Jurgen Klopp is unsurprised by Watford’s position in the Premier League, but insists there will be no admiration from Liverpool when they meet on Sunday.
Two wins in their last five Premier League outings has seen Liverpool tumble to ninth in the table, while they required a 96th-minute equaliser from Divock Origi to salvage a point against West Brom last weekend.
Conversely, Quique Sanchez Flores’ side have surged up to seventh position with three straight victories, leading to suggestions of a potential challenge for European football.
Klopp knows his side face a difficult task against high-flying opposition who have kept five clean sheets on their own turf this term.
The German is among many to have been impressed by Watford’s performances this season and said: “[Their position is] not a big surprise. They have good players and a good plan.
“It’s possible to more successful than people think. Watford are playing very well and have good strikers, quick in their minds.
“But we won’t go there to clap our hands for them.”
Liverpool have won eight and lost just one of their last nine meetings with Watford in all competitions, including triumphs in each of their last four trips to Vicarage Road.
Another victory for Watford this weekend would see them record successive home wins for the first time in the Premier League.
Key to their impressive form has been attacking duo Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo, responsible for 15 of their 18 top-flight goals this season.
Despite Liverpool’s recent results, Flores is wary of the energy of Klopp’s Liverpool, saying: “He’s [Klopp] very ambitious, he’s very energetic. But I focus on Liverpool as a team.
“I’m not thinking too much about the coach – I’m thinking about the players
“I’m happy because these kind of matches against historic teams are always a little bit different.
“We have to think about the difficulties to play against these type of players because they have energy, they make good pressure, they play well, they play fast.”
Mamadou Sakho could be in line for a return following a knee injury which was expected to rule him out until next year, but Dejan Lovren (knee) will be unavailable.
Daniel Sturridge (hamstring) is unlikely to recover in time for the fixture, while James Milner has been ruled out with a calf problem.
Flores has no new injury concerns, and Valon Behrami (knee) and Sebsatian Prodl (calf) could be in line to return.
Key Opta stats:
– Watford have only conceded in three of their Premier League home games this season, but they have lost on each of these occasions.
– If Premier League games ended at half-time this season, Watford would be top of the league with 27 points.
– Liverpool have scored just two goals in the three Premier League games that Philippe Coutinho has missed this season (0.7 per game), compared to an average of 1.4 goals per game with him in the side.
– Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo have created 29 goalscoring chances for one another in the Premier League this season; more than any other combination.
– Watford are the 11th newly-promoted side to have won 25 points or more in their opening 16 games of a Premier League season – none of the previous 10 have been relegated.