After yet another International break passes, it is time to turn our attention back to Premier League football. Liverpool travels to Vicarage Road to take on Watford in matchweek 13. The Anfield Talk’s Logan (@kidddlogan) previews the matchup.
Who: Watford vs. Liverpool
When: Saturday, 24 November
Where: Vicarage Road, London
Time: 15:00 GMT, 10:00 EST
TV: NBC Sports Gold
It seems like it was forever ago that Liverpool last kicked a ball in the Premier League. Time moves by so slowly when you’re on a roll. This is a very, very good thing from Liverpool’s perspective. Even though it is apparent that Liverpool has not hit top form, they are sitting second in the league and playing some decent football. Watford is next in line to face Liverpool and it will be interesting to see if Liverpool’s struggles at Vicarage Road over the last two seasons continue.
If Liverpool wants to set a record for the best defensive start to a season in their history, Alisson will have to play a huge part – Watford is known to generate several glorious opportunities in front of goal and the Brazilian will have to come up with the saves to ensure that the record becomes a part of an already record-breaking season. Just like Alisson, the back four will have to be wary of Watford and the chances that they generate. They will need to close down any large gaps and will have to keep Watford’s midfield maestro, Roberto Pereyra, in check. The Watford attack will be trying to capitalise on any little opportunity, so remaining mistake-free at the back will be crucial to success at Vicarage Road.
Since all of the midfielders (with the exception of Adam Lallana) are available for the trip to London, Jurgen Klopp has a pretty difficult decision on who to field Saturday. Whoever Klopp decides to put in the midfield will have to be able to control the run of play against this Watford side. Javi Gracia’s side will want to have control of the run of play, so it will be crucial that the midfielders are able to hold their own and force Watford to play how Klopp wants them to.
The front three has been a little off to start the season, but as the temperatures are falling the front three are starting to heat up. Both Sadio Mane and Mo Salah have been producing quite efficiently as of late, but Roberto Firmino is still struggling a little bit. This visit to Watford would be the best start for Firmino to get going as a very crucial run of fixtures are ahead and he needs to start being a big impact to lessen the pressure on Mane and Salah. As for the wingers, they need to keep the momentum going that was there before the international break and they will be just fine.
With the sale of arguably their best player and their coach being picked off by the club from the other side of Stanley Park, Watford has been performing quite well given the circumstances. They are currently sitting seventh in the table and are looking to take down yet another top six side, having beaten Spurs here already this season.
Watford’s defence and ‘keeper have been a bit better than years past. The addition of former West Brom ‘keeper Ben Foster has helped solidify the defence and has made it quite difficult for other teams to get on the scoresheet when it matters most. Much of the same will be needed from Foster and the back four as they will have one of the best attacks in the league (and in Europe) coming at them with full force, trying to some momentum going before the crucial midweek trip to Paris.
The oddly shaped midfield that Gracia fields has been quite effective for the most part this season. If he puts out four central midfielders against Liverpool however, Watford will have a very tough time controlling the play along the touchlines and Liverpool’s fullbacks could end up having a field day. Roberto Pereyra will be key to Watford going forward and if he is not having the best of games then it will be a very long afternoon for the Hornets.
The production from the forwards this season at Watford has been very inconsistent. They have not been able to put away the chances that are presented and some of the results show that. It’s going to be another long, tough day for the forwards as Liverpool’s defence is one of the best in the league – it is hard to imagine they will have too many opportunities to strike.
Our players came through the international break mercifully unscathed – Adam Lallana is the only Reds player not available this weekend as he is dealing with a minor knock. For the home side, Tom Cleverley is almost set for his return after sustaining an injury last January, but he is not yet fully fit so is unlikely to make an appearance.
The last time that these two sides met was back in March and it was an absolute thrashing from Liverpool. Mo netted FOUR times and Firmino added a tally to his name.
I think that Liverpool will be able to easily win 3-0.