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    Watford vs Liverpool Match Preview

    Liverpool have the opportunity to capitalise on a poor weekend for their Champions League rivals when they face Watford at Vicarage Road on Monday night.

    Fourth-place Manchester City were held to a 2-2 draw at Middlesbrough on Sunday, while Manchester United were unable to beat Swansea at Old Trafford and Arsenal lost to Spurs at White Hart Lane.

    Having already reached the 40-point mark, opponents Watford are all but assured of spending a third consecutive season in the Premier League but a win on Monday would make it a mathematical certainty.


    Watford have spent most of the season in a comfortable mid-table position under Italian manager Walter Mazzarri despite the club's high turnover of personnel since the end of the last campaign.

    Thirteen players from 12 different countries joined the club in the summer, while a further three players were signed in January to increase the number of nationalities represented in the current Watford squad to 20.

    A staggering 35 players have also departed Vicarage Road during the past two transfer windows, with 13 of those players loaned out to other teams, 12 leaving on free transfers and 10 leaving for a transfer fee.

    Despite the large number of comings and goings, Mazzarri has built upon the success of last season when his predecessor Quique Sanchez Flores guided the club to its highest top-flight position in nearly 30 years.

    As well as beating superpowers such as Manchester United, Everton and Arsenal, The Hornets have never lost more than two successive games, while the club were level on points with sixth-place Manchester United as recently as December.

    Goals have been spread out among 16 Watford players, with Troy Deeney leading the way on 10 and only Etienne Capoue (six) finding the net more times than Christian Kabasele and Stefano Okaka (both on three goals).

    If Watford manage to repeat their 3-0 win over Liverpool at Vicarage from last season, they will climb from their current position of 13th up to ninth-place in the table with four games of the season still remaining.


    Liverpool's 6-1 thrashing of Watford in November, which was the club's seventh win from its previous eight league matches, enabled Jurgen Klopp's side to top the Premier League standings ahead of second-place Chelsea by a single point.

    Sixth months later, it has been Chelsea's ability to perform against the lesser lights that has enabled The Blues to open-up a 15-point gap over Liverpool and duly only require three more wins to guarantee the Premier League title.

    While The Reds have dropped points 26 points against Sunderland, Bournemouth, West Ham, Southampton, Leicester, Hull, Swansea, Crystal Palace and Burnley this season, Chelsea have only dropped seven against the same opposition.

    Monday's trip to Watford provides the kind of challenge that Liverpool have struggled with this season, although back-to-back away wins at Stoke and West Brom have given Jurgen Klopp's side confidence ahead of a must-win fixture.

    After both Manchester clubs dropped points on Sunday, it is Liverpool's chance to open up a three-point gap over City with United remaining a point further back in fifth position ahead of tricky trips to the Emirates Stadium and White Hart Lane.

    Adam Lallana could be involved at some stage during the match after spending five weeks out with a thigh problem, although the club remain without the services of Jordan Henderson and Sadio Mane through injury.

    Liverpool have an outstanding record against Monday night's opposition, with last season's 3-0 defeat at Vicarage Road only the fifth time the club have lost against The Hornets from 27 matches going as far back as 1967.

    Watford Team News

    Watford could be without up to six first-team players for Monday night's visit of Liverpool including Craig Cathcart who is a doubt due to a knee injury.

    Jose Holebas could also miss out due to a knock, while Ben Watson will not recover in time from the groin strain that has kept him out of action for the past three months.

    Midfield duo Roberto Pereyra and Mauro Zarate (both knee) have also been ruled out as well as defender Younes Kaboul, who has failed to recover from a hamstring injury.

    Liverpool Team News

    Adam Lallana, who has returned to training, could make his return to the Liverpool side following five weeks out with a thigh problem although it is likely to come from the substitutes bench.

    Jordan Henderson could miss the rest the rest of the season with a foot injury, while Sadio Mane underwent knee surgery last month that is likely keep him out of action until the start of pre-season.

    Youngster Ovie Ejaria is currently sidelined with an ankle problem as well as Danny Ings and Adam Bogdan, have have both been ruled out for the remainder of the campaign with long-term knee injuries.


    Watford and Liverpool have only met on 27 previous occasions, with The Reds dominating the head-to-head with 19 victories and three draws and only five defeats, which included a 6-1 win at Anfield last November.

    Having only beaten Liverpool once at Anfield in 13 meetings, the first of which took place in 1967, The Hornets have fared slightly better at Vicarage Road with four wins and two draws from 14 previous encounters.

    The first league meeting between the sides only took place in the 1982-83 season, when a team inspired by Luther Blissett and future Reds midfielder John Barnes finished second to Liverpool by four points.

    In December 2015, Watford recorded their first win at home against Liverpool for 30 years with Nathan Ake and Odion Ighalo (twice) on target to inflict Jurgen Klopp's side with their joint-heaviest defeat of the campaign.

    Score Prediction

    Watford 1-2 Liverpool
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    Item Reviewed: Watford vs Liverpool Match Preview Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Richard Tufft
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