PL Preview: Liverpool v. Watford

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  • Liverpool has outscored Watford 25-4 in 7 league games
  • Liverpool owns only 100% home record of any team in top 4 English leagues
  • Watford has 2 clean sheets in 18 road PL games of 2019

The Liverpool train continues to barrel down the tracks, and nobody has yet to stop it. With the Reds look to keep their 33-game unbeaten streak alive as they host Watford at Anfield on Saturday at 7:30 a.m. ET, live on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com.

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Liverpool will take the field fresh off the announcement of a new contract for manager Jurgen Klopp who signed on through 2024 along with his assistants Peter Kraweitz and Pepijn Lijnders. The Reds have the only 100% home winning record of any team in the top four English leagues, and they have collected an astonishing 46 points out of a possible 48 to this point.

The Premier League leaders welcome the basement-dwellers Watford, who have won just once this season and own just a single point from their last four games. Nigel Pearson is set to take charge of his first match as Hornets boss, with each of the last five permanent managers for the Hornets achieving a draw their first time out (including both Quique Sanchez Flores stints).

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Despite the tall task for Watford, are still weaknesses for them to exploit. The Liverpool defense is banged up, with Joel Matip already missing and Dejan Lovren going down midweek in Champions League play. The Reds have not yet held a single clean sheet at home this season in 12 matches across all competitions, despite the pristine win-loss record. Given Klopp’s high-tempo style of play along with the defensive injuries, Watford may be able to find openings here and there, but the bigger question will the Hornets’ attack be able to keep up with how many they concede at the back.

Injuries/Suspensions

Liverpool – OUT: Dejan Lovren (muscle), Joel Matip (knee), Fabinho (ankle), Nathaniel Clyne (knee). QUESTIONABLE – Adam Lallana (knock).

Watford – OUT: Danny Welbeck (thigh), Tom Cleverley (heel), Jose Holebas (ankle). QUESTIONABLE: Roberto Pereyra (muscle), Adam Masina (undisclosed), Sebastian Prodl (knee), Daryl Janmaat (knee).


Projected lineups

Liverpool – Alisson; Robertson, Gomez, van Dijk, Alexander-Arnold; Wijnaldum, Henderson, Keita; Mane, Firmino, Salah.

Watford – Foster; Masina, Cathcart, Kabasele, Femenia; Capoue, Doucoure, Pereyra; Deulofeu, Sarr, Deeney.


What they’re saying

Liverpool manager Klopp on title race: “I have no interest in stats, not in this case. It’s just like it is, we have to play a lot of games. That’s the only way we can do it, we have no idea what is in May. We play tomorrow, that is enough. Watford have a new manager, we can throw our analysis in the bin!”

[ MORE: JPW’s PL picks ]

Hortets boss Pearson on impressions of Watford: “We know we’ve got to be more clinical in terms of converting opportunities when they come along and the players are aware of that. I saw some good fighting qualities but I’m aware of what our problems are at the moment. It’s important at the moment to try and galvanize the group and we go into games with a very competitive spirit with the intention to do anything to win games.”


Prediction

No Premier League side has managed to beat Klopp’s Liverpool since a 2-1 defeat at Manchester City on January 3 that ultimately ended up sealing the title for Pep Guardiola. Liverpool’s impeccable league record this season matching up against Watford’s new manager and a host of injury problems means it would be unthinkable to imagine anything else than a comprehensive 3-0 Liverpool win for this top vs. bottom clash.