Liverpool vs Watford Preview: Reds host Hornets at Anfield as both teams look to bounce back
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Liverpool vs Watford Preview: Reds host Hornets at Anfield as both teams look to bounce back

Liverpool host Watford on Saturday as both teams look to return to winning ways.

Joshua Kerr

Liverpool will host Watford at Anfield on Saturday looking to return to winning ways after their 2-1 defeat to bitter rivals Manchester United, whilst Watford come to Merseyside off the back of a 3-0 thumping to Arsenal at the Emirates.

The two sides were involved in a 3-3 thriller on the opening day of the season when Miguel Britos' stoppage-time goal salvaged a point for the Marco Silva's Hornets back in August.

Since that opening day fixture, Liverpool have improved their defensive lapses with the appointment of the World's most expensive defender Virgil van Dijk for £75 million from Southampton in January.

The reverse fixture also sees a new Manager for Watford with Javi Gracia now leading the side on Saturday with back-to-back away trips to top-six opposition proving a vital test of how far they have come under their new manager.

Closing the gap

With United, Tottenham and Chelsea all in FA Cup action this weekend, Liverpool have the perfect opportunity to consolidate their top-four spot and close the gap to the Red Devils in second.

After Saturday's defeat at Old Trafford Jurgen Klopp's side have dropped to fourth in the table. However, victory against Gracia's Hornets can move the Reds above Spurs in third and two points off United in the runners-up spot behind champions-elect Manchester City.

Klopp's latest defeat to Jose Mourinho meant the manager is still yet to taste victory against United in the league. It was also just the Reds second defeat in the Premier League since October, but they remain unbeaten at home in England's top flight this season, the only team other than the Citizens to still hold that record.

Getting away from the drop 

Watford's 3-0 defeat at the Emirates Stadium may on paper look like a comprehensive defeat, but Gracia's side more than held their own for an hour against the Gunners and it may have been a different result had Troy Deeney not missed a second-half penalty.

The Watford's captain ended up eating his words at the Emirates, having stated Arsene Wegner's side lack"cojones" in a BT Sport interview following their late capitulation at Vicarage Road in October, as his spot kick was saved by Petr Cech minutes after Arsenal had taken a two-goal lead.

The defeat was only Watford's second in six matches under new manager Gracia, but the Spaniard is yet to register an away win since taking over from Silva, losing twice and drawing once with all three of his wins so far coming at Vicarage Road.

The Hornets find themselves sitting comfortably in 10th, however, Watford are still vulnerable to the drop but a win at Anfield could see them 12 points clear of relegation with only seven games to play.

Team News 

Jordan Henderson could return to the starting lineup after Liverpool's club captain was left on the bench against United. Georginio Wijnaldum could challenge Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for a place in the midfield three after the Englishman was left frustrated at Old Trafford being substituted early.

Trent Alexander-Arnold and Dejan Lovren were left vulnerable by Jose Mourinho's tactical masterclass and Joe Gomez and Joel Matip could feel they are deserving of starts after defensive problems at Old Trafford.

Loris Karius has established himself as Liverpool's number one goalkeeper replacing Simon Mignolet, and that seems to be the case with Oscar Karnezis at Vicarage Road too with the Greek international continuing to keep Heurelho Gomes out of the starting eleven.

Injuries to Tom Cleverley and Gerard Deulofeu limit Gracia's midfield options so Kiko Femenia could start on the right wing again, unless Andre Gray, who hasn't started in the league since January, is recalled in an attack-minded move.

Recent form (all competitions)

Liverpool: DWWWL

Watford: WLWWL

Latest Result

Manchester United 2-1 Liverpool

Arsenal 3-0 Watford 


Anthony Taylor