Liverpool host Watford in the late Premier League kick off of the day, with their game at Anfield set to get underway at 5:30pm. Liverpool are fourth in the table, while Watford are 10th.
Liverpool come into this game a week on from their 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford against Man Utd. They had the chance to go into second with a win in that game, but the defeat leaves them in fourth with Chelsea just four points behind them. With Chelsea and Spurs both in FA Cup action this weekend, Liverpool can climb into third with a win and open a seven point gap between them and Chelsea. They could do with a win as the battle for a top four place hots up, but they definitely should have enough quality to ensure they finish in a Champions League spot.
Their form has been quite good in the second half of the season, with January’s defeat against Swansea and last weekend’s loss against United being their only real disappointments in the Premier League lately. They’ll want a win today, and a win against Crystal Palace in their next fixture as they try to build momentum going into their Champions League quarter final tie with Man City. They’re more than good enough to go on a good run between now and the end of the season, and they should finish strongly. Chelsea are the only top six side they still have to play.
Jurgen Klopp told Liverpool’s official website: “First of all, [the record of Klopp never losing back-to-back Premier League games is] good news but it doesn’t mean anything, it only means we have to do it again.
“We expect from ourselves that we win football games, especially if we lost a game like the last one.
“In an ideal world you play three hours later and change your own mood, so we keep that kind of revenge feeling or whatever during the week because we have to and we want to go back immediately to the other side, the winning side.
“We were not happy about the result [against Man Utd], we were not happy about the performance, but the performance was not as bad as the result.
“Only in a few minutes – seven or eight very decisive minutes – we deserved the result. We can play better than we played even in the good moments of that game and that’s what we have to try.
“[There are] a lot of things you can learn from this game, a lot of things you have to learn from this game.
“It’s already a few days ago but without striking back in an overly aggressive way, because we never did that, we use it as motivation for sure.
“In professional sports you need to be a little bit angry to bring your best on the pitch.
“So, we respect the rules but we are [angry], and after a game like this it’s a little bit more. Hopefully we can bring that in the game as well.”
Jordan Henderson should be available for the Reds today, but Nathaniel Clyne and Ben Woodburn remain sidelined.
Watford have been impressive under Javi Gracia since the manager replaced Marco Silva. They were beaten 3-0 by Arsenal last week, but they were better in that game than the result suggests. They have beaten Chelsea, Everton and West Brom lately, with the loss to Arsenal and another against West Ham their only defeats in their last six. They looked like they would really challenge the top half of the table at one stage of the season, but results dropped and they slipped away.
They’re now seven points behind Burnley, who are seventh, so that gap will likely be a bit too much for them to catch the Clarets and finish in a likely Europa League qualification spot. They’ll be looking for a strong finish to the season and give themselves something to build on for next season. They’re nine points clear of the bottom three, so relegation won’t be a worry for them.
Javi Gracia told Watford’s official website: “I know Anfield is very difficult for us, but we are looking forward to the match.”
“I know if you see they are in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, they are top four of the Premier League and it is not easy as no-one won in Anfield [in the league] this season. If we give them the facilities we gave against Arsenal it will be impossible to get points there.
“I know if we play an open game against Liverpool we have a lot of chances to lose the game. We need to have a balance to be able to defend, but we need to attack as well. If you play this match only thinking about defending you are going to lose for sure.
“It’s very important to minimise the mistakes but I think the best mentality is not to start the game thinking about minimising. We need to be very concentrated, focused on the game, and we need to try to win and look for chances to win the match and to score.”
Tom Cleverley, Gerard Deulofeu, Nathaniel Chalobah, Younes Kaboul and Isaac Success are all out, but Craig Cathcart could return. Heurelho Gomes could also be involved after missing last weekend’s game against Arsenal.
I think Liverpool will have far too much quality for Watford today, and should come out of this game with a comfortable win. But Watford have more than enough to trouble Liverpool, and if they show up today and defend well they could get something from the game. Liverpool have so much attacking power though, and it’ll be almost impossible for the Hornets to keep them out. These sides played on the opening weekend of the season, where they played out an entertaining 3-3 draw.
The team news will be out at 4:30pm, and you’ll get that up here as well. I won’t be able to watch the game unfortunately, but I hope it’s a good one. Enjoy the game.