Liverpool failed to tighten their grip on automatic qualification for next season’s Champion’s League after losing at home to resurgent Crystal Palace on Sunday thanks to a brace from former Liverpool man Christian Benteke. Now only one point clear of Manchester City and two clear of United having played a game more than both, Jürgen Klopp’s men desperately need to reverse the momentum.
Liverpool’s record against middling and bottom-half teams has left a lot to be desired this campaign, and with games against West Ham and Middlesbrough to play, they need to halt this trend if they are to return to Europe’s premier competition. However, with survival ensured, Watford have very little to play for at Vicarage Road on Monday night.
Walter Mazzarri has guided The Hornets to tenth position in his first season in English football, but after an enterprising start, they have failed to produce the type of football which attracted so many plaudits in the opening weeks of the season. However, with Adam Lallana, Ragnar Klavan, Sadio Mane and Jordan Henderson all doubtful - and Mazzarri’s future not set in stone - Liverpool cannot afford to look past this fixture.
What time does it start?
Watford vs Liverpool kicks off at 20:00 on Monday 1st May.
Where can I watch it?
The match will be shown live on Sky Sports 1 from 19:00. Highlights will be shown at 01:00 on Sky Sports 1 on Monday 2nd May.
It’s a big game for…
M'Baye Niang: After falling out of favour in Milan, the ultra-talented Niang has produced glimpses of magic in his 11 appearances for The Hornets this season. The 22-year-old needs to prove his worth on a consistent basis to avoid becoming perennially loaned out all over Europe and beyond.
Weird /best stat…
10 of the previous 12 encounters in all competitions have ended in a Liverpool victory; Watford emerged victorious in the other two.
Despite finishing the 1999/2000 season rock bottom of the Premier League with a grand total of 24 points, Graham Taylor’s Watford shocked Liverpool in their third game back in the top-flight with a 1-0 victory, courtesy of Tommy Mooney.
Player to watch…
Philippe Coutinho: With four goals in his last five games, the diminutive Brazilian has hit form at the ideal moment. His superb 30-yard free kick turned out to be in vain against Palace last weekend, but the playmaker should be able to slot through balls either side of Watford’s ageing centre back pairing of Sebastian Prödl and Miguel Britos and create plenty of goalscoring opportunities.
Liverpool 6 Watford 1, Premier League, November 2016
Liverpool 2 Watford 0, Premier League, May 2016
Watford 3 Liverpool 0, Premier League, December 2015
Watford to win: 23/4
Liverpool to win: 51/100
(Odds provided by 888 Sport)