Watford vs. Liverpool
Saturday, August 12, 2017 — 12.30pm (BST)
After a long summer of no major international tournament, transfer fury and eight pre-season matches, proper football is back.
There is plenty going on off the pitch at Anfield currently, but it is vital Jurgen Klopp‘s side don’t switch off on it this weekend.
Liverpool could have had worse fixtures to begin their season, but Watford are a side who could prove to be a dark horse under new manager Marco Silva.
The Portuguese has made some interesting signings, most notably Nathaniel Chalobah, Will Hughes and Andre Gray, and they have a nucleus of physical players who will make life tough on Saturday.
Last season’s gritty 1-0 win at Vicarage Road proved that trips there are never easy, and a slightly depleted Reds side won’t have it all their own way.
Picking up three points on the opening weekend is always a welcome boost, and given the competitive nature of the Premier League‘s top-six clubs, losing early ground would be a blow.
Here we go again: the quest to end 27 years of pain.
Last Meeting: Watford 0-1 Liverpool
Philippe Coutinho is set to miss the game with a back injury, while the midfielder continues to push for a move to Barcelona.
Adam Lallana is a long-term casualty, with the 29-year-old expected to be out for a minimum of two months with a thigh problem.
Daniel Sturridge misses out, too, with the striker nursing a thigh complaint.
With no Lallana or Coutinho, it seems likely that Jordan Henderson, Emre Can and Georginio Wijnaldum will all be selected, although don’t completely rule out a surprise start for the ever-impressive 17-year-old Ben Woodburn.
Watford captain Troy Deeney is expected to be fit for the game, and Silva will be boosted that he has no other major injury concerns other than Mauro Zarate, who has been missing since February.
Away fan’s pubs: Oddfellows or Moon Under The Water.
Watford – Last five results (all pre-season)
Drew 0-0 vs. Real Sociedad
Drew 0-0 vs. Aston Villa
Lost 2-1 vs. Rangers
Won 1-0 vs. Eibar
Won 1-0 vs. Viktoria Plzen
Liverpool – Last five results (all pre-season)
Won 3-1 vs. Athletic Bilbao
Drew 1-1 vs. Atletico Madrid (lost 5-4 on penalties)
Won 3-0 vs. Bayern Munich
Won 3-0 vs. Hertha Berlin
Won 2-1 vs. Leicester
In his pre-match press conference, Klopp spoke highly of Silva, and also discussed what Salah will bring to the Liverpool team:
“We’ve seen a few of their pre-season games. He’s a very dominant coach—you can see the things he brought in at Hull.
“[Salah] has speed, technical ability, finishing—speed is the most difficult thing to defend in football as it opens spaces.”
UK viewers: Watford vs. Liverpool is being shown live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Premier League in the UK (coverage from 11.30am BST), which are available to live stream with a NOW TV day pass (10% off).
Or get 40% off a NOW TV Sky Sports monthly pass to watch this match, as well as Liverpool vs. Arsenal on 27th August and Manchester City vs. Liverpool on 9th September, as well as all other Sky Sports coverage. Click here.
Alternatively, our matchday live blog will be up and running at 11.45am, with Henry Jackson talking you through the action at Vicarage Road.