Liverpool will return to the site of Emre Can’s wondergoal last season to begin their 2017/18 Premier League campaign as Marco Silva hopes to begin his time at Watford with a win. Both sides could be without some key players through injury but will be hoping to get by without them with a good start to the season.
Watford have enjoyed a strong pre-season as they kept four clean sheets in their last four friendlies against tough opposition. Two disappointing results, a draw against non-league Woking and a loss to League One AFC Wimbledon, were followed up by 1-0 wins over Viktoria Plzen and SD Eibar before consecutive 0-0 draws against Aston Villa and Real Sociedad.
Liverpool went one better and avoided defeat in 90 minutes throughout pre-season, with their only loss coming on penalties to Atletico Madrid in the Audi Cup. Impressive victories over Athletic Bilbao and Bayern Munich have given plenty of reasons for optimism for Reds’ fans going into the season.
Nathaniel Chalobah is set for a second debut in midfield but a number of new signings, including strike duo Andre Gray and Richarlison, are not expected to start in the line-up given their recent arrivals.
The toughest decision for Jurgen Klopp may come at left-back, with James Milner likely to get the nod ahead of Andy Robertson and Alberto Moreno, who has impressed in pre-season. Emre Can’s lack of game time will likely see him start on the bench whilst Philippe Coutinho will hope to be fit.
Troy Deeney has returned to training after a groin injury but is still building fitness and is unlikely to feature. Mauro Zarate’s long term knee injury is expected to keep him sidelined until later this month.
Philippe Coutinho is the most high profile doubt with a back injury which saw him miss the end of pre-season. Daniel Sturridge is also a doubt with a hamstring strain and Joe Gomez is in a similar position over a knock to his knee. A back problem looks set to keep Nathaniel Clyne out of action whilst Adam Lallana’s thigh issue will keep him out until November.
Match prediction: Watford 0-2 Liverpool
Watford are beginning to put things in place for what could be a strong side, but it’s still the early stages of Marco Silva’s reign. Jurgen Klopp’s side should have the quality, particularly in attack, to earn the win.