Liverpool FC status

Frånvaroläge: Alexander-Arnold(skadad, kan bli aktuell), Keita(skadad)
Trolig startelva (4-3-3): Alisson Gomez, Matip, van Dijk, Robertson – Henderson, Thiago, Jones- Salah, Firmino, Jota

Tankar om elvan: Vi är inne i en månad med väldigt många väldiga viktiga matcher, nästa vecka väntar både en kvartsfinal i Champions League och den sedan länge emotsedda seriefinalen mot City. Vi behöver således hantera truppen klokt för att hålla alla spelarna fräscha och nu när flera av dem dessutom kommer hem från tufft landslagsspel kan vi nog få se en del starka namn utanför elvan. Jag tror att Klopp kommer att vila Fabinho här, jag har också svårt att se att han skulle chansa med Alexander-Arnold, även om denne är frisk nog att starta. Spelare som Elliot, Milner och Oxlade kan säkert vara aktuella för att starta på mitten, men jag tror ändå att Klopp väljer att spela Thiago och Jones tillsammans med Henderson. Det är en svårtippad elva, då det är svårt att veta exakt vilken status spelarna som varit borta på landskamper håller, men trots 120 minuter mot Senegal härom dagen skulle jag bli förvånad om inte Salah startar.

Watford status
 – Jason Bailey(@JasBailey), från podcasten From the rookery end @watfordpodcast

1. Watford is currently in the relegation zone, why do you think you are in that position?
Whilst the phrase “We’ve not been good enough” is true, it is too simplistic to point to this season alone for our current plight. At the back end of the 2018-19 season, Watford were on a crest of a wave. We had been in a fight for a Europa League spot for most of the campaign and had just reached only our second ever FA Cup Final, albeit we received a mighty hammering from a Manchester City side, wounded from missing out on a Champions League final again, but with a chance at a domestic treble. But that aside, all seemed to be set fair. Heading into our fifth straight Premier League season, there were no thoughts of being in a relegation battle. All we needed to do was freshen up the squad in the right places and we could take the next step in our ambition to be “best of the rest”. But that didn’t happen. Fans had been calling for improvements in the centre back positions for a couple of seasons. We signed Craig Dawson, who to be fair, has remained a Premier League player since. However, the feeling was we needed another strong defender alongside him and that never came. Things didn’t start well and in true Watford style there was a change of head coach. To no effect. And whilst a second change of the man in charge kick started things a little, the honeymoon period came to an end. It briefly flickered brightly again with the famous 3-0 home win to put an end to Liverpool’s Invincibles ambitions, but the COVID disruption appeared to knock any momentum and hopes of survival into touch. A couple more head coaches and a second place finish in the Championship gave us another bite at the cherry. Lessons have been learnt, we were told. But the same old Watford failures of recent years appeared once more. Hit and miss success in the transfer market and the same old merry go round in the manager’s office. Rinse, repeat.

2. You have changed manager twice this season and now have Roy Hodgson as your manager, what has changed since he arrived?
Well we are certainly more solid than we were under the previous regimes this season. It took us until 5th February (Roy’s first game), but we finally achieved a league clean sheet. Two more followed in the same month, all away from home, including an unexpected point at Manchester United. But this was at a cost. Home performances have been pretty limp, nicely (if that’s the right word) summed up by a rotten 4-1 defeat against a previously struggling Crystal Palace. The “tight at the back, hit on the counter” approach gives us a credible away record, but has not been fit for purpose at Vicarage Road.

3. How do you rate your chances of staying up?
Slim to none. Amongst friends, we seemed to be at peace with our destiny. Too far gone to dream of getting out of trouble. Nothing on the pitch giving us any hope of survival. Of course, we then went and won at Southampton and all of a sudden we’re looking up again. But the cruel mistress that is football blew a steaming great big hole in it all by letting Everton snatch a late, late win with ten men against Newcastle. And then Leeds coming from two down to beat Wolves. They say it’s the hope that kills you.

4. Which players have impressed you at Watford this season?
This shouldn’t take long. Emmanuel Dennis has been a hit, but with occasional misses. His numbers don’t lie though. 9 goals. 5 assists. He is currently leading the way for Watford in both charts. He is also currently top of the nutmeg charts across the five big European leagues!! Hassane Kamara has also made a solid start to his Watford career since joining from Nice in the January transfer window. His calmness on the ball is not something you normally see from a Watford defender! There’s also a sense that he “gets it”, developing a connection with the fans in the short time he has been here.

5. You are coming from an away win against Southampton, what was the key to the three points in that game?
It felt like we started on the front foot more than in other games. After an early scare before the game had settled down, we started to press higher up the pitch and that led to the first goal. Instead of then sitting on the lead, we appeared hungry for more. The second goal soon followed and a third would not have been undeserved, either side of Southampton pulling one back. Whilst not necessarily hanging on at the end, we still needed our wits about us, and a couple of Ben Foster saves to get over the line.

6. Now you play Liverpool at Anfield, what kind of game do you expect?
A defensive, one sided struggle. 11 men behind the ball. Wide men tracking back to support full backs. Central midfielders plugging the gaps between the defenders. A striker rarely getting beyond the centre circle. Lets be honest. It’s not gone well for Watford at Anfield in recent years. Our last trip to the city was a joyous occasion with a thumping 5-2 win at Everton. Somehow, I’m not feeling as positive about the return to Merseyside.