LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 22, 2016: Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia celebrates scoring the second goal against West Bromwich Albion during the FA Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Reds out to avoid the sting of the Hornets – Liverpool vs. Watford Preview

Liverpool will be aiming to make it 12 matches unbeaten when they welcome Watford to Anfield on Sunday, in another crucial Premier League clash.

Liverpool vs. Watford

Sunday, November 6, 2016 – 2:15pm (BST)
Premier League
Referee: Michael Oliver

The Reds are unstoppable on current form, with no other team in the country playing such attack-minded football.

Last Saturday’s 4-2 win at Crystal Palace was yet another example of Jurgen Klopp‘s side overcoming a potential banana skin.

The victory ensured Liverpool stayed level on points with Man City and Arsenal at the top of the Premier League table, having earned 23 points from their opening 10 games.

Next up for Klopp’s men is Sunday’s visit of Watford – an unsung side enjoying a productive campaign of their own in 2016/17.

Walter Mazzarri has made an immediate impression in the Hornets’ hotseat and they lie seventh in the table going into the weekend – ahead of Man United.

They are unbeaten in their last four matches, not conceding in their last three, which is proof that Liverpool will have to play well to win on Sunday.

After a strong start to the season at Anfield, it is imperative that the Reds go into the next international break with another win, in order to keep their momentum going.

Hopefully another supreme attacking display awaits us.

Last Meeting: Liverpool 2-0 Watford

Opposition Q & A

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, May 8, 2016: Watford fans show messages of support for the Hillsborough victims during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

We spoke to Watford supporter Mike Parkin (@RookeryMike) to get his thoughts on Watford‘s season and Sunday’s game.

Watford seem to have gone quietly and effectively about their business so far this season. Are you happy with how everything is going under Walter Mazzarri?

You’d have to be pretty churlish not to be happy with the start we’ve made to the season. There was some concern over the summer; it’s generally accepted that the second season after promotion is a tough one and we were coming into it with another new head coach.

Mazzarri has done well though, he’s shown he isn’t afraid to change things during the course of a game, something Quique Sanchez Flores failed to do. Watford have taken points off the teams at their supposed level and that was always key.

I suspect you guys were as happy with our win over Manchester United as we were – that has been the definite highlight so far.

How has the Troy Deeney/Odion Ighalo strike partnership done so this far this season? Do you believe they and others have the firepower to ensure a top-half finish for the Hornets?

The partnership hasn’t been quite so potent recently. Deeney plays a captain’s role in every game, working incredibly hard and covering an awful lot of ground. Ighalo is struggling for form and desperately needs a goal; he’s the archetypal confidence player and when he isn’t finding the net, he suffers.

From an attacking point of view, the real story of the season has been Isaac Success. He’s strong, skilful and quick and is already a terrace hero. Luckily for Jurgen Klopp and the reds, he’s out injured this weekend!

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 22, 2016: Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia celebrates scoring the second goal against West Bromwich Albion with team-mate Roberto Firmino during the FA Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Looking ahead to Sunday’s game, which Liverpool players do you see as the key threat to Watford? Or is it more about their all-round team ethic than individuals?

Liverpool at Anfield is always a massive challenge and this season they’ve emerged as a real attacking threat. Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino stand out, and Adam Lallana has found his feet.

Watford had struggled defensively at the start of the season, but after three clean sheets in a row, this will be a real test.

How do you expect the match to pan out?

To be perfectly honest, avoiding defeat would represent a huge result for the Hornets. So much will rely on the defence being at their best and it will be interesting to see if Mazzarri is bold enough to play with three centre backs as is his preferred set up.

If Watford can stay in the game, I fancy them to create a few chances, but it will be very, very tough. It’s a free hit really, nobody expects Watford to get anything from the game, so playing without pressure may help.

My heart says we’ll nick a draw. My head says 2-1 Liverpool.

Mike is the co-presenter of Watford podcast “From the Rookery End” – Listen to it HERE.

Classic Match

John Barnes, Peter Beardsley, Liverpool, 1988 (Picture by Ross Kinnaird EMPICS Sport)

TIA’s Jeff Goulding has written about a memorable encounter between Liverpool and Watford from back in 1987 – here’s a snippet….

John Barnes was facing his former club and he would show them absolutely no mercy. The Reds had already crushed superior opposition and a team languishing in 19th place would surely be like lambs to the slaughter.

If you wanted to get into the game back then, you had to get there early. The gates would frequently shut with thousands still queuing outside. I used to get to the ground around midday to ensure I got my spot on the Kop. I always headed for the centre, near the two big pillars, as that was where all the singing seemed to start. I’d meet my mates there, but by the end of the game we’d end up scattered to the four corners of the old terrace.

Liverpool’s previous three games had proved difficult. They’d drawn 1-1 away to Wimbledon and Manchester United, followed by a goalless draw at home to Norwich just six days earlier. We really needed to get back on track and most of us felt this would be the game where we did.

Read the article in full HERE.

Team News

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 1, 2016: Liverpool's James Milner in action against Swansea City during the FA Premier League match at the Liberty Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Klopp has confirmed he has a fully fit squad to choose from, barring long-term absentee Danny Ings, and youngsters Joe Gomez and Sheyi Ojo, who are still working their way back to optimum fitness.

James Milner has recovered from the illness that kept him out at Selhurst Park last weekend, with the 30-year-old likely to come back in for Alberto Moreno at left-back.

The Spaniard certainly did his chances no harm against Palace, though, in what was a more mature performance overall.

The rest of the team virtually picks itself, with Loris Karius in goal, Nathaniel Clyne at right-back, Matip and Lovren at centre-back and Jordan Henderson anchoring the midfield.

The unplayable front-three of Sadio Mane, Philippe Coutinho and Firmino should again start proceedings, with Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi hoping to make an impact from the bench.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 29, 2016: Liverpool's Emre Can celebrates scoring the first goal against Crystal Palace during the FA Premier League match at Selhurst Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The only conundrum Klopp has is whether to go with Can or Georginio Wijnaldum alongside Lallana in midfield, with both offering different strengths in the middle of the park.

Can probably has the edge, especially after a much-improved, goalscoring performance at Palace, but it once again highlights the depth within this Liverpool squad.

Watford have a few more injury problems than the Reds.

Sebastian Prodl and Isaac Success are both missing with respective groin and hamstring injuries, while centre-back Craig Cathcart is also out with a hernia.

No return date has been set for on-loan winger Kenedy or Ivorian right-back Brice Dja Djedje.


LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 29, 2016: Liverpool's Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring the second goal against Crystal Palace with team-mate Adam Lallana during the FA Premier League match at Selhurst Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)

Won 4-2 vs. Crystal Palace
Won 2-1 vs. Tottenham
Won 2-1 vs. West Brom
Drew 0-0 vs. Man United
Won 2-1 vs. Swansea City

Watford – Last five results (all competitions)

Won 1-0 vs. Hull
Drew 0-0 vs. Swansea
Won 1-0 vs. Middlesbrough
Drew 2-2 vs. Bournemouth
Lost 2-0 vs. Burnley

Klopp’s View

The Liverpool manager showed his support for Ings, after the 24-year-old’s season was cruelly ended by another serious knee injury:

“It’s an important story, because everybody who knows Ingsy likes him,” he said.

“I’ve never hear anything bad about him, the only bad thing was he had an injury and he needed time to get back into shape.

“Then this happened and it’s not nice, but that’s football. His surgery was very positive, rehab has started already. The team has to show how strong we are in waiting for him.

“We will give him all the time he needs then when he’s back he’ll be a Liverpool player, 100 percent.”

One to Watch: Troy Deeney

WATFORD, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 20, 2015: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson and Watford's captain Troy Deeney during the Premier League match at Vicarage Road. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Watford are not a team made up of stellar names, but in Troy Deeney, they have someone who can be very influential on his day.

The 28-year-old is underrated in many ways, perhaps because he is not the most fashionable of players, but his power and work-rate can be a real handful.

Admittedly, the Englishman has only scored three goals in 10 Premier League appearances so far this season, but he often raises his game against the bigger teams.

Deeney and Ighalo will be a threat to Liverpool, and Matip and Lovren cannot allow the former to bully them with his physical prowess.

Odds & TV Info

Liverpool are the resounding favourites to get the better of their opponents, with Klopp’s men 3/10 to leave Anfield with a win.

Watford are a whopping 12/1 to secure victory, which considering their impressive current league position, seems a little unfair on the visitors. The draw is 4/1.

The match is live on Sky Sports 1 from 1:30pm (BST) with kick-off at 2:15pm. Sky Sports 1 can be streamed live in UK with a NOW TV Day Passclick here to get 10% off.

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