Liverpool vs Watford
Referee: Graham Scott
The fixtures are coming thick and fast and we see league leaders Liverpool take on Watford at home on Wednesday night at Anfield.
It’s four draws from the last five for the Reds with some very lacklustre performances along the way. They’ve only managed to register three shots on target across their last 180 minutes of football against Bayern Munich and Manchester United, which is not something we’ve been accustomed to from sides managed by Jurgen Klopp over the years.
The visitors, on the other hand, come into this one off the back of a thumping 5-1 win at Cardiff and have won their last three games as well as reaching the quarter-finals of the FA Cup. Javi Gracia’s side now find themselves in seventh spot which would make for a very successful season if they can continue to maintain results. They sit next in line outside of the Premier League’s top six.
Since Watford have made there way into the Premier League and solidified their place, Liverpool have run rampant with five wins, one draw and only one defeat. Earlier this season the Reds managed a 3-0 win at Vicarage Road after three second-half goals. When the sides met, Watford were not in the best of places but since then they have blossomed and this matchup could be a tough test for Klopp’s side.
It’s definitely a tricky week for Liverpool with the Merseyside Derby on Sunday which is surely sitting in the back of some players’ minds. They are all out of ‘get out of free’ jail cards now, and one more slip up could see them fall behind, becoming the chasers not the leaders yet again.
Mo Salah is one goal away from reaching 50 Premier League goals and, if he can do that on Wednesday, he will have reached that in 64 games. Eight quicker than Torres who managed it in 72. He will also beat Shearer’s record of reaching 50 for a single club; 66 games for Blackburn.
Watford’s last two visits to Anfield ended 5-0 in March 2018 and 6-1 in November 2016.
Liverpool are unbeaten against Watford in their last six.
Liverpool are unbeaten at Anfield in 34 Premier League games.
Mo Salah has six goals and one assist in three games against Watford.
Watford have lost only one of their last 11 matches in all competitions.
Naby Keita missed training on Monday as it was his turn to be taken ill, however he seemed to be a part of training on Tuesday which may mean he has recovered enough to be involved in the matchday squad. Roberto Firmino picked up a first-half injury at Old Trafford on Sunday and Klopp has deemed him unfit for Watford and possibly fit for Everton on the weekend. The Reds remain without Dejan Lovren and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain but all other first team players remain fit and healthy.
Short and sweet for the Hornets as they have an almost fully fit squad with Kiko Femenia the only injury concern, however Jose Holebas is also suspended for the tie at Anfield and therefore will not feature. I am expecting an unchanged side after the 5-1 thumping Cardiff were delivered last time out.
Predicted Starting XIs
Liverpool (4-2-3-1): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Keita, Shaqiri, Mane; Salah.
Watford (4-2-2-2): Foster; Janmaat, Mariappa, Cathcart, Masina; Capoue, Doucoure; Pereyra, Hughes; Deeney, Deulofeu.
Score Prediction: Liverpool 2 Watford 1
Expect a gutsy Watford performance but ultimately they are likely to fall short, going long periods of the game without the ball. I fully expect them to have a go and get a goal too, but Liverpool’s quality should prevail as they have ran out of chances to keep top spot all to themselves.