Klopp identifies Deeney as  Watford dangerman 
Photo: Getty Images - John Powell

Klopp identifies Deeney as  Watford dangerman 

Englishman will look to prevent Reds breaking a defensive record on Saturday afternoon

David Comerford

Jurgen Klopp says coping with the unique threat posed by Troy Deeney will be key if Liverpool are to pass a significant test at Watford on Saturday. 

Liverpool have shipped just five goals in their first twelve games, and another clean sheet at Vicarage Road would secure their best defensive start to a season.

That would signify enormous progress for Klopp's side, who had been hampered a leaky backline for a number of years.

"We discussed it already a bit differently in the last years when we spoke about: ‘You score that many goals but you concede unfortunately pretty much in each game as well'," Klopp recalled.

"We improved that obviously, which is good and very important for our development and for possible success. But I cannot change anything because of that record. We didn’t do it. It was not our main focus. 

"We don’t go into the game and say we don’t want to concede - we want to win a football game. It makes life easier if you don’t concede, of course. That was good so far."

An impressive Watford team, however, represent a significant obstacle.

The Hornets sit seventh in the table with six wins, most notably their 2-1 victory against Spurs in early September, under their belt already.

"It will be a proper challenge," Klopp said. "It’s no coincidence that they are seventh in the league at the moment. We all know they had this one game against Bournemouth - and Bournemouth are flying, obviously - where they got a proper knock but in all the other games they were real challengers.

"Making an analysis of the game was nice, it was exciting. I knew it before. I didn’t have time to watch 90 minutes of all the games but earlier in the season I saw the game against Tottenham. 

"It was already good. Set-pieces are good, which they used that day. That’s a proper package and for sure the best Watford team since I came in. The combination with the manager is a really interesting project there."

Deeney danger

Klopp warned his defenders about the "really smart" Deeney, who has been directly involved in four goals this term.

Deeney has developed a habit of tormenting top teams and is expected to prove a handful for the Reds back four.

"[They have] a good game plan – playing football, preparing direction constantly, usually with Deeney, who was out for a while but I think he will be back. 

"We played two weeks ago against Fulham and (Aleksandar) Mitrovic did pretty well with a similar job to do actually. Troy is another step; he is really smart in that. He is hard against himself and hard against the opponent."

Lallana and Keita the only doubts

Klopp confirmed that skipper Jordan Henderson is fit and ready after a returning cameo from the substitutes' bench last time out.

Adam Lallana, meanwhile, looks set to miss out after picking up what Klopp described as a minor injury, while Naby Keita may not make the starting line-up after returning tired from the international break.

"That’s how it is if you have these long flights and three stops on the way back and stuff like that," Klopp explained. "It’s not too cool but yesterday he was in training. The day before he didn’t train but yesterday he was in training and looked completely fine."

Largely thanks to a muscular problem, Keita's Liverpool career has yet to really get going, but Klopp is not concerned, stressing that the Guinean is still adapting to his new surroundings.

"There’s nothing to judge. Naby has to – and can – of course improve. He has to learn the language and stuff like that. There are a lot of things he can do but it’s a long-term project.

"We have this wonderful player in our squad and we will use him: now, short-term, long-term, future, we will use him. He is here exactly in the right place."