Darren Bent has claimed West Ham will face a difficult psychological challenge after their talisman Michail Antonio was ruled out against Liverpool.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Spurs and England striker insisted that the Hammers had been “too reliant” on the 30-year-old.
Manager David Moyes confirmed that Antonio will miss the trip to Anfield with a hamstring injury but he hopes that he will not be unavailable for too long.
The uncapped English man has scored 11 goals in his last 13 Premier League games, including three this season.
His last goal was a sensational overhead kick against Manchester City last week that earned the Hammers a vital point.
However, he limped off with an injury early in the second half and Bent believes his side may struggle without him.
Asked by Football Insider what the impact of losing their talisman will be on West Ham’s players, Bent said: “It will be a difficult mental hurdle.
“He is massive to what West Ham do, running, working hard. He seems like a great teammate as well.
“Psychologically as well West Ham players will be like ‘oh, no’.
“Sometimes they are a little bit too reliant on Antonio but he has produced the goods.”
Antonio joined West Ham as a winger from Championship side Nottingham Forest five years ago but Moyes played him regularly in a central role last season.
He has now scored 41 goals and provided 22 assists in 160 Hammers games across all competitions in his half-decade with the club.