The international month (it certainly felt that long) is over, and the Premier League can resume once more. The pandemic is still trying its best to cause problems for football fans, and certain players may not be present due to quarantine restrictions put upon returning players.
Watford come into the game in an irregular position, in that they have started the season reasonably well, yet will have a new manager, Claudio Ranieri, in charge. Watford sit a comfortable 15th in the league, and under new management must now adapt to Ranieri’s methods, against Liverpool this Saturday lunch time. The Hornets lost away to Leeds in their last match, and based upon assumption, the team should inevitably remain unchanged in the early stages of the new regime.
Ismaila Sarr will be the key man for the home side, with a direct and fast paced style that will look to expose Liverpool’s high defensive line. Emmanuel Dennis on the opposite flank also offers very good potency, and Watford will surely look to stretch the play and target the full backs, that so often overlap for the reds.
Liverpool come into the game in good overall form, with an absolute need to take all three points. With Brazilian players Alisson Becker and Fabinho set to travel direct to Spain (for the midweek game versus Atletico Madrid), from international duty, there will be some enforced changes. Rookie goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher will come into nets, and his recent good performances mean the odd game without the world class Alisson, shouldn’t be too detrimental.
Player to watch: Trent Alexander Arnold
The defence should see a very welcome return for Trent Alexander Arnold, with the reds primary playmaker returning from injury. The opposite flank could see either Kostas Tsimikas or Andy Robertson play, with some degree of rotation this next week likely. Virgil Van Dijk and Joël Matip should resume centre back duties, with Jordan Henderson likely to shift across to the defensive midfield position. Henderson has struggled in the box to box positions this season, therefore a screening and holding role may well suit his current form. The outside midfield spots will probably see Curtis Jones continue after some good attacking form, with James Milner or the forgotten man, Alex Oxlade Chamberlain, starting on the other side.
The attack will see Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino as likely starters, and Sadio Mane operating once more from the left. Diogo Jota had a slight knock whilst with Portugal, and Firmino should start this game. Divock Origi could well offer a surprise inclusion, depending on the fitness of the returning forwards.
It’s often a difficult game for teams with so many returning internationals, and Watford will be hoping to start quickly under their new leadership. The main threat for the home side will come on the flanks, and a counter attacking system will no doubt be employed. Liverpool will look to take control early, and good deliveries on set pieces could be the key in this game. Mohamed Salah will also look to continue his own scintillating form, and the reds should be able to overcome with so many means of attack.