The West Ham midfielder withdrew from international duty with England over the break due to illness and Moyes has revealed that he wasn’t expecting the Hammers captain to face the Reds due to how unwell he felt.
The Scot was planning to face Liverpool, who were unbeaten in the Premier League before defeat at the London Stadium earlier this month, with Rice – though the 22-year-old felt well enough to start and put in a man of the match display as West Ham moved third.
“He was on his knees,” said Moyes.
“The truth was I didn’t think he would play against Liverpool. We had been medicating him so much for two days before Liverpool and we didn’t think he would play. I was having to think what we would do without him.
“He didn’t train on the Saturday and got up and said he felt a bit better on the Sunday morning and we played him.
“That’s what England want to do as well because he’s a key player for England and they want to use him as well but he was really unwell. He was badly unwell.”
Rice has used the break to rest and recuperate and Moyes is now hoping the midfielder is ready to go again with a packed schedule coming up.
West Ham have three away games in eight days, starting at Wolves on Saturday before facing trips to Rapid Vienna on Thursday and Manchester City next Sunday.
“He’s better,” Moyes added.
“I don’t know if it was the flu, it wasn’t Covid. Fatigue, tiredness. Being fair to Declan, he has performed as well as any England player who was part of the Euros since the start of the Premier League season.
“He’s kept at it and his form has been really good. He’s turned up for every England camp and been fantastic. Let’s hope he can go again.”