Players of Watford FC warm up prior to the Premier League match at Vicarage Road
Liverpool travel to Watford to open this weekend’s round of Premier League fixtures.
The Reds can move to the top of the table with a win, having entered the international break off the back of a thrilling 2-2 draw with champions Man City. But Jurgen Klopp’s side will meet the Hornets eager to impress their new manager, Claudio Ranieri, who replaced Xisco Munoz last week.
A win for the hosts will take them seven points clear of the relegation zone, while they will also hope to take confidence from the last time they hosted the Merseysiders in the league, which ended a 44-game unbeaten run thanks to a double from Ismaila Sarr and one from Troy Deeney.
Klopp has been discussing the Saudi Arabia-backed takeover of Newcastle and how it will impact the Reds and the rest of the league, stating the Magpies could emerge as a “superpower”: “I actually was waiting for some official statements about it. Like from Richard Masters or somebody else. We all know there are obviously some concerns over human rights issues. That’s clear. We all think the same there.
“Newcastle fans will love it but for the rest of us it just means there is a new superpower in Newcastle. We cannot avoid that. Money cannot buy everything but over time they will have enough money to make a few wrong decisions, then make the right decisions, and then they will be where they want to be in the long term. In five, six, seven years’ time, if the owners are patient enough, Newcastle is a new superpower and they will have enough money to buy the whole league.”
Follow live updates from Vicarage Road, including team news, build-up, goal and score updates and post-game analysis:
Here come the teams
Jordan Henderson leads out Liverpool at Vicarage Road with Moussa Sissoko leading the Hornets. Watford may get the much talked about boost from signing a new manager but they’ve got a difficult task ahead of them today.
Rose on Liverpool
Watford’s Danny Rose expects a tough game against Liverpool but says his team will give it a good go under new boss Claudio Ranieri. He said:
We are playing against a team that are going to be fighting for the league so it’s going to be a very difficult game,
“I think people should expect a very attacking, exciting game because both teams have very exciting offensive players.
“I think the game will be a difficult one for both teams. We’ve had nearly two weeks of working with a new manager, so hopefully we will be able to show the new ideas that we have been working on in the past couple of weeks.”
The warm ups are underway
The players are out on the pitch warming up. There’s 15 minutes to go until kick off, can Watford shock Liverpool again or will the Reds move back to the top of the table?
Mane closing in on 100 goals
Sadio Mane needs just one goal to become the third African player to reach 100 in the Premier League, emulating Didier Drogba and team-mate Mo Salah.
Mane would also become just the third player to reach 100 Premier League goals without any of them coming from the penalty spot, after Les Ferdinand and Emile Heskey.
Liverpool remain the only unbeaten side left in the Premier League this season with four wins and three draws.
Their current run of 17 league games unbeaten spanning two seasons is the longest of any team in England’s top four divisions (12 wins, five draws).
Watford’s star man
Ismaila Sarr has scored four of Watford’s seven Premier League goals this season – including the last three.
The Ranieri touch
Claudio Ranieri is only the second non-British manager to take charge of four different Premier League clubs, emulating Rafael Benitez.
Ranieri has won four of his previous five home league games against Liverpool.
Watford are currently on a run of 17 games without a clean sheet in the Premier League and they have failed to score a goal in any of their four league defeats this season.
Salah’s form a worry for Watford
Mo Salah makes his 200th start in all competitions for Liverpool and comes into the game in blistering form. He has scored in each of his last five league matches and his last seven games across all competitions for the Reds.
Never before has he scored in six or eight in a row respectively which would be a new record for the Egyptian.
Salah is the only Liverpool player ever to have scored a hat-trick against Watford, hitting four goals during a 5-0 victory at Anfield in March 2018.
Head-to-head – Watford vs Liverpool
This is the first Premier League meeting between Watford and Liverpool since February 2020 when Watford ended Liverpool’s club record 44-game unbeaten run with a 3-0 victory.
The Reds could lose consecutive league games against the Hornets for the first time if they suffer defeat today.
That said Watford’s victory last time the teams met was their first in nine matches against Liverpool. A run that dates back to December 2015 when they also beat the Reds 3-0.
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