Manuel Pellegrini says West Ham will not use any specific tactics to try and stop Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah on Sunday.
Salah enjoyed an outstanding debut season with the Reds last year, scoring 32 Premier League goals to claim the competition’s Golden Boot, and is the obvious threat to West Ham at Anfield this weekend.
But Pellegrini does not believe it is as simple as attempting to deal with Salah, as he has team-mates of the quality of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and now also Xherdan Shaqiri, who has joined Liverpool from Stoke City.
“We don’t have any special plans just for him because it would be easier if Liverpool were just Mo Salah, but they aren’t,” he told a news conference. “They have Firmino, Mane, Shaqiri.
“But Salah is a great player, and we all saw what he did last season.”
Like opening opponents Liverpool, West Ham have invested heavily in the transfer window, including adding Issa Diop, Felipe Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko, and Pellegrini is relishing the options he has at his disposal.
“The difficult thing is when you don’t have options,” he said. “The players know I have to pick a starting XI but they also know you need a strong squad and not just a team to be successful in the Premier League.
“You need two players in each position and they need to train hard for every game, then it is my decision to pick the starting XI.
“It’s one of the most difficult things for a manager and the more players, the bigger the problem. But it is more difficult when you have no options.
“For me, it’s easier to have more good players and some of them must wait for their opportunities. The 40 days we have worked in pre-season, the players are working very well with our new ideas and our new system.”