WATFORD VS LIVERPOOL
| Saturday, November 24th |
Premier League | Vicarage Road
3:00 PM GMT / 10:00 PM EST
Watford sit in seventh place in the Premier League, one spot above Manchester United. Manager Javier Gracia has overseen a rise in Watford’s fortunes since the club brought the Spaniard in last January.
The Hornets have had a solid start to the season, winning their opening four fixtures, including a 2-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur. It’s been a bit upsy-downsy since then but Watford remain a tight team that will be difficult to break down and tricky on the counter attack.
Troy Deeney is a constant danger up top. He is quick and will use his strength to fight his way into the box and into striking positions. The same goes for Andre Gray if he plays. Gerard Deulofeu is a more wily forward for Gracia but the Spanish attacker runs hot and cold, isn’t terribly fast, and should be easily dealt with by Liverpool’s defense. A wildcard option for Watford is new signing Adalberto Peñaranda who could see some minutes after finally receiving his work permit to play.
Gracia will be buoyed by the return of Etienne Capoue who returns from suspension. And midfielder Will Hughes is expected to be available after spending some time out with a hip injury.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Shaqiri, Wijnaldum, Milner; Salah, Firmino, Mané
Aside from the long-term absence of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jürgen Klopp is only missing Adam Lallana heading into the weekend. The England midfielder has had a rough go of it with injuries. Despite his talent and fit with Klopp’s system, at 30 and injury-prone, Lallana is perhaps on the far end of his effectiveness for Liverpool.
Klopp’s team remains unbeaten in the league. The Reds last fixture was the 2-0 win over Fulham at Anfield. But that victory followed an unfortunate draw at Arsenal where Liverpool gave up a late goal from Alexandre Lacazette. It was a great strike from the France international but Arsenal were allowed too much momentum at the time of the goal.
Both Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino have faired well against Watford. Salah has faced up with the Hornets twice since joining Liverpool, scoring five goals and assisting one. Firmino has played against Watford five times, scoring four and assisting three.
It’s anybody’s guess as to which central defender Klopp will choose to partner Virgil van Dijk. Joe Gomez has been very good in the position but the manager could easily give the opportunity to Dejan Lovren or Joël Matip.
I’m expecting a well-rested James Milner to be in the XI with Gini Wijnaldum and Xherdan Shaqiri filling out the midfield. But Fabinho has played well enough of late to get the nod in the middle of the pitch, too. And Jordan Henderson is back from a hamstring injury, fit and ready. Gone are the days of slim pickings.
What the Managers Had to Say
Jürgen Klopp: “They are really good. Good football, lively, organised in a 4-4-2 mostly with a good game-plan. They’re a proper package and for sure the best Watford team since I’ve been in.”
Javi Gracia: “It will be very, very demanding and if you make a mistake, they punish you. We’ll have our possibilities, but we want to enjoy playing the game and we try to get a good result.”
Referee: Jonathan Moss Assistants: Eddie Smart, Andy Halliday Fourth official: David Coote
Kickoff is set for 3:00 PM GMT/10:00 PM EST tomorrow, and television listings for the match can be found on LiveSoccerTV.
In the meantime, and as always, 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 the action as it happens.