Premier League

Liverpool-Watford Preview

Jurgen Klopp has expressed his frustration at the scheduling of Liverpool's Premier League clash with Watford.

Fabinho started for Brazil as they beat Uruguay 4-1 on Thursday, while goalkeeper Alisson was named on the bench, and the pair will not return to England ahead of the Reds' next league game on Saturday.

Instead, Klopp will have to make do without them as they fly straight to Spain in the hopes of featuring in Liverpool's Champions League encounter with Atletico Madrid on October 19.

"Somebody decided to give Brazil the opportunity to play last night and then somebody made the decision for us to play on Saturday at 12:30," Klopp said. "It's not in our hands. Atletico (Madrid) are not playing at the weekend and they are our next opponents in the Champions League. That would not happen here.

"We have known it for a while so we have decided that the boys would not be here and they would go straight to Madrid. We had to sort quarantine issues and the decision we made is the boys will not be here, they will go directly to Madrid, wait there for us, hopefully, be able to play against Atletico, then will come back slightly later than us, so then they can come back in our normal procedure again."

Watford will have a new manager in the dugout on Saturday, with Claudio Ranieri taking charge of his first game, just four days before his 70th birthday.

"I am so young. I don't feel (my age)," said Ranieri, who won the title with Leicester City in 2015-16. "Football is my life. If I feel good, if I feel emotion, if I feel I have enough energy to give to my players, I want to continue."

Watford – Emmanuel Dennis

Watford were desperately poor in Xisco Munoz's final game in charge as they went down 1-0 to Leeds United. Dennis was their best player from an attacking perspective, creating two chances in the defeat.

Liverpool – Mohamed Salah

One player who will be available for Liverpool is Salah, who signed off before the international break with a sensational goal against Manchester City. He has eight goals in his six Premier League appearances against Watford, including his first ever goal for the Reds (August 2017) and his first ever Premier League hat-trick (March 2018).

Salah has scored in each of his last seven appearances in all competitions for Liverpool – he's never scored in eight consecutive matches in his career within the big five European leagues.

Ranieri has won four of his five Premier League home games against Liverpool, losing the other. The Italian has the highest home win rate against the Reds in Premier League history (80 per cent - min. 5 meetings).

The last four managers to face Liverpool in their first game in charge of a club in the Premier League have all lost – Manuel Pellegrini (West Ham, 2018), Daniel Farke (Norwich, 2019), Nigel Pearson (Watford, 2019) and Marcelo Bielsa (Leeds, 2020). The last manager to win such a game was Craig Shakespeare – Claudio Ranieri's successor at Leicester City in 2017.

Watford have conceded at least once in each of their last 17 Premier League games, since beating Liverpool 3-0 in February 2020. Only twice have they had a longer run without a clean sheet in the competition – 20 games in 1999-00, and 19 games in 2019.

After losing six of seven Premier League games between February and March, Liverpool are now unbeaten in their last 17 in the top-flight (W12 D5). The Reds could also become the first ever English top-flight side to score 3+ goals in seven consecutive away games in all competitions.

Updated October 15, 2021

Sports Data API Powered by STATS © 2021 by STATS PERFORM.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS PERFROM is strictly prohibited.