Watford vs. Liverpool: Preview and Predictions

Watford vs. Liverpool: Preview

| Sunday, March 1st | Premier League | Vicarage Road | 6.30AM NZDT / 4:30AM AEST / 5.30PM BST |

Another game, another win, another record broken for Jurgen Klopp’s ‘mentality giants’. This time, they equalled Man City’s 2017-18 record of 18 consecutive wins; a win at Watford would see them break a milestone many thought wouldn’t be broken.

The game against West Ham was certainly not Liverpool at their free-flowing best, but once again, they found a way to get the job done under the Anfield lights. In doing so, Trent Alexander-Arnold notched his 12th Premier League assist, equalling his own record set last season. His creative influence over this Liverpool side seems to grow week on week and shows no sign of slowing with the born and bred Scouser only recently turning 21.

One concern for Jurgen Klopp will be his lack of dynamism and impetus in midfield, Jordan Henderson’s absence was tangible with both Fabinho and Naby Keïta slightly off the pace. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s second-half introduction was vital; his slick interchange allowing Liverpool to move the ball at a higher tempo.

It should also be noted that it’s very rare that any opposition side gifts you two goals in the Premier League; Lukasz Fabianski will have been wise to avoid social media for the past week! The Reds next test is a Watford side who are fighting for every point on offer, they will have to be better than they were against the Irons to win on the road.

Gini Wijnaldum & Sadio Mané celebrate the 3rd goal.

Liverpool will once again be without Henderson and I expect to see a much better outing from Fabinho who was languid for much of the game on Monday. We may also see Oxlade-Chamberlain start, especially given the need to break down a side who will likely sit back and look to capitalise on set-piece opportunities. If this happens I would expect to see the Ox running beyond the forward three and looking to generate space for them to run into.

The last week has shown a small chink in Liverpool’s well-maintained armour; set pieces. Atlético’s goal in Madrid was a corner that wasn’t dealt with, West Ham’s first was a similar story. It’s an issue that needs nipping in the bud but one which also plays somewhat to Liverpool’s strengths in their ability to pick opposition teams apart on the counter-attack.

The main problem of the game was first; second balls and set-pieces.

Jurgen Klopp on the West Ham victory.

On the other side, Watford have taken just 2 points from their last 5 Premier League games as well as a humbling to League One side Tranmere Rovers at Prenton Park. It’s a terrible time to be playing a record chasing Liverpool side for Nigel Pearson who knows he must revive some of the feel-good factor around the Hornets’ squad.

History is also against Watford with the last four league meetings between these sides all resulting in comfortable victories for the Reds. Jurgen Klopp will be keen to see a clean sheet this weekend after the recent defensive issues.

Predicted Line-up (4-3-3)

Alisson (GK), Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Salah, Firmino, Mané

Predicted Scoreline

I’m hoping to see a much better defensive performance; 2-0 to Liverpool.

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