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    Liverpool vs Watford Match Preview

    Liverpool have the opportunity to steal a march on their top-four rivals when they entertain Watford as one of only four Premier League matches to be played this weekend.

    Saturday's clash sees Jurgen Klopp and Watford boss Javi Gracia go head-to-head for the first time, seven months after the Spaniard's predecessor Marco Silva took charge of The Hornets in a 3-3 draw against Liverpool on the opening day of the season.

    A victory would take the home side as high as second in the table, while three points for Watford would elevate the club to ninth and all-but ensure their Premier League survival for another season.


    Liverpool suffered only their fourth Premier League loss of the campaign against Manchester United a week ago, which allowed their North-West rivals to open-up a five point gap in the race for the runners-up spot behind Manchester City.

    The defeat also enabled Tottenham to climb above The Reds into third-place but a victory over Watford this weekend would see Jurgen Klopp's side restore the two-point deficit between themselves and United upon their return to third.

    Although Liverpool dominated the game from a territorial perfective with 68 per cent of the possession, they were outdone by two route-one goals in which Romelu Lukaku managed to outmuscle Dejan Lovren in the build-up.

    Despite almost falling 3-0 behind just before the break, The Reds put up a battling performance in the second-half and could have equalised if referee Craig Pawson had awarded a penalty for a foul on Sadio Mane. 

    It was one of three defeats this season that Liverpool have suffered against current top-three sides, with Swansea the only other club to beat the club in the league in addition to Leicester and West Brom in the domestic cup competitions.

    Liverpool's much-improved record this season against the Premier League's lesser lights should hold them in good stead this weekend, especially if Watford defend as poorly as they did at Anfield 16 months ago in a 6-1 defeat.

    Klopp's team will be looking to add to the 106 goals they have scored in all competitions this campaign, while The Reds had also kept five clean sheets in their previous seven matches prior to last weekend's game at Old Trafford.


    Watford started the season in sparkling form by taking 15 points from their opening eight matches, while a win over Arsenal helped Marco Silva's side climb as high as fourth in the table by mid-October.

    After three consecutive defeats, the club consolidated once again with back-to-back victories over West Ham and Newcastle to move only three points off a top-four spot ahead of a difficult run of fixtures.

    The months of December and January only yielded one Premier League victory and Silva was eventually dismissed following a 2-0 defeat against Leicester, with the club having taken five points from a possible 33.

    Spaniard Javi Gracia, who had previously managed Rubin Kazan in Russia, took charge of the 10th-place Hornets at the end of January with the task of increasing the gap between themselves and 18th place Southampton, which stood at five points.

    A 0-0 draw at Stoke gave The Hornets a first clean sheet for 12 matches, while the club's thumping 4-1 win over Chelsea was arguably their best performance since their return to the Premier League back in 2015.

    Further wins against Everton and West Brom, both by a 1-0 scoreline, have put Gracia's side on the brink of Premier League survival but the Spaniard will be eager to end the season strongly in order to extend his stay at Vicarage Road.

    Troy Deeney is Watford's top-scorer this season with eight goals in all competitions, while Abdoulaye Doucoure has netted seven times in the Premier League and Richarlison has scored on five occasions.

    Liverpool Team News
    Liverpool have no new fitness worries following last weekend's defeat to Manchester United, although Jurgen Klopp is likely to make one or two changes for this Saturday's match against Watford at Anfield.
    Jordan Henderson, who was only on the bench against United, could return to the starting line-up, while Georginio Wijnaldum is also in contention for The Reds having appeared for the final 10 minutes last weekend.
    It remains to be seen whether Trent Alexander-Arnold and Dejan Lovren will keep their places following their defensive mistakes in last Saturday's defeat, with Joe Gomez and Joel Matip their most likely replacements.
    Nathaniel Clyne is still short of full fitness having been kept out for the entire season with a back injury, while youngster Ben Woodburn will not feature as he continues to recover from illness.
    Watford Team News

    Watford currently have the longest injury list in the Premier League, with nine players sideline ahead of this weekend's clash although Craig Cathcart could return having recovered from a hip problem.

    Heurelho Gomes missed training prior to the defeat against Arsenal because of personal issues but the 37-year-old could feature in the squad, although Greek international Orestis Karnezis is expected to keep his place in the team.

    Gerard Deulofeu has missed the past three weeks due to a fractured foot and is still not ready to return, while injuries have kept Tom Cleverley, Molla Wague, Christian Kabasele (all hamstring) and Jerome Sinclair (muscle) out of action since January.

    Younes Kaboul (fractured metatarsal), Nathaniel Chalobah and Tommie Hoban (both knee) remain on the sidelines, with Kaboul and Chalobah not featuring since September and Hoban still yet to play for the club.


    Watford have only recorded one victory at Anfield from 13 previous meetings, with a solitary Tommy Mooney goal giving The Hornets their first win at the ground at the ninth attempt back in August 1999.
    The clubs had only met on four occasions before Watford joined the top flight for the first time in 1982, the most famous of which came in 1970 when The Hornets knocked Liverpool out of the FA Cup in the quarter-finals.
    The sides met on 12 occasions in the old First Division between 1982 and 1988, with Liverpool winning nine and drawing one of those encounters, while The Reds have won six and drawn one of the nine matches played in the Premier League.
    Liverpool and Watford have met on a total of 29 occasions in all competitions, with Klopp's side leading the way on 20 victories compared to their opponents' five although four of the matches have ended in draws.
    Score Prediction
    Liverpool 3-0 Watford
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    Item Reviewed: Liverpool vs Watford Match Preview Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Richard Tufft
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