Who Stands Where?
Liverpool came up short in their 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford last weekend, but Jurgen Klopp’s men will have a chance to enter the international break on a high if they’re able to collect all three points against Watford at Anfield tomorrow.
The United defeat was a painful one for the Reds, as they were leapfrogged in the table by Spurs. Tottenham cruised to an easy 4-1 win over Bournemouth, which dropped Liverpool into 4th on 60 points. They’re still only a point adrift of Spurs, however, who just lost Harry Kane to an ankle injury.
Watford, meanwhile, are in 10th and safely clear of the relegation zone on 36 points. The Hornets’ 3-0 defeat at the hands of Arsenal last weekend ended Watford’s two-match mini winning streak, but the list of fixtures eases considerably after the Liverpool match. After this game, the Hornets get a run of games against Bournemouth, Burnley, Huddersfield Town and Crystal Palace.
Injury News And Odds
On paper, this looks like a complete mismatch. Liverpool don’t have any massive injuries of which to speak at the moment, and they’re clearly the more talented side. The odds back that up. At the time of writing, Liverpool are favoured by two goals, with Watford’s chances of winning outright way down at +1500. Those that regularly and safely bet online know that Watford bagging three points in this spot would be legitimately shocking.
Liverpool’s goals for the rest of the season are clear. Advancing deep into Champions League is the top priority, but ensuring their spot in next season’s European tournament is also high on the list. The Reds are in a fine position in the league, but fifth-placed Chelsea are looming. Despite the Blues’ lacklustre run of form, Antonio Conte and his troops are still just four points behind LFC.
So, it’ll be important for the Reds to collect as many points as possible from beatable clubs. Watford are far from the dregs of the league, but it’s still a side that pales in comparison in terms of talent. Despite the loss of Philippe Coutinho in January, Liverpool are still averaging 2.27 goals per Premier League match. That ranks second in England to Manchester City, and it’s the 9th-best mark among all clubs in the top-five divisions in Europe.
It’s been a while since these two sides met, but, if the last game was any indication, we may have a barnburner on our hands. Watford was able to earn a 3-3 draw against the Reds at Vicarage Road back on August 12. Liverpool appeared destined to nab all three points before a shocking stoppage-time equaliser from Miguel Britos forced the sides to share the spoils in the first game of the Premier League campaign.
Plenty has changed since then, of course. Coutinho, Simon Mignolet, Gini Wijnaldum, Jordan Henderson and Alberto Moreno all started for the Reds that day, with Divock Origi coming on as a late sub. None of those players is in line to start for Liverpool in the rematch, with Moreno and Mignolet having lost their starting spots to Andy Robertson and Loris Karius, respectively.
While Liverpool don’t have any major injury issues to worry about, Cathcart is doubtful for Watford. In addition, they have Chalobah, Cleverley, Deulofeu, Hoban, Holebas, Kabasele, Kaboul, Sinclair and Wague missing from action.
Watford will have a chance to surprise Liverpool if the Reds get caught looking ahead to the break and subsequent Champions League fixtures. Liverpool have been drawn against Manchester City in the QFs, but Klopp has been adamant all season long that his team need not lose focus. Winning the match in front of you is the most important priority.
Kickoff at Anfield is set for 5:30 GMT.
Stats Courtesy: Whoscored