Watford’s last Premier League encounter against Liverpool was as miserable for the Hornets as it was exhilarating for their opponents. The Reds struck Walter Mazzarri’s side for six at Anfield last November, topping the table for the first time under manager Jürgen Klopp, and establishing Liverpool as one of the league’s most prolific sides.
That was then, this is now.
Liverpool travel to Vicarage Road tomorrow knowing that they hold their top four fate in their own hands. Maximize points over the remaining four matches, and a Champions League spot is almost assured. Stumble, and a season that began promisingly may end in disappointment yet again.
Watford, for their part, are reasonably secure in the middle of the table, but manager Mazzarri - who has masterminded some impressive wins against some of the “big” clubs this season - wants his squad to be fired up for the Monday night contest against Liverpool, and the memory of that 6-1 defeat at Anfield is part of the reason.
“Liverpool will be angry after losing at home but I hope my players will be more angry as we lost at Hull and conceded six goals at Anfield,” said Mazzarri. “There was another one, the one against Tottenham but we were in an emergency then – we had many players injured. But the Liverpool and Tottenham games were our two worst games. I did not sleep after these defeats.”
“I want them to fight for every ball and to concentrate. I want my players go on the pitch thinking they are in the Champions League final and then we will see afterwards how we have done.”
Watford have had an up-and-down season (sound familiar, Liverpool supporters?) and are coming off a somewhat deflating defeat against Hull. On their day, they can be the type of side that causes Liverpool no shortage of distress. It will be interesting to see if they do come out looking for blood tomorrow. It may play into Liverpool’s hands if the home side are overly aggressive against Klopp’s squad. Or they may successfully ruffle Liverpool’s feathers and force the Reds into more errors. Stay tuned.