be good if I can go up against him.
“We had a year when we were up against each other every day and some days I’d have good days and some days he’d have good days. That’s just part and parcel of it, so hopefully I can catch him on one of my good days on Monday!”