Ahead of today’s clash with Watford at home in the Premier League, many Liverpool fans will be thinking the game will be a walk in the park.
But, even Jürgen Klopp hasn’t got too excited about the prospect of winning to potentially go top of the Premier League (depending on other results) – the German has instead warned against complacency.
Which side is Klopp likely to field on Sunday afternoon? Here’s a runthrough of what to expect..
Players to be dropped?
Alberto Moreno. Some may think that the Spaniard needs another opportunity in the starting eleven, having put in a solid shift at Selhurst Park last week, but with Milner having recovered from a virus that excluded him from the side last week, the Englishman is likely to be favoured at left-back. That said, I still firmly believe Moreno is slowly improving & being nurtured into the left-back that we thought he was, slowly but surely.
Emre Can. This is again, a really debatable & close-knit decision to make, as to who will partner Henderson & Lallana in the three-man midfield. I’m just going to go with Georginio Wijnaldum here, because I solely think he offers the midfield a good balance, he reads the game well, and he’s been so integral to the pressing game that’s yielded points for us this season. I wouldn’t be surprised though if Can was picked ahead of him, having played well recently.
What to look out for..
Watford’s watertight defence. The Hornets only conceded twice in the month of October, with the likes of Daryl Janmaat and Younes Kaboul playing a massive role in that. Liverpool have the players to break Watford down, such as Roberto Firmino, Coutinho & Mane, who were devestating in that 4-2 win at Palace last Saturday. We’ll need Firmino to be making those runs & being lively as he always is.
Complacency could be costly. It’s easy to be confident for a game like this when you’re heavy favourites for it, but you must never be too confident for games like this – as Klopp stated already. We need to go out all guns blazing, pressing them like we usually do on any day. Scoping for inroads into goal difference is required – only GD held us back from being higher up the Premier League table.
Watford’s set-up. Watford like to go for 3 at the back, with an anchoring midfield in Valron Behrami, who has proved very effective. Earlier on in the season, manager Walter Mazzarri was struggling to settle on a formation that suited Watford’s mix of players – they went for a 3-5-2 against Arsenal in August, which did backfire as the likes of Cazorla & Granit Xhaka broke the play up very well, with Sanchez being able to create space to run in behind the defenders. Since then, they’ve gone fro Behrami in a deeper midfield role, which means he can track back well and provide further support for Watford’s back 3.The Swiss also has an aptitude to read the game in terms of being physical – he wins tackles, his work rate is hih & he’s a tough, tough player. Watford’s more advanced midfielders such as Ethienne Capoue & Roberto Pereyra have chipped in with goals this season – they bag goals because of their intelligent forward play; they are able to make good movement on and off the ball just like Roberto Firmino, to create chances.
Finally, we’ve seen Watford’s gameplan in a lot of games – they don’t exactly play patient football, but they always put balls over the top for their strikers such as Deeney (who is chasing 100 goals for the Hornets) – their usual strikers such as Ighalo & Isaac Success emphasise their play on wide areas; coming in from left & right channels, creating space for Watford’s offensive men to get forward and fashion opportunities. Deeney is also great in the air, so this gameplay is tailored for him. This style has even yielded results against the likes of Manchester United at home, Middlesbrough & West Ham away earlier in the season.
Predicted Starting Line-Up
Team to stay unchanged from last week’s win at Selhurst, except Wijnaldum comes in for Can to offer midfield balance & versatility, with Milner also returning having missed last week’s fixture due to a virus.
I’m all for not being complacent in these games, but I’m really confident for this one. We’re arguably the most in form team in the league so far, scoring for fun and look unstoppable venturing forward. I think a clean sheet would be a bonus, and since we’re on home soil, I think we should be able to win this if we stick to our philosophy & we put our chances away.
Considering we won this fixture last season with the likes of Jordon Ibe, Benteke, Allen, Stewart, Flanagan, Lucas & Skrtel as well as Ojo, there is cause for confidence.
Prediction: LFC 2-0 Watford
Written by @SteLindellLFC