Watford make up the opposition at Anfield on Sunday, as Liverpool look to keep the good-vibes rolling at the summit of the Premier League table.
Can the Hornets spring a surprise, or will Jürgen Klopp’s men continue their impeccable form with another swashbuckling attacking display?
Match: Liverpool vs Watford
Date: Sunday 6th October
Time: 14:15 BST
Referee: Michael Oliver
The Reds will come into the game full of confidence, having not lost in their last 11 games, a fantastic record made even more impressive by the inconsistency that was so prevalent last season.
Having recovered from dropped points away at Burnley and Tottenham with four straight Premier League wins, momentum was temporarily halted by the home stalemate against Manchester United, only for Liverpool to pick up another three straight wins.
Two of those came at Anfield, 2-1 victories against West Brom in the league and Tottenham in the cup, before Klopp’s men really shone attacking-wise in last weekend’s 4-2 away triumph at Crystal Palace.
It must be said that Watford themselves are on a good unbeaten run after losing 2-0 away at Burnley, with the Hornets not having lost any of their past four games.
If the 2-2 home draw against Bournemouth was the exception, the most recent three games have been the rule, beating Middlesbrough and Hull whilst drawing at Swansea, all without conceding a goal.
Walter Mazzarri’s men have had a couple of big results this season, beating Manchester United at home and West Ham away, results like that helping them up to seventh in the table, just four places – but eight points – behind Liverpool. The Reds are only missing out on top spot due to goal difference currently, and will be hoping that results elsewhere mean they can leapfrog Manchester City and Arsenal on Sunday.
Whilst the big, unfortunate, injury news this week has been Danny Ings’ season ending surgery, James Milner’s return from illness will be welcomed by Klopp, despite Alberto Moreno’s solid showing at left-back last time out.
Georginio Wijnaldum will be pushing to get back into the starting 11 ahead of Emre Can, but it’s unlikely that he’ll manage it, leaving the Dutchman alongside the likes of Sturridge and Origi on the bench. No changes expected bar Milner in for Moreno.
Record signing Isaac Success is likely to miss out for Watford, whilst defender Craig Cathcart is missing with a groin problem. Chelsea loanee Kenedy is another man who will be sidelined.
Liverpool predicted XI (4-3-3): Karius; Clyne, Lovren, Matip, Milner; Henderson, Can, Lallana; Mane, Firmino, Coutinho.
Watford predicted XI (3-5-2): Gomes; Janmaat, Kaboul, Britos; Amrabat, Pereyra, Behrami, Capoue, Holebas; Ighalo, Deeney.
WHEN THEY LAST MET
There were a period of forgettable Sunday afternoon Liverpool games towards the end of last season as everyone went Europa League crazy (see wins over Bournemouth and Stoke, loss to Swansea) and the Reds’ 2-0 win over Watford in May adds to that list. Joe Allen slid in to score from a Christian Benteke knockdown in the first half, before Gomes failed to save a routine Firmino shot in the second 45.
Earlier in the season, an Adam Bogdan induced nightmare had given Klopp one of his worst days as Liverpool manager to date, the Hornets winning 3-0 at Vicarage Road thanks to goals from Ake and Ighalo (2).
- Liverpool have only managed a bigger points haul after 10 games, 23, twice in the Premier League era.
- The Reds haven’t lost at home in 18 games.
- Watford and Liverpool have conceded the same amount of league goals this season.
- After 10 games, Jordan Henderson has completed more passes than any other Premier League player.
- These two teams have met 19 times in professional competition, Liverpool winning 14 of those games.
PREDICTION: LIVERPOOL 3-0 WATFORD
I was foolish enough not to predict a Liverpool win last week, forgetting that the Reds are absolute mustard at the moment. On Sunday, I’m backing us to blow Watford and their defensive record away, with Sadio Mane on the scoresheet.