Top vs. bottom in the Premier League on Saturday lunchtime, as a relentless Liverpool side host struggling Watford at Anfield.
Liverpool vs. Watford
Saturday, December 14, 2019 – 12.30pm (GMT)
Referee: Andre Marriner
Jurgen Klopp‘s men cruised to victory at Bournemouth last weekend, making it a remarkable 46 points from a possible 48 this season.
They then produced a professional performance away to Salzburg in the Champions League, winning 2-0 in Austria to book their place in the last-16.
This Reds team is bordering on faultless at the minute, with endless victories being churned out and no team in Europe matching their level.
For that reason, it is no surprise to see many giving Watford no chance this weekend, as they make the daunting trip to Anfield.
Nigel Pearson has come in as manager after replacing Quique Sanchez Flores, with Saturday his first match in charge.
Watford are propping up the Premier League table after amassing just nine points – 37 fewer than the Reds – and relegation seems likely for the side who have been in the top flight since 2015.
Expectations will be extremely low against an all-conquering Liverpool outfit, but anything can happen in football.
The Reds must show their opponents respect and be as ruthless as possible, ensuring they don’t give their title rivals any kind of a boost.
If Liverpool click and Watford aren’t at the races, this has the potential to be a cricket score, but it may not pan out that way.
Three more points please, Reds – celebrate Klopp’s new contract in style!
The injury problems are starting to mount up a little for Klopp, even though they have a cleaner bill of health than others.
Dejan Lovren is out after suffering a hamstring injury against Salzburg, joining Joel Matip and Fabinho on the sidelines for an indefinite period.
Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson are expected to start at full-back, while Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk are Liverpool’s only two fit centre-backs.
The Reds’ midfield is excelling with Fabinho out injured and Klopp will again likely shuffle his pack in the middle of the park.
Jordan Henderson could be given a rest, with Gini Wijnaldum or Adam Lallana playing the No.6 role, while in-form Naby Keita is unlikely to start three games in a row.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has a strong chance of starting, as does James Milner, with neither beginning proceedings in midweek.
Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino could all play, but Xherdan Shaqiri or Divock Origi represent good alternatives.
Christian Kabasele and Roberto Pereyra are back in contention for Watford, but Craig Dawson, Daryl Janmaat, Sebastian Prodl, Jose Holebas, Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck are all out.
Last 5 at Home to Watford (All Competitions)
Won 5-0 – February 2019 (Mane x2, Origi, Van Dijk x2)
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)
Did You Know?
Watford have a shocking record at Anfield in recent times, with Liverpool often enjoying a comfortable 90 minutes against them.
In their last four trips to Merseyside, the Hornets have lost 5-0, 5-0, 6-1 and 2-0, which is an aggregate score of 18-1.
They haven’t tasted victory at Anfield since a shock 1-0 win back in August 1999, when Tommy Mooney scored the only goal of the game.
Bad records are there to be broken, though, so Liverpool must not rest on their laurels.
Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)
Won 2-0 vs. Salzburg
Won 3-0 vs. Bournemouth
Won 5-2 vs. Everton
Won 2-1 vs. Brighton
Drew 1-1 vs. Napoli
Watford – Last five results (all competitions)
Drew 0-0 vs. Crystal Palace
Lost 2-0 vs. Leicester
Lost 2-1 vs. Southampton
Lost 3-0 vs. Burnley
Won 2-0 vs. Watford
Speaking at Melwood on Friday, Klopp joked that their analysis of Watford “we can pretty much throw in the bin” after Pearson’s appointment as boss.
Klopp explained how his analysts had looked at footage from Pearson’s time in Belgium recently and previously with Leicester City.
TV & Liveblog Info
Liverpool vs. Watford is live on BT Sport 1 from 12pm (GMT), with kickoff at 12.30pm.
Joanna Durkan is in charge of This is Anfield’s live blog duty from 11.45am, providing regular updates throughout the afternoon.