West Ham boss David Moyes offered high words of praise for Pablo Zabaleta, when speaking exclusively to Football.London yesterday.
The 35-year-old joined the Hammers on a free transfer in the summer of 2017, and he has gone on to make 79 appearances for the east London outfit (Transfermarkt).
Zabaleta has played more this season than he probably thought he would have. Ryan Fredericks is out injured yet again with a serious shoulder problem, so the Argentine will undoubtedly be used regularly between now and the end of the campaign.
The 58-capped Argentina international has been an extremely consistent performer throughout his years in England. But he is not the player he once was.
Zabaleta’s legs seem to be gone. He has no pace whatsoever, but his experience and positional sense enable him to get by in spite of his lack of speed.
And Moyes admitted that he is a big fan of the former Manchester City man, when speaking exclusively to Football.London:
“Zabateta, as you know, has been incredibly reliable and has a great personality when he plays.”
Zabaleta might struggle tonight, if Moyes chooses to start him, with Sadio Mane and Andy Robertson flying down the Hammers’ right hand side.
The West Ham boss does have the option of starting 19-year-old Jeremy Ngakia, however. But that could be a dangerous move at Anfield, considering the youngster’s inexperience playing at the highest level.
Whatever happens tonight, and whoever Moyes selects to play, the Hammers need every single one of their players to put in at least 8/10 performances. And then they might just have a chance of taking something away from Anfield.