Liverpool vs Watford: Match Preview | Premier League 2021/22

Talib Haider
By Talib Haider
9 Min Read

Jurgen Klopp martial his men as The Reds host Watford in the clash between the two teams in the Premier League, at Anfield, on Saturday.   

Football returns after nearly 2 weeks of absence, as Liverpool and Watford lock horns in the Premier League for the second time this season. The last time the two sides faced each other, Liverpool were ruthless in the 5-0 victory, away from home at the Vicarage Road. 

Going into the match on Saturday, Klopp and co. will be favoured to repeat the heroics again at the home ground, as they did away from home.

Meanwhile, Roy Hodgson would be wary of the fact that it’s one of the most difficult challenges to face Liverpool. Given the form the Reds are in, let alone facing them at Anfield, has not made the task any easier.

When & Where?

Venue: Anfield Stadium.
Date: Saturday, 2nd April 2022.
Time: 11.30 AM GMT.

The last time they faced each other

While Roy Hodgson was not in-charge of the Watford side the last time these two sides faced each other in the Premier League, back in October. I do not think it would have made any difference, as a rampant Liverpool side just swept aside Ranieri led Watford at Vicarage Road. 

Jurgen Klopp’s men travelled all the way to Watford, only to beat them 5 goals to nil, in a horror show for the home side in front of thousands of hopeful fans. The performances of both of the teams were reflective of their form going into the game. Watford looked in shambles from the start. On contrary to a dominating performance from Liverpool. 

It is never easy to be an away side, and dominate the whole proceedings. But, Klopp’s men never took their foot off the gas until the final whistle was blown. They dominated possession, and attempted more shots on the opponent’s goal.

While the Reds will be expecting a similar kind of result at home ground this time, the travelling Watford fans will be eyeing for a spirited performance from their side given a change of manager this time around- if it is anything to go by.

How can Watford hurt Klopp and his tactics

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Liverpool go into the matchday, on Saturday, with 15 wins out of 16 on the trot, across all competitions- a loss coming at the hands of Inter in the Champions League. 

It is not a fluke when you’re in such an explosive form. But even during this run, they have had some moments that they might want to forget. The recent spectacle was their match-up against Nottingham Forest, in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, before heading into the International Break. There were a few chances for the Garibaldis to take a lead and stun the Reds. But, they did not pounce upon them, and maybe this is a chance for Roy Hodgson and his men to do the same and this time make the most out of the half chances that come their way.

No doubt the in-experienced Roy will look to work on these low moments to hit the in-form Reds. The English Gaffer will surely look to exploit the defensive highline of his counterpart German’s Liverpool. Recently, they have been keeping a very highline of defence, often exploiting their custodian Alisson – who has been superb between the sticks this season. It was also visible in the last game, where Forest looked as if they’d score on more than a couple of occasions, if not for Alisson.

Watford have the pace on the counter that can hurt big teams. If not that, then they have their own version of a magician in Cucho Hernandez. The Colombian has been in sublime form for the Hornets recently. And no doubt, he will be urged by his manager to continue in the same fashion against their upcoming, in-form opponents. 

Overall, this could be huge for Watford in their bid to keep up in the Premier League next season. If they are to expect anything from the game they need to be on their toes and cannot even risk a slip-up. From being organised at the back to being ready to hit on the break-up front, the balance should be there in order to beat this Liverpool side – who will look to win the game and put the pressure on Manchester City by going two points clears at the top having played a game more.

Mo Salah will be a threat in himself, let alone the whole Liverpool side

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It shouldn’t come as a surprise if it got reported that Roy Hodgson worked more on stopping Salah than he did on Liverpool, coming into the game on Saturday. And why not so?! I mean the Egyptian has been in such tremendous form this season that it is hard not to include him in your team talks, as a manager. 

While Mo Salah will be returning from another heartbreak with his national side in the span of just 2 months, both against Mane’s Senegal side- First the AFCON final and now the World Cup qualifiers. I reckon it will be much harder to stop the Egyptian King this time around, as he will be looking to seek redemption at least through the club and individual success.

While this season has been a spectacle to Salah’s brilliance. It has been accompanied by Liverpool’s great form as well. From setting up the Egyptian to scoring the goals after getting at the end of his passes. Teammates have been greatly supportive in Salah’s rise. He already is leading the top scorers’ chart, with 20 goals throughout the league campaign so far. Whereas, he has also assisted another 10 goals for his teammates in the Premier League this season. These stats add up to a total of 30 goal contributions in just 27 league games. Not to ignore the fact the Egyptian left almost 3-4 weeks of club football action, due to the AFCONs.

Jurgen Klopp will be more relaxed than the two managers, going into the matchday on Saturday. Salah scoring a goal, looks more or less inevitable as the kick-off nears. As for Roy Hodgson’s men, they have a mammoth task of stopping the Egyptian while looking to scratch a result out of the game.

Team News

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The Reds got a mid-week boost earlier on when it was reported that Trent is nearing a comeback from a hamstring injury. However, it seems more realistic to expect his return in the midweek Champions League clash against Benfica in the 1st Leg of the quarter-finals.

Meanwhile, Milner and Robertson return as well after the recent COVID-19 infections. With Salah and Mane both returning after serving their national sides in the World Cup qualifiers, Klopp could consider rotations bearing in mind unforgiving run of fixtures for the Reds in April.

As for the Roy Hodgson in the away camp Ngakia could well be in contention to play against Liverpool alongside Nkoulou. Meanwhile, the travelling fans could see a glimpse or two from Sarr who played in the Sengals’ victory against Egypt in the Qualifiers.

Predicted Lineups

Liverpool: Alisson; Gomez, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Thiago; Salah, Firmino, Jota.

Watford: Foster; Femenia, Kabasele, Samir, Kamara; Louza, Sissoko, Kucka; Hernandez, Pedro, Dennis.

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