Liverpool vs West Ham: Can Moyes overcome his Merseyside woes?
The Scot spent 11 years of his managerial career at Goodison Park but has yet to win in the city of Liverpool as a visiting manager.
With the benefit of hindsight, it is almost certain that David Moyes would have given more thought to his monumental decision at the tail end of the 2012/13 campaign.
Deciding to accept the offer of outgoing Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson to fill his shoes at Old Trafford, Moyes simultaneously ended his 11-year relationship with Everton.
Outside of Lancashire, it is largely forgotten that the Scot had already coached Preston North End for 234 matches before taking the reins at Goodison Park in 2002 to replace fellow countryman Walter Smith.
Despite often being criticised for his lack of trophies, the job he carried out on Merseyside spanned more than a decade and is widely lauded as a fine example of how to build and grow a top-flight club on a relatively modest budget.
From hero to zero
Since departing Liverpool, Moyes’s stock in football circles has plummeted after a disastrous nine-month stint at United before an ill-fated stint in Spain with Real Sociedad before returning to England to take charge of Sunderland, whom he led meekly to the second tier.
Many were surprised he was afforded another opportunity at the top level so swiftly but in November Moyes was the chosen one by West Ham to replace Slaven Bilic.
The East London club were languishing in the relegation zone yet, to the Glaswegian’s credit, he has stabilised the situation despite off-field distraction with six wins from his 20 matches to date.
The low-point for him was, as it has been so often in his career, a return to Merseyside. A hat-trick from Wayne Rooney helped down the Hammers 4-0 in November.
A poor record
In fact, Moyes has now visited the Toffees with three different clubs since he decided to leave the club to whom he is most often associated.
His final game as Manchester United boss was a diabolical 2-0 loss at Goodison Park in April 2014 – where bookmaker Paddy Power provided the lasting image of an Everton fan dressed as the grim reaper behind the dugout.
It was no better with Sunderland, who lost 2-0 at both Merseyside clubs last season. Moyes’s record as a visiting manager in the city is shambolic.
He took charge of Everton in 11 Merseyside derbies at Anfield and did not record a single victory, with his side failing to find the net in six of those outings.
In total, he has managed 16 games in the visiting dugout at both Everton and Liverpool and is yet to win, drawing six and losing 10, failing to score in 12.
Heading to Anfield
It’s a miserable record which does not look set to improve with his side’s trip to Anfield on Saturday.
The Hammers are likely to sit deep and play with a compact defence, with the hope of hitting the hosts with a sucker-punch on the break.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have often proved vulnerable at home this season, drawing six of their 13 home league outings to date. They often struggle against sides who play with a rigid, disciplined and well-drilled defence.
Despite Moyes often dividing opinion, his methods of hands-on training often appear to benefit defensives shapes and formations, while he has had a fortnight to prepare for this challenge.
It may be 17 games without a win on Merseyside but the visitors are capable of frustrating an unpredictable home side.
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