Liverpool resume their quest to dethrone Premier League champions Manchester City when they host Watford on Saturday at 12.30pm (UK time).
The international break brought more drama, heartache and ecstasy, and those emotions will now be funnelled back into club football as the Premier League returns this weekend, starting with a must-win clash for both Liverpool and Watford.
Jurgen Klopp’s men remain hot on City’s heels, just a point below the current pace-setters, so they simply cannot afford to drop points here. Watford meanwhile are fighting for their lives in the relegation zone and are getting to the point where only wins will be enough to boost their chances of safety.
Liverpool vs Watford betting tips from Squawka Bet
- Mohamed Salah to provide an assist @7/5 with Paddy Power
- Sadio Mane to score with his right foot @2/1 with William Hill
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Liverpool team news vs Watford: TAA ‘returns’ to training
Trent Alexander-Arnold pulled out of the England squad after sustaining a hamstring injury in Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Arsenal just before the international break, and reports initially indicated that he could be set to miss an extended period of time, rendering him a potential doubt for the clash against City next weekend.
However, there are now suggestions he has returned to light training ahead of Liverpool’s match-up against Watford. Whether Klopp will take the risk and play Alexander-Arnold, or keep him on ice ahead of the City match remains to be seen, but his importance for the German’s system simply cannot be understated.
The 23-year-old is currently leading the ‘Premier League Playmaker of the Season’ chase with 11 assists to his name, having created more chances (77) and big chances (16) than any other player. And former Liverpool defender Markus Babbel believes the debate about Alexander-Arnold’s defensive capacities holds little weight when he is so effective when going forward.
Speaking to Squawka (courtesy of bet365), Babbel said: “He is so important to play on the front foot, always dangerous. Of course, if you push so high up the pitch, then maybe you have a problem defensively.
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“It always feels like he is running 20 miles per game, so much running him and [Andy] Robertson. But this is the style of Liverpool.
“His biggest strength is going forward, so he would be a completely different player if you told him to stay slightly back. This is not his game.
“His game is to go forward, to create chances, to give assists, to maybe even score a goal. And this is why Liverpool are so fantastic to watch.
“It’s not just the three up front who can score goals. The whole team is built to attack and score goals. Not many teams are doing this, and that is why I love to watch Liverpool.
“Of course, Alexander-Arnold can improve defensively, but he is still young, and he will find his way. I prefer the style of football he is doing now than staying a little bit back.”
Predicted Liverpool XI vs Watford:
- Alisson; Gomez, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Thiago; Salah, Jota, Mane. (4-3-3)
Watford team news vs Liverpool: A strong squad for Hodgson
Roy Hodgson’s only major injury concern is that to Jeremy Ngakia, with Nicolas Nkoulou returning to action. The former Liverpool manager will, therefore, likely remain unchanged from the side that beat Southampton just before the international break, with Joao Pedro, Cucho Hernandez and Emmanuel Dennis leading the line in a lethal and unpredictable attacking trident.
Predicted Watford XI vs Liverpool:
- Foster; Femenia, Kabasele, Samir, Kamara; Sissoko, Louza, Kucka; Hernandez, Pedro, Dennis. (4-3-3)