Liverpool will be aiming to get back on the saddle against Watford at Anfield on Wednesday. Form Labs are here to give you some pointers if you’re looking to have a cheeky bet on the game!
It’s now four stalemates in five outings across all competitions for us, but while nerves appear to be playing their part, there’s no room for taking the foot off the gas, with every dropped point crucial at this stage. Meanwhile, Watford have won three on the trot but they haven’t faced the sternest of opposition. The Ev who are in dreadful form and Championship outfit QPR (also in dreadful form) were each dispatched 1-0, while their 5-1 victory last time out came over a Cardiff team that collapsed in the final half hour. Although Javi Gracia’s men are having an excellent season and find themselves up in seventh following the weekend’s action, they’ve largely been flat track bullies this campaign as they’ve lost each of their past six matches against the teams above them in the table.
“We have come up against it a lot this season, teams showing a lot of respect against us with the players we’ve got. That’s something we’ve got to adapt to…”
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) February 25, 2019
A lack of midfield creativity has hampered us recently, but while we’re not panicking about drawing blanks in stalemates against quality opposition in Bayern and United in our last two outings, Jurgen Klopp should consider rotating this around a bit. One player who has proven a bargain this term and has provided that spark when needed is Xherdan Shaqiri, and though he hasn’t been at his best since the turn of the year, it would be of little surprise to see a return of the 4-2-3-1 here in order to accommodate the Swiss international. That would allow Mo Salah to return to playing through the middle, where the Egyptian has been more effective in finding the net this term, after being stationed back out on the right-hand side in recent games.
That’s especially the case as Roberto Firmino was substituted in the first half against Man Utd with an ankle complaint, with it yet to emerge whether the Brazilian can make the squad for this clash. He hasn’t been at his absolute best recently, so Shaqiri should be afforded an opportunity to be the creative spark here. Further back, although Joe Gomez remains out, defensive concerns are easing with Dejan Lovren back in contention after missing out against Bayern and United. However, he’ll probably be on the bench anyway with Joel Matip having played well alongside Virgil van Dijk of late. Meanwhile, the only real concern Watford have is the suspended Jose Holebas, though given the 34-year-old has kept summer signing Adam Masina out of the starting line-up, that could be an area to target.
Watford have largely been reliant upon beating the weaker sides this term and their head-to-head record against our boys leaves us confident we can get back to winning ways and build some momentum ahead of the final 10 games of the season. Indeed, we’ve won five of the past six encounters since the start of 2016, including all three at Anfield by an aggregate score of 13-1, while the reverse fixture this term concluded in a 3-0 win – the fourth time in five meetings where we’ve struck at least three goals past them. That somewhat alleviates our concerns about a lack of creativity recently, though given the Hornets have found the net in four of their six defeats to ‘Big Six’ sides this term, while we have just one clean sheet at Anfield in four, the win and both teams to score appears the way to go in this one.