Sunday, December 15, 2019

Prediction: Watford vs Liverpool

Verdict: Liverpool

Best Odds: 11/20

Bookmaker: bet365

Liverpool travel to Vicarage Road this weekend to face the sixth-best hosts in the Premier League this season. Watford will be a stern test for the title-chargers who need to get three points in order to keep their league challenge alive.

Watford

Sitting in seventh with 20 points after 12 Premier League rounds, Watford have thus far been one of the most pleasant surprises in the English top flight. Much of their success this campaign has come within the confines of their home stadium where Watford won four and lost two, without a single draw.

Javi Gracia has tightened the Watford core this season and in the likes of Abdoulaye Doucoure and Nathaniel Chalobah, the Hornets have a solid stronghold in the midfield, offering plenty of support for the flamboyant Roberto Pereyra who scored five goals in total this season – four of which came at Vicarage Road. Watford indeed are a tough nut to crack and a sturdy opponent who will provide a stern test to any team on their home ground. The Hornets managed to beat Tottenham but lost to Manchester United in their respective home matches earlier in September and Liverpool are only the third team from the top-six they are playing host to this season.

Team News

Tom Cleverley and Sebastian Prodl are both out of contention through calf and thigh injury, respectively.

Netherlands defender Daryl Janmat is another name on the injury list while the hosts will be sweating over a fitness of England midfielder Will Hughes.

Liverpool

The Reds signed off for the international break with a morale-boosting 2-0 win over Fulham and will be eager to maintain the momentum in the league. The Reds might have suffered a shocking Champions League defeat in Belgrade but their Premier League record currently stands at six matches without a defeat.

Two points behind Manchester City in the standings, Liverpool need to be piling up points and the forthcoming clash at Watford is regarded as a vital test for Jurgen Klopp’s men. Contrary to last season when Liverpool’s high-tempo football would often lack fail to bring results against the less prominent sides, Liverpool look more focused on getting the job done even if it means playing a bit uglier. Faced with a couple of selection and injury dilemmas, Jurgen Klopp could be set to introduce a tactical shift and reshape his midfield line in order to deal with Watford’s sturdy midfielder. That is why Xherdan Shaqiri – despite his flying form at the moment – could be replaced by returnee Jordan Henderson or James Milner at the centre of the park which would give Klopp more balance in that area of play. Shaqiri’s productivity and creativity have ignited Liverpool over the past couple of weeks but the Reds could sacrifice him for the greater good.

Team News

Oxlade-Chamberlain remains the long-term absentee due to his knee problem and the midfielder remains the only unavailable player for Liverpool’s weekend test.

Jordan Henderson and Naby Keita are both back in the first team and will be in contention for a place in the starting line-up.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Watford are sixth-best home side in the Premier League
  • Hornets have yet to beat Liverpool in their last 5 encounters
  • Last five Premier League matches at Vicarage Road resulted in Under 2.5 goals
  • Liverpool won only 1 of their last 5 away matches in all competitions
  • Reds have yet to suffer a Premier League defeat this season

Conclusion

Liverpool need to be on their toes at Vicarage Road as Watford are a force to be reckoned with this season – more so on their home ground. Jurgen Klopp’s men have been buoyed by the 2-0 win over Fulham last time out and will be keen to get another three points that would keep him in the running for the Premier League title with Manchester City.

Verdict: Liverpool

Best Odds: 11/20

Bookmaker: bet365

 

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