Liverpool followed up an excellent couple of weeks wherein they won two games in the league, advanced to the Europa League knockout rounds, and booked a place in the league cup semi-finals, by falling back into the same rut they've seemed to be in for the last eighteen months or so. A difficult to swallow defeat to Newcastle, followed by a draw in the final Europa League game -- boring, but it got the job done. Then last weekend it took a last gasp, deflected strike from substitute Divock Origi for Liverpool to salvage even a draw against West Brom.
Liverpool need to show in Sunday's game away to Watford the kind of intelligent play that helped them put six away against Southampton, four against Manchester City. The main problem, as ever, is in the frailty of their attack. Daniel Sturridge is out again -- for who knows how long. In his absence, Christian Benteke has shown himself to be less effective at working within Klopp's system than most had hoped, and Roberto Firmino just looks worn out. Too often over the last two seasons, Liverpool's attack has become listless without the magnificence of Daniel Sturridge leading it.
Watford, on the other hand, are ahead of Liverpool in the table. They currently sit seventh and are having a fantastic first season back in the Premier League. They've won their last three games in a row, against Sunderland, Norwich City, and Aston Villa. Liverpool will present them their first top ten challenge since their loss to Manchester United in November.
This season, Flores's Watford have shown themselves to be a solid midtable team, employing a traditional 4-4-2 formation and making themselves difficult for teams to penetrate. They're currently joint leading the league in clean sheets, and their defense is very organized and well-drilled. Odion Ighalo, the 26-year-old Nigerian striker, is Watford's top scorer, with ten goals already to his name this season. He'll be leading the line on Sunday, along with Englishman Troy Deeney, with whom he's managed to cultivate a solid partnership.
The team has no significant injury concerns at the moment. Out are Hoban, Elkstrand, and Gilmartin, with Behrami and Prödl both doubtful and unlikely to start, even if they make the squad.
Clyne/ Škrtel/ Sakho/ Moreno
Henderson/ Lucas/ Can
There are a couple of big questions regarding what Klopp could do for Sunday. The main one is the question of Mamadou Sakho's availability for selection. The big Frenchman has been in full training for the last week, and it is assumed that he will slot back into the starting line up, probably a week before Klopp would have liked, thanks to Dejan Lovren's recent injury. However, that may not be the case, and it's possible that there will be a shake up in the back, perhaps with Can returning to the defense.
The other big question is who Klopp will choose to play up front. After a frustrating few games for Benteke, expect Firmino to come in alongside Coutinho. With any luck, they'll rediscover the rhythm they'd been working on before Coutinho's injury. The team will need creativity and ingenuity if they have any hope of penetrating the Hornets' defense.
James Milner is out indefinitely, due to a calf injury that he sustained in training. Daniel Sturridge is still not fit to play. He and Dejan Lovren both could be back as early as next week against Leicester City. Jordan Rossiter has been felled by yet another hamstring injury, with no return date. Jon Flanagan is listed as back in two weeks (!!!). Danny Ings and Joe Gomez remain out for the season.
Kickoff is set for 1:30PM BST/8:30AM EST Sunday. Television coverage will be on Sky Sports 1/HD in the UK and NBC Sports Network for the US. Elsewhere, Fox Sports 4 Australia in Australia, Sportsnets World in Canada, Star Sports 4 Asia in India, SuperSport 3 Africa in Kenya, Fox Sports Malaysia in Malaysia, and 102 (hd) mio Stadium in Singapore are carrying the match. You can find other listings at LiveSoccerTV. Online streaming is also available with NBC Sports Extra in the US and Sky GO Extra in the UK. For Online radio, fans worldwide can check out LFCTV GO and TalkSport Radio World.
We'll be keeping you updated with all the buildup to the game, including team news as it's released, our live matchday thread and post-match recaps from The Liverpool Offside staff. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on all the action as it happens.