By Mihail Vladimirov.
The last time Watford were in the Premier League was nearly ten years ago, during the 2006-2007 season. Having not met during that time, this game will have a fresh feel for both clubs and the division as a whole.
As the first of the four games during the festive period, both managers want to make the most out of this game given the time their players had for proper rest and tactical preparation, and the fact the next game is a whole week away.
With Watford having hellish fixtures (after Liverpool, they face Chelsea, Tottenham and Man City) – although three of their games are at home – their Spanish manager will also surely stress the importance to keep the crowd on side with some spirited performances and not to worry too much about the results. Meanwhile, heading into this game on the back of consecutive poor performances in the past few weeks, Klopp is also likely to drill into his players the need to reverse the momentum. If Liverpool are to properly challenge for a Top 4 place this season, they will need to show consistency – and a good run of performances (if not necessarily results) is a must. The Reds’ next three games, after Watford, see them host league leaders Leicester before travelling to Sunderland and West Ham. It’s in these types of games where Klopp and his players need to showcase their superior qualities.
Watford – a solid mid-table team
Ahead of the new season, it was Bournemouth and Norwich stealing the attention and making the headlines from the teams who got promoted to the Premier League. It was absolutely normal to be that way too – Howe’s team won the Championship, while Norwich have become a real force since Neil was appointed. Both teams also impressed with eye-catching, free-flowing football, showing the type of technical skills and attack-minded style of play the Championship teams are rarely associated with.
Meanwhile, the solid, workmanlike and far from pleasant on the eye Watford remained in the shadows. Despite them finishing only a point below the Cherries, scoring only seven less goals than Howe’s team (91) and being the team holding two of the seven biggest home wins during the season (a 7-2 and a 5-0 thrashings), the Hornets were never spoken of as a fierce attacking side who put relentless pressure on the opposition and strived to outplay them in every single game.
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