Liverpool host Watford with the Reds hoping to put the defeat to Manchester United behind them and close the gap on second place with a win.
Liverpool welcome Watford, who are on a challenging run of games against top-six sides and the Reds will be hoping for a victory to take them close to rivals Manchester United and the second spot on the Premier League table. The loss against Manchester United was their first since the end of January when they were knocked out of the FA Cup.
Additionally, Liverpool are the only other team other than Manchester City who are unbeaten at home this season in the Premier League and are likely to keep the run going when Watford visit Anfield. Both sides met on the opening day of this season and the game ended in a thrilling 3-3 draw at Vicarage Road.
Watford come into the game at the back of a 3-0 defeat to Arsenal, but before that, they were on a run of two wins, both courtesy single goals from Troy Deeney. Watford are currently out of danger of getting dragged into a relegation battle, but new manager Javi Gracia will be hoping for a stronger finish to the season.
Team News & Tactics
Jurgen Klopp has an almost complete squad to face Watford. Additionally, Nathaniel Clyne has given a boost by returning to training after recovering from a long-term injury. The English full-back is, however, is not expected to start against Watford, although he could be named among the subs.
After the loss to United, Klopp will be assessing his defensive options, as well as the return of Joe Gomez, is likely to give him options at the back. Dejan Lovren and Trent Alexander-Arnold were the weak links, and hence Klopp is expected to replace them with Matip and Gomez respectively.
Jordan Henderson, who was on the bench for the Man Utd game, is expected to be back and Klopp will make a late decision on choosing the third midfielder to play alongside Henderson and Can. This midfielder could be either of Wijnaldum or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Probable Starting-XI (4-3-3): Karius; Gomez, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Can, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Mane, Salah, Firmino
Unlike Liverpool, Watford have major injury problems ahead of this game. As was the case before the Arsenal game, Javi Gracia’s side have close to eight first team players out injured, who will play no part against Liverpool. Tom Cleverley and Gerard Deulofeu are among those out injured.
While these injuries make Watford’s options in midfield and other areas of the pitch paper thin, Javi Gracia do have quality options to start with. Luckily against Arsenal, no players were injured, so Gracia is expected to name the same starting-XI against Liverpool, barring any late changes.
Probable Starting-XI (4-2-3-1): Karnezis; Janmaat, Mariappa, Prodl, Holebas; Doucoure, Capoue; Femenia, Pereyra, Richarlison; Deeney
- The two sides have never played out a goalless draw in the League.
- In the Premier League era, Watford have beaten Liverpool only once at Anfield, in the 1999/00 season.
- Liverpool have scored at least two goals at Anfield in their last six games.
- Liverpool are unbeaten in the Premier League this season at home with Manchester City being the other team to achieve this feat.
1. Watford +2.0 Asian Handicap @ 2.050
2. Liverpool Clean Sheet – No @ 1.83
1. Watford Clean Sheet – YES @ 13.00
Player To Watch
The loss against Man Utd halted Salah’s six-match scoring run for the Reds. With the quality of opposition on offer this weekend, one can safely assume the Egyptian will resume his scoring. On the other hand, the injury to Harry Kane, which is expected to keep him out of action until late April or even early May will play a part in Salah’s performances from here on.
Salah, currently tied with Kane for the Premier League golden boot with 24 strikes this season, could go on to become the first player after Cristiano Ronaldo to claim the prize as a non-striker. Starting with the Watford clash, Salah has the perfect opportunity to go ahead of the injured Kane and stake his claim to the best player this season.
Liverpool 4-1 Watford
If looked at the attacking qualities of both sides, Liverpool are ahead in the order, due to the presence of their front-three of Mane, Salah and Firmino, who have been at their lethal best this season. With Champions League action to resume next month, Klopp would be expecting sharp form from his trio, and there would be no better way than to bang in the goals, starting with Watford.
On the defensive side, Watford’s loss against Arsenal showed what Liverpool’s attackers could do to them. Liverpool’s defence has not been precisely rock solid, but with Van Dijk, they can expect it to be much tighter than before. On an overall note, the gulf of quality between the sides will decide the outcome of this clash and Liverpool, currently, sit on top of that game.