Liverpool v Watford – Anfield at 16:00
On Sunday, Liverpool host Watford after their Europa League victory against Villarreal (3-1 on aggregate) mid-week, which sent them through to the final where they will face Sevilla in Basel.
[expand title=”Read More…” swaptitle=”Hide” trigpos=”below” rel=”star-highlander” ]
The Reds produced one of their best performances of the season to defeat the Spanish outfit 3-0 on the night and Klopp’s main focus will now be winning the Europa League, as he knows that his side can’t make the Champions League by finishing in the top 4 as they are too many points behind.
With this in mind, it is likely that Klopp will rotate the squad to keep his players fresh, especially as they are also playing Chelsea in the Premier League on Wednesday. The Europa League final is after all less than 2 weeks away!
Recently there has been some suggestion that Klopp and Daniel Sturridge have a fragmented relationship, as it’s not gone unnoticed that Klopp has been reluctant to play his centre-foward in several big games this season, although on this occasion Strurridge played the full 90 minutes and was involved in all 3 goals, even netting 1 for himself. The Englishman scored his 5th goal in 7 appearances and was no doubt the star man on Thursday evening, although against Watford there is the possibility that he may be rested as he’s played in Liverpool’s last 2 matches.
Last weekend the Reds lost 3-1 away at Swansea with a poor performance, whereby it was evident their minds were focused on their Europa League fixture. This weekend however Liverpool are playing at home and haven’t lost at Anfield since the middle of January and that was against Manchester United, so it will be tough for Watford to get anything out of this game.
The Hornets come into this tie after a 3-2 win against Aston Villa at Vicarage Road last weekend. Watford somehow managed to get all 3 points after going behind twice in the game, courtesy of 2 late goals scored by Troy Deeney. The Watford skipper has scored 3 goals in his last 2 games and he’s guided his side up to 12th in the Premier League table on 44 points. His strike partner Odion Ighalo on the other hand, hasn’t scored in the league since January in Watford’s 2-1 victory over Newcastle.
Despite their dip in form since Christmas, overall the season has been a huge success, with avoiding relegation the main priority set at the start of the campaign. Watford have only won 2 of their last 9 Premier League games however and therefore Liverpool are very much the favourites to get the win on Sunday.
The last time these 2 sides met back in December, Watford thrashed Klopp’s side 3-0 with 2 goals scored by Ighalo and 1 by Nathan Ake. Despite this, on this occasion when taking into account Liverpool’s impressive home record and Watford’s poor form, it is hard to imagine anything other than a win for the Reds. However, with their minds pondering on the Europa League final and as Klopp is likely to mix-up the side, I think Liverpool will win by a narrower margin than expected and therefore I recommend backing under 3 goals, which looks good value.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Under 3 goals @ 1.89 with Pinnacle Sports
Prices correct at time of writing.