The season begins again, but it’s under a cloud after Philippe Coutinho selfishly handed in a transfer request just a day before the start of the season. It is not ideal by any means, but Liverpool have to focus on picking up all three points on the club’s opening day of the 2017/18 Premier League season.
A trip to Watford FC kicks off Liverpool’s league campaign—the scene of Emre Can’s superb bicycle kick last season, one that he described as the best goal he’s ever scored. It won the game as Liverpool had to recover from losing 2-1 at home to Crystal Palace and was the start of picking up 10 points from a possible 12 in May that helped pip Arsenal to fourth spot.
For Liverpool (4-3-3):
Mignolet; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Lovren, Moreno/Robertson; Henderson, Can, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mané
In the absence of Nathaniel Clyne, Trent Alexander-Arnold is set to deputise at right back after impressing in what has been a successful pre-season campaign on the pitch. Coutinho wouldn’t be in the frame of mind to play even if his supposed back injury did indeed rule him out of the trip to London, Adam Lallana is out for a while, and Daniel Sturridge’s injury curse continues.
To keep the team starting as smoothly as possible, Klopp is certain to retain the 4-3-3 formation that has been used throughout last season and go with his three remaining senior midfielders without Lallana and Coutinho. This robust midfield should be appropriate for a trip to Watford, but creativity might be an issue—something for the management to perhaps consider in the days ahead.
Mauro Zárate, Christian Kabasele, and Brice Dja Djédjé are all definitely out injured for new Watford manager Marco Silva. Troy Deeney, Craig Cathcart, and Tommie Hoban are all doubtful. Will Hughes, Nathaniel Chalobah, Tom Cleverley, and Andre Gray are new signings that should start. The talented Roberto Pereyra should make the squad for his first competitive appearance since December, and the tomorrow’s game may provide a debut for Richarlison, Watford’s £11 million Brazilian signing from Fluminense.
Liverpool need to respond to the news of Coutinho’s desire to leave the club with a win as Hoffenheim await on Tuesday with a place in the Champions League group stages at stake. First of all, an opening day win as Emre Can ardently desires.
Kickoff is set for 12.30PM BST/7.30AM EST tomorrow on Sky Sports Premier League in the UK and NBC Sports Live in the US. Elsewhere, Optus Sport in Australia, Sportsnet World in Canada, DAZN in Germany, Star Sports Select HD1 in India, Supersport3 Africa in Kenya/Nigeria/South Africa, Astro Supersport 3 in Malaysia, and 102 (HD) mio Stadium in Singapore are carrying the match. You can find full listings at LivesoccerTV.
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.