Watford vs Liverpool: Premier League preview, team news, stats, predictions, kick-off time

Claudio Ranieri bow in Hornets dugout; Liverpool without Alisson and Fabinho; follow Watford vs Liverpool in our dedicated live match blog; watch free match highlights on Sky Sports digital platforms and YouTube channel from 5.15pm on Saturday

Claudio Ranieri has been appointed as Watford's new manager
Image: Claudio Ranieri has been appointed as Watford's new manager

Team news, stats and prediction ahead of Watford vs Liverpool in the Premier League on Saturday; kick-off 12.30pm.

Team news

Watford will assess striker Josh King ahead of Claudio Ranieri's first game in charge against Liverpool.

King is recovering from a knee injury suffered in the defeat against Leeds, where Francisco Sierralta and Christian Kabasele (both hamstring) were also injured and have not yet returned to training.

Nicolas Nkoulou is set for another three weeks on the sidelines while Peter Etebo (quad) is a long-term absentee.

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New Watford boss Claudio Ranieri says he is confident in his ability to cope with the rigours of management in the Premier League

Liverpool will be without goalkeeper Alisson Becker and midfielder Fabinho as the pair have flown directly to Spain for next week's Champions League match to avoid UK quarantine restrictions.

It means Caoimhin Kelleher will make his first Premier League appearance in goal since February.

Curtis Jones will also miss out having returned from England U21 duty with an injury, and with Thiago Alcantara (calf) still unavailable, midfield resources are being stretched, but Trent Alexander-Arnold will return at right-back after missing the last two matches.

Also See:

Alisson and Fabinho prior to kick-off during a Premier League match at Stamford Bridge in September 2020
Image: Alisson and Fabinho will miss Liverpool's trip to Watford

How to follow

Follow Watford vs Liverpool in our dedicated live match blog. Highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel from 5.15pm from Saturday.

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We take a look at some of the key stats ahead of Matchweek Eight's fixtures in the Premier League

Last time out...

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Leeds' win over Watford

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the 2-2 draw between Liverpool and Manchester City

Jones Knows' prediction

I'm expecting a barrage of the usual witty remarks like "you should change your name to Jones doesn't Know - haha" at the full-time of this one - but I'm up for taking Liverpool on here at a very skinny 1/3 with Sky Bet.

For two main reasons.

The Claudio Ranieri bounce factor and Jurgen Klopp's recent record with the Reds playing at 12.30pm on a Saturday.

Liverpool have only won two of their last six 12.30pm Saturday kick-offs. That may not sound too catastrophic, but all those fixtures came against teams that Liverpool were heavy favourites to beat. That's a big loss if you're backing them to level stakes, hence my willingness to take them on at odds-on here.

In that run, they drew with Everton, Newcastle and Brighton while losing 3-1 at Leicester City. Throw in the likely absence of Alisson in goal due to his international commitments with Brazil - they have suffered shock defeats to Aston Villa (7-2) and Brighton (1-0) when he's been missing before - then, at the odds available, the 5/2 about Watford winning or drawing the game seem very reasonable.

SCORE PREDICTION: 1-1

BETTING ANGLE: Watford to draw or win (5/2 with Sky Bet)

Opta stats

  • This is the first Premier League meeting between Watford and Liverpool since February 2020, when the Hornets won 3-0 to end the Reds' club record 44-game unbeaten league run, and their joint Premier League record 18-game winning streak.
  • Liverpool's 0-3 loss against Watford last time out ended an eight-game unbeaten league run against the Hornets (W7 D1) - they've never lost back-to-back league games against the Hertfordshire side before.
  • Six of the seven Premier League meetings between Watford and Liverpool at Vicarage Road have seen at least one team score three goals, with Watford doing so on three occasions and Liverpool four (includes a 3-3 draw in August 2017).
  • Watford have conceded at least once in each of their last 17 Premier League games, since beating Liverpool 3-0 in February 2020. Only twice have they had a longer run without a clean sheet in the competition - 20 games in 1999-00, and 19 games in 2019.
  • After losing six of seven Premier League games between February and March, Liverpool are now unbeaten in their last 17 in the top-flight (W12 D5). The Reds could also become the first ever English top-flight side to score 3+ goals in seven consecutive away games in all competitions.
  • New Watford manager Claudio Ranieri has won four of his five Premier League home games against Liverpool, losing the other. The Italian has the highest home win rate against the Reds in Premier League history (80 per cent - minimum 5 meetings).
  • The last four managers to face Liverpool in their first game in charge of a club in the Premier League have all lost - Manuel Pellegrini (West Ham, 2018), Daniel Farke (Norwich, 2019), Nigel Pearson (Watford, 2019) and Marcelo Bielsa (Leeds, 2020). The last manager to win such a game was Craig Shakespeare - Claudio Ranieri's successor at Leicester City in 2017.
  • Liverpool's Mohamed Salah has eight goals in his six Premier League appearances against Watford, including his first ever goal for the Reds (August 2017) and his first ever Premier League hat-trick (March 2018).
  • Mohamed Salah has scored in each of his last seven appearances in all competitions for Liverpool - he's never scored in eight consecutive matches in his career within the big five European leagues.
  • Liverpool's Sadio Mané has scored 99 Premier League goals. As well as potentially becoming just the third African player to reach 100 in the competition (after Didier Drogba and Mohamed Salah), Mané could be just the third player to score 100+ Premier League goals without any of them being penalties, after Les Ferdinand (149) and Emile Heskey (110).
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