Return to winning ways vital for table-topping Reds – Liverpool vs. Watford Preview

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Premier League leaders Liverpool must showcase their title credentials on Wednesday night, with in-form Watford making the trip to Anfield.

Liverpool vs. Watford

Wednesday, February 27, 2019 – 8pm (GMT)
Anfield
Premier League
Referee: Graham Scott

The Reds had the opportunity to open up a three-point lead over Man City on Sunday, but they came up short away to Man United.

While a 0-0 draw was far from a disastrous result – it still meant Liverpool leapfrogged their title rivals – there are concerns surrounding their current form.

With 11 league games remaining this season every match is huge and the midweek visit of Watford represents a must-win game.

The Hornets have enjoyed an impressive campaign with Javi Gracia at the helm, sitting seventh in the table and finding themselves in the FA Cup quarter-finals.

WATFORD, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 24, 2018: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah during the FA Premier League match between Watford FC and Liverpool FC at Vicarage Road. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool’s 3-0 win at Vicarage Road back in November was not as comfortable as the scoreline suggests and Jurgen Klopp‘s side will be given a tough night.

Anfield has become a fortress again with Klopp in charge, however, with the Reds unbeaten there in the league for almost two years.

This is a perfect chance for Liverpool to show they mean business after back-to-back goalless draws, with an expectant Anfield crowd desperate for victory.

With City hosting West Ham at the same time it promises to be another nervy 90 minutes, as the title race becomes increasingly tense.

This fixture last season: Liverpool 5-0 Watford

 

Team News

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 24, 2019: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino is injured during the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Roberto Firmino is expected to miss out after injuring his ankle at Old Trafford, although Klopp has said there is a chance he could feature.

Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovren are unavailable, though, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Rhian Brewster are still working their way back to full fitness.

Trent Alexander-Arnold should come back in for James Milner at right-back, following the latter’s struggles at Old Trafford.

Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk will continue at centre-back, while Andy Robertson could do with a good performance, following a dip by his high standards.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 9, 2019: Liverpool's Naby Keita during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and AFC Bournemouth at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

There could be changes in midfield, with Naby Keita pushing for a start after playing no part at the weekend, should he recover from illness.

It could be Jordan Henderson who makes way, with the captain’s fitness issues often making it unlikely for him to start three games in a week.

Xherdan Shaqiri will also hope to play a more prominent role after falling out of favour of late, with Firmino’s potential absence possibly gifting the Swiss winger a start. Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi are also options.

Watford have no new injury problems, leaving Gracia in an enviable position.

 

Last 5 at Home to Watford (All Competitions)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, March 17, 2018: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring the fourth goal, his hat-trick, during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Watford FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Won 5-0 – March 2018 (Salah x4; Firmino)
Won 6-1 – November 2016 (Mane x2, Coutinho, Can, Firmino, Wijnaldum; Janmaat)
Won 2-0 – May 2016 (Allen, Firmino)
Won 2-0 – December 2006 (Bellamy, Alonso)
Won 1-0 – January 2005 (Gerrard)

 

Did You Know?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, November 6, 2016: Liverpool's Sadio Mane celebrates scoring the first goal against Watford during the FA Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Watford have conceded 13 times in the league at Anfield since Klopp became Liverpool manager – only Arsenal (15) have let in more in that time.

It all started with a routine 2-0 win back at the end of the 2015/16 season, before a rampant 6-1 victory in which Sadio Mane shone.

Last season, Mohamed Salah scored four times in a 5-0 triumph, at a time when there arguably wasn’t a more in-form player in the world.

On top of that, the Hornets have lost their last 11 away league games against the current top six.

 

Form

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 24, 2019: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson reacts during the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)

Drew 0-0 vs. Man United
Drew 0-0 vs. Bayern Munich
Won 3-0 vs. Bournemouth
Drew 1-1 vs. West Ham
Drew 1-1 vs. Leicester

Watford – Last five results (all competitions)

Won 5-1 vs. Cardiff
Won 1-0 vs. QPR
Won 1-0 vs. Everton
Drew 0-0 vs. Brighton
Lost 2-1 vs. Tottenham

 

Klopp’s View

Speaking to reporters, Klopp said everyone should be enjoying the “positive situation” of being top, as his players try and deliver the holy grail:

“Usually in a situation where you can be champions for the first time in your life – for a lot of our supporters it would be the first time in their life, and for a lot of my players as well – it’s pure opportunity and you have to use it on the front foot, with all the things you have to always do in football.”

 

TV & Live Blog Info

Camera, Anfield, matchday (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool vs. Watford is not live on UK television, so the next best thing is to come and join us on our matchday live blog.

Chris Williams will be keeping you entertained from 7.15pm (GMT), with kickoff at Anfield at 8pm.

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