Rui Vieira/Associated Press
Liverpool will play their final match before the international break on Saturday, as they’ll host Watford in the 2017-18 Premier League.
It will be just one of four Premier League fixtures to take place during the weekend, as a number of teams will be involved in the FA Cup instead.
The Hornets were well beaten by Arsenal on the previous matchday but had won two in a row before that, and held the Reds to a draw in their first meeting this season. Here’s all you need to know about the upcoming match.
Date: Saturday, March 17
Time: 5:30 p.m. GMT/1:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Anfield, Liverpool
According to WhoScored.com, Nathaniel Clyne is Liverpool’s only absentee, as Jordan Henderson is expected to return to the starting XI.
The team has been in fine form of late―despite the defeat against Manchester United―and that has been reflected in the amount of players called up to the England national team, per James Pearce of the Liverpool Echo:
James Pearce @JamesPearceEcho
Liverpool quartet of Gomez, Henderson, Lallana and Oxlade-Chamberlain all named in England squad #LFC
Watford don’t have such luxuries, per WhoScored. A total of eight players are expected to miss out, including Nathaniel Chalobah, Tom Cleverley and Gerard Deulofeu.
Liverpool have good health and form on their side, with just one defeat in all competitions since the start of February: last week’s 2-1 loss against Manchester United.
The Reds played well in that contest but ran into a very good David De Gea, and solid tactics that negated some of their biggest strengths.
Despite the loss, things look rosy for manager Jurgen Klopp, who faces some tough choices on a weekly basis when it comes to picking his team. Fans don’t fare any better:
Sam McGuire @SamMcGuire90
I genuinely struggled to pick a midfield three for Saturday. Who we going with? https://t.co/IFEyhMtfnS
Watford will likely try to copy United’s tactics, but the Hornets lack the quality to match the Red Devils. Orestis Karnezis is a good goalkeeper, but no world-beater, and their top creative men have struggled for form for some time now.
Without the threat of Richarlison and Troy Deeney―who have both been inconsistent of late―Liverpool can focus on pressing high and peppering the Watford box with crosses. There’s no De Gea to clean up for the defensive mistakes that are likely to follow, and Arsenal took full advantage of the space they got.
Matt Dunham/Associated Press
Watford have put up a good fight against some top clubs this season and beat Chelsea recently, but that was with Deulofeu pulling the strings in the attacking third. With the Spaniard sidelined, Roberto Pereyra has been limited, and Richarlison has failed to pick up the slack.
There are no formalities in football, but Liverpool should take care of business at home in their final outing before the international break.
Prediction: Liverpool 4-1 Watford