Jurgen Klopp says West Ham are having an “incredible” season but highlighted the number of games fewer they have played compared to Liverpool.
Klopp takes his team to the London Stadium on Sunday, where they will bid to build on their 3-1 win at Tottenham and make up ground on Premier League leaders Manchester City.
West Ham can overtake the Reds in fourth if they pick up the three points and maintain their 100 per cent start to 2021.
Both teams have played 20 times in the Premier League, but Liverpool have played six more games overall this season.
West Ham have played five cup games – three in the EFL Cup and two in the FA Cup – and while Liverpool have only had four domestic cup matches, they have played six times in the Champions League as well as competing for the Community Shield prior to the start of the season.
That takes their tally of games for the season to 31, compared to West Ham’s 25, and while Klopp accepts the heavier load has put great physical demands on his squad, he is fully accepting of it.
“West Ham is in an incredible moment and they really have the momentum,” Klopp said. “It will be a tough one for us, they had two days more off as well which makes a massive difference.
“But we will go there and give them a proper fighting performance and show them that we want to win the game.
“We respect them a lot and we respect the run that they are on.
“West Ham is doing incredibly well but I don’t know how many games less than us they’ve played so there are moments when games can really hurt you, from a physical point of view.
“That’s all fine, that’s how it is and there should not be a guarantee that we can be top every year – it’s an open competition and that’s the situation.”
How to follow West Ham v Liverpool
West Ham vs Liverpool will be broadcast live on Sky Sports Premier League and Main Event from 4pm on Sunday; kick-off at 4.30pm. Sky Sports customers can watch in-game clips in the live match blog on the Sky Sports website and app. Free highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel shortly after the final whistle.