Venue – Vicarage Road, Watford
Referee – Jonathan Moss
Date & Time – Saturday, November 24th @ 15:00
Current Odds – Watford 11/2, Draw 16/5, Liverpool 1/2
Javi Gracia and his Watford team have enjoyed a good start to this season with 6 wins from their first 12 league games. They are currently 7th in the table, ahead of Manchester United on goal difference.
Watford have also been enjoying an attacking style of football this season with impressive xG rates in many games. Roberto Pereyra has had a very good start and the former Juventus player is playing the best football of his career, to date.
Liverpool’s form has been something of an enigma, lately. On one hand, Jurgen Klopp’s men have made the best-ever start to a Premier League campaign of any Liverpool team. On the other, at Red Star Belgrade (FK Crvena zvezda) we witnessed possibly their worst-ever performance since the German manager took over at Anfield more than three years ago.
The Reds got back to winning ways against Fulham just before the international break but will need to be at a better level to win at Watford this weekend. They are currently two points behind Manchester City at the top of the league.
Watford Team News
Daryl Janmaat, Sebastian Prodl and Tom Cleverley are all unavailable due to injury while Will Hughes’ calf strain has also made him a major doubt for Saturday’s game.
Gracia has been lining his side up in a 4-2-2-2 shape, for the most part, this season and it should be the same setup again on Saturday.
Gerard Delofeu will most likely drop back to take up Hughes’ role in midfield.
I expect Andre Gray and Troy Deeney to return to the starting lineup as well.
Liverpool Team News
Thankfully, Liverpool have no reported extra injury concerns after this latest international break.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain continues his recovery and is hoping to get some game-time before the end of the season.
Jordan Henderson still has a tight hamstring and faces a late fitness test to see if he will be up for selection. He won’t make the starting eleven, anyway.
I think The Reds will have a full-strength attack with a midfield trio of Gini Wijnaldum at the base while a rested James Milner and in-form Xherdan Shaqiri could take the other two places.
Wijnaldum and Shaqiri, in particular, enjoyed impressive turnouts for their national teams over the last few days so Klopp will be looking for them to carry that form into this weekend.
Watford XI (4-2-2-2) – Foster; Femenia, Mariappa(c), Cathcart, Holebas; Doucoure, Chalobah; Delofeu, Pereyra; Gray, Deeney
Liverpool XI (4-3-3) – Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Milner(c), Shaqiri; Salah, Firmino, Mané
When they last met
Liverpool have won 4 of the last 5 meetings between the two sides. Watford’s last victory over Liverpool was the 3-0 drubbing in December 2015, two months into Klopp’s Anfield career.
Liverpool won 5-0 at Anfield last season – Mohamed Salah scored 4 and Bobby Firmino got the other. At Vicarage Road, it was a 3-3 on the first weekend of the 2017/18 season.
Watford 1 – 2 Liverpool
Liverpool to win – just about. Salah to get at least one of the goals. I do expect Watford to score as they’ve been playing well this season but Liverpool should have enough to get the three points.
** Please note – “xGA” in the Form Stats tables symbolises “expected goals against” **
**All xG stats courtesy of Understat.com