Monday, December 11, 2017

Prediction: Watford vs Liverpool

Verdict: Mohamed Salah to score anytime

Best Odds: 13/10

Bookmaker: Bet365

Liverpool kick off the new Premier League season at Vicarage Road against Watford, who will be looking to make a strong start under the new manager and demonstrate right from the start they are keen to avoid repeating last campaign’s problems.

Watford

It turned out to be an average season at best for Watford last season. The Hornets managed to avoid relegation from the Premier League with games to spare, but that resulted in a wasteful run of five straight defeats. The club management decided to part ways with Walter Mazzarri and went on to hire Marco Silva who took the reins after abandoning ship at Hull City. The talented tactician was wanted by a host of clubs who were impressed with what the Portuguese displayed during his brief spell at the relegated side. A charismatic manager and a tactically skilled one as well, Marco Silva brings excitement to Vicarage Road where fans will be able to see a couple of highly exciting new players this year. The Hornets adopted a more sensible approach in the transfer market this year by making Tom Cleverley’s loan move a permanent one, while also buying Alaves right-back Kiko Femenia and two of England’s exciting prospects – Will Hughes and Nathaniel Chalobah. The two latest signings, however, Burnley and Fluminense striker Andre Gray and Richarlison, respectively, are regarded not only as expensive investments but also as players who will make a big difference o nthe pitch for their team.

Team News

Marco Silva will have a number of selection issues with Valon Behrami, Ben Watson, Miguel Britos and Troy Deeney all out of contention through injury.

The game also comes too early for summer arrival Nathaniel Chalobah who is dealing with a groin strain, but Hornets should be able to count on former Juventus man Roberto Pereyra who is coming off from a muscular problem.

Liverpool

After a fourth-place finish last term, Jurgen Klopp’s task of leading Liverpool to the Champions League spots and ideally the title challenge will be made significantly more difficult. With all three major contenders – Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City – heading into their respective managers’ second seasons with heavily reinforced squads, the Reds will face a stern test to their ambitions. Jurgen Klopp has thus far failed to tighten up the squad the way he wanted as he missed out of RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita and Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk. The club did bring AS Roma winger Mohamed Salah, Chelsea forward Dominic Solanke and Hull City left-back Andrew Robertson not all of them are exactly the high-profile players Liverpool fans were hoping to see arrive. In addition to their inability to bolster the ranks with marquee signings, Liverpool could end up losing the most important player in their team, Philippe Coutinho. The Brazilian is under attack from Barcelona but Liverpool are thus far keeping them at bay, after rejecting the latest offer believed for the Brazilian to be worth over £90 million. The Catalans are hoping that Coutinho would push the transfer through, but despite his desire to team up with Messi at some point of his career, it is said the Brazilian magician does not want to disappoint his current club and will not force anything.

Team News

Coutinho looks set to miss the Premier League opener due to a back injury. Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne are the two more first-team stars ruled out for the Watford match.

Captain Jordan Henderson has struggled with illness but should be fit to feature against the Hornets.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Watford ended last Premier League season with 5 straight defeats
  • Liverpool won seven of 9 preseason matches
  • Watford lost 4 of last 5 home matches against Liverpool
  • Three of last 5 matches between two sides resulted in over 2.5 goals
  • Liverpool last lost an away match in February 2017

Conclusion

Liverpool travel to Vicarage Road without their key man Philippe Coutino, but Jurgen Klopp has plenty of talent on the bench to replace the influential Brazilian. The Reds will go full force from the off in their recognizable pressing style and we should keep a close eye on Mohamed Salah who has been an instant fit with the Anfield club.

Verdict: Mohamed Salah to score anytime

Best Odds: 13/10

Bookmaker: Bet365

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