Liverpool have had their stumbles in recent weeks, dropped points in games they played well enough to win and in games they maybe didn’t play as well as they could have. Now, they need a response. They need to beat Watford.
“This game is absolutely massive,” captain Jordan Henderson noted in the pre-game programme. “Watford are a fantastic team. They’ll also come here full of confidence after an outstanding win away at Cardiff at the weekend.
“It means we’ll have to be ready for a proper battle. To be honest, as a team we love those sort of contests. As confident as Watford will be in their current situation, we are just as much on the front foot ourselves.”
Having drawn four of five in all competitions might not feel like it’s on the front foot to many fans, but Henderson believes the club’s defensive record during that spell is worth of note, as Liverpool have only conceded twice.
They have also, in all those games bar the one against Manchester United on the weekend, created enough chances that by the numbers at least they would have been favourites to win—sometimes narrow, but still favourites.
As far as slumps go, then, it’s not been that bad. And Liverpool are still, it must be pointed out, sitting top of the table and with a chance to make sure they’re still in that position as February ends and March kicks off.
“We come into this having recorded three clean sheets in a row,” Henderson added. “If you look back to the earlier part of the season, it was upon these foundations that we built our season and [it] gives everyone confidence.
“I know there will be focus on whether we are the same attacking and creative threat, but again, these questions were asked before and we’ve always found the answer. That’s the thing that gives us, as a team, the belief we need.
“We’re a team that time and time again finds an answer when the question is asked.”