The second game of the new Premier League season sees Watford entertain Liverpool at Vicarage Road on Saturday morning. Both sets of fans will be excited heading into the new season, but both have vastly different ambitions. Watford fans will be hoping that the club can consolidate their position in the league and avoid another relegation battle, whilst Liverpool fans will have their sights set considerably higher. The Anfield club return to the Champions League this season and will also have their eye on a Premier League title challenge, so a fast start is essential for Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Watford made the move to change their manager again this summer, with Marco Silva coming in to replace Walter Mazzari. The Hornets have found success in changing their manager every season, but in Silva, they may have now found a coach for the longer term. Silva has been busy in the transfer market bringing in Tom Cleverley, Will Hughes, Nathaniel Chalobah, Kiko Femenia and Richarlison amongst others for a combined total spend of £36m. Fans will be excited at the prospect of seeing all these new players and it will be interesting to see how many of them Silva gives debuts to on Saturday. One established name who will miss the game though is Troy Deeney, who is nursing an injury ahead of the season opener. The striker has only missed one of the last 76 Premier League games for the club.
It has been a slightly frustrating summer for Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp so far. The club managed to get deals for Mohamed Salah and Dominic Solanke over the line early but have spent most of the summer seeing deals for Virgil van Dijk and Naby Keita scuppered. With Barcelona now expected to push through a deal for star man Phillipe Coutinho in the coming week and injuries to first teamers Adam Lallana, Nathaniel Clyne and Daniel Sturridge, what started out as a very bright summer has been soured in recent weeks. Liverpool still have a very strong team though and Mohamed Salah looks to have settled very well in pre-season, but if Coutinho leaves and Lallana is injured until November, then the club will have to move for another attacking minded midfielder.
- Will Coutinho play? The Brazilian maestro has been linked with a big money move to Barcelona to replace Neymar, but will he start the season for Liverpool?
- Liverpool have won each of the last three Premier League meetings between these two clubs by an aggregate score of 9-1.
- Watford are yet to win on the opening day of the Premier League; drawing twice and losing twice.
Liverpool have been extremely impressive in pre-season, especially going forward and I would expect them to have too much attacking talent at their disposal here, even without Adam Lallana. It remains to be seen whether Phillipe Coutinho will play, but even if he doesn’t, I would still expect Liverpool to wrap up a comfortable victory here on Saturday morning.
Betting Tips (Bet365)
Liverpool are favourites to pick up an away win here with odds of 8/15, whilst Watford are 5/1 to secure an unlikely victory. Liverpool have regularly scored heavily against Watford and they are available with a -2 handicap for 7/2 (Odds from Sportwetten24.com) if you fancy them to win by at least 3 goals on Saturday. Everyone is expecting goals this weekend, but Liverpool are never too solid at the back, so -2 might be too much of a stretch for the Anfield club, the 7/5 on them to win with a -1 handicap looks like a safer bet.
My pick – Liverpool (-1) – 7/5