Preview: Liverpool v Watford

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Liverpool continue to thrive under Jurgen Klopp this season but face a tough task of overcoming an in-form Watford side in their Premier League clash at Anfield on Sunday.

Premier League
6 November 2016
Matchday 11
Kick-off: 22:15 HKT
Venue: Anfield

Referee: M. Oliver
Assistants: S. Burt, A. Nunn
Fourth official: J. Moss

Head-to-head summary:

TEAM MATCHES WIN DRAW LOSS

Liverpool 20 15 1 4
Watford 20 4 1 15

Previous encounter:

Liverpool 2-0 Watford 08/05/16 (Premier League)

Liverpool goalscorers: J. Allen (35′), R. Firmino (76′)

Players to watch:

Roberto Firmino is just one of a number of players to have improved in leaps and bounds under Klopp.

While he was already a fan favourite among Reds fans last term, the Brazilian has found a new level in this campaign. He has added a regular glut of goals to his game, with an impressive tally of five from 11 matches in all competitions thus far, and will be a massive threat to Watford’s hopes this weekend.

The Hornets continue to improve under new boss Walter Mazzarri, who has a number of exciting players in his squad.

Jose Holebas was named the club’s player of the month for October for his heroics in defence, (and spectacular goal against Middlesbrough) while the likes of Troy Deeney and Roberto Pereira can terrorise any team, but the player to watch at Watford remains Etienne Capoue, who has thoroughly thrived with his responsibilities at the heart of the club’s midfield, and scoring a number of key goals.

Team form and manager quotes:

Liverpool come into this match in third place in the EPL standings, level on 23 points with leaders Manchester City and second-placed Arsenal, and on an incredible 11-match unbeaten run that only includes two draws. They saw off Crystal Palace 4-2 last time out after a very good 2-1 win over Tottenham.

Ahead of the weekend’s game Klopp said: “We need a very strong side on Sunday. Watford have changed maybe more than we changed – manager, system, players too. They have conceded zero in the last three games so that says a lot.”

As the Reds manager explained, the Hornets are also in a good moment in their season, and with just one loss in their last seven games, including a 1-0 win over Hull City last week, manager Mazzarri is hoping for a big performance from his team.

He said: “We want to go there and make our fans happy.”

But with a number of key injuries, the former Inter Milan boss knows it won’t be easy: “Unfortunately [Sebastian] Prodl has been added to the injury list.

“I don’t think that he will be able to be available for this weekend but we will see. We will also try to get [Sebastian] Okaka at the last minute but I don’t want to run the risk of him getting even worse or more injured.

“We will see at the last minute if he is ready but this is the situation. You saw on Saturday he [Prodl] had a muscle problem which is why he was taken off and Christian Kabasele went in. It’s an injury which is not very worrying but cannot be resolved in a matter of one week.”

Team news:

Good news for Liverpool is the return from a virus for James Milner, while Georginio Wijnaldum and Emre Can are also available for selection after suffering with illness.

But Danny Ings faces a long road to recovery after undergoing a knee operation earlier in the week.

For Watford, Isaac Success remains sidelined with a hamstring injury, while Sebastian Prodl is still struggling to overcome a muscular injury. Stefano Okaka faces at least another week out as he bids to recover from a hamstring strain.

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