Liverpool will be looking to extend their lead over the Manchester clubs when they visit Vicarage Road to play Watford.
The Reds were enjoying a good run of form and looked like they were heading in the right direction to secure a Champions League berth. However, they were shell-shocked as they succumbed to a home defeat at the hands of Crystal Palace last week.
That would have been a massive dent to their aspirations, but they will breathe easy now as their top four rivals Manchester United and Manchester City dropped points against relegation-threatened sides Swansea and Middlesbrough respectively, on Sunday.
Arsenal, too, languishing in sixth, lost 2-0 to title challengers Tottenham Hotspur, and have all but given up on finishing in the top four.
That leaves Liverpool fighting against two teams, and they could make a march on them if they manage to pick up a victory against Watford on Monday. The Hornets will go into the game with nothing to lose, and could make it a tough game for the Reds.
Team News and Tactics
Former Spurs keeper Heurelho Gomes has been a mainstay in the Watford goal this season, and is likely to start in between the sticks for them against Liverpool. Sebastian Prodl and Miguel Britos will play as centre-backs.
At right full-back, Darryl Janmaat is expected to be given the nod, while the attack-minded Jose Holebas will start on the other side. Abdoulaye Doucoure is expected to join Tom Cleverley and Etienne Capoue in midfield.
Troy Deeney has been omnipresent in attack for the Hornets this season, and is expected to lead the line for Watford. He is likely to be supplemented by the likes of M’Baye Niang and Nordin Amrabat on either wings.
Watford Probable XI: Gomes; Janmaat, Prodl, Britos, Holebas; Capoue, Cleverley, Doucoure; Amrabat, Deeney, Niang.
Simon Mignolet has been a tad better than Loris Karius this season, and is likely to be given the nod against Watford. Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip will start as centre-backs, as Ragnar Klavan is unlikely to feature through a minor injury.
Jordan Henderson is still ruled out which means that Emre Can is likely to continue his extended run in the starting eleven. Adam Lallana is a minor doubt for the game, but is expected to fight it off to play in midfield alongside Wijnaldum and Can.
Due to the absence of Sadio Mane, who is ruled out for the season, Divock Origi will lead the line for the Reds with Philippe Coutinho operating as an inside forward on the left, and Roberto Firmino playing a similar role on the opposite flank.
Liverpool Probable XI: Mignolet; Clyne, Lovren, Matip, Milner; Wijnaldum, Can, Lallana; Firmino, Origi, Coutinho.
- Roberto Firmino has had a hand in four goals in his last two Premier League matches against Watford (two goals, two assists), although both appearances came at Anfield.
- Liverpool will be looking to win three successive Premier League away games under Jurgen Klopp for only the second time, with the previous occasion coming in October 2016.
- The Reds have won just 40 points from 22 Premier League games against teams outside the top seven this season (1.82 per game), compared to 26 points from 12 games against the current top seven (2.17 per game).
- This will be the 11th Premier League game that Watford have played on a Monday and of the previous 10, they have only once one (W1 D4 L5) – this came against Portsmouth in April 2007 (4-2 at Vicarage Road).
- Troy Deeney has scored against 41 different opponents in all competitions during his Watford career, but he’s never scored in his three previous appearances versus Liverpool for the Hornets.
Player to watch out for
The Brazilian will be looking to continue his good run of form with a solid performance against Watford. The Hornets defenders will be maintaining a structured shape, and it could be exceedingly difficult for Coutinho to find a way through.
However, if there is anyone in the Liverpool squad who could do that, it is him. Coutinho has been industrious and adept since moving to Anfield in 2013, and is expected to put in a solid performance on Monday.
Watford 1-1 Liverpool
While both teams play contrasting styles of football, they are equally weak at focusing on the other aspect of their game. Liverpool have been shambles defensively for most of the season, and despite having improved recently, there is still work to do.
Watford could look to exploit this weakness in the Reds’ game and could even target James Milner for his lack of pace on their right wing. Also, playing with nothing to lose, they have it in them to at least get a point from the game.