Liverpool v Watford: Reds to march on
It's top v bottom in the Premier League on Saturday and Dave Tindall previews the lunchtime clash at Anfield...
Liverpool v Watford
BT Sport 1
BT Sport 1
Reds can do no wrong
After their thoroughly professional job on Salzburg on Tuesday which secured top spot and a place in the last 16 of the Champions League, it's back to domestic matters for Liverpool and a fixture that is basically an open goal.
Some of the stats surrounding the Reds are almost hard to take in but a simple one is that they've won their last 15 home games in the Premier League - a run they've beaten just once (1972).
Everything is coming off for Jurgen Klopp right now. He rests key players and, as if by magic, the stand-ins thrive as well.
Of course, the magic is explained by very talented players coming into a winning team and wanting to state their claim too. It keeps the first-teamers on their toes, spirit in the camp is excellent and it's all a perfect storm.
Rotation is very necessary for the Reds as they embark upon on an overloaded fixture list in December.
After this they have the League Cup game with Aston Villa on Tuesday followed, a day later, by the first of two games in the World Club Championship in Qatar.
They jet out after the Watford game and Klopp will want to make sure that, for a few hours at least (second-placed Leicester host Norwich at 3pm), they've extended their lead to 11 points.
Pearson has huge job
Nigel Pearson becomes the third manager to lead Watford out this season when he takes charge of the club for the first time on Saturday.
Javi Gracia couldn't stop the rot which set in at the end of last season and the returning Quique Sanchez Flores failed to make any impact either.
It means Pearson starts his unenviable task with the Hornets bottom of the table with just nine points from 16 games. Of course, he's been here before and that's why Watford have come calling.
Pearson's Houdini act with Leicester paved the way for the Foxes' incredible title win so he knows a thing or two about instilling hope when sides are at rock bottom.
But what a place to try and start the process!
Odds-on backers may not be put off
If something has happened 16 times in succession, it's not too hard to argue that 1.19 for a Liverpool win isn't the worst price you'll ever see - especially given that this isn't just random opposition, it's basement boys Watford.
The Draw is 8.40 while Watford are 20.00 to pull off what would be the shock of the season by far.
There's nothing in the recent history books either to give Watford some sort of hope. Rather, if there's a bogey team element to this, it's that Liverpool hold that status over Watford.
When the Hornets go to Anfield, they get hammered: 5-0, 5-0 and 6-1 the last three scorelines. Add in the Reds' last trip to Vicarage Road and the aggregate score is 13-0 in the last three head-to-heads.
There's the new-boss 'bounce' factor possibly but Pearson is a manager, and an experienced one, not a magician.
Of course, the majority won't be viewing the basic win bet as an option but there's a problem with the idea of what has been a popular option with Jurgen Klopp's men this season - Liverpool to win and Both teams to Score.
Actually, it's a twin problem. The Merseysiders have suddenly starting keeping clean sheets and Watford have mustered a league-low nine goals - five fewer than anyone else.
For those not put off, Liverpool winning whilst conceding is 2.66.
Red can hit the goal trail again
Liverpool are the highest home scorers this season with 24 from eight games (all wins) so I think we're in Any Other Home Win territory which requires the hosts to hit four or more.
The price is 3.25 and landed in the recent Merseyside derby. The leaders are sure to create a hatful of chances so it's just a case of them taking their share.
I'll hedge a little by backing a 3-0 correct scorline as well. It's a more than acceptable 8.40.
Team news needed before pulling trigger on goalscorers
Liverpool's recent goalscoring has been enjoyably predictable. Divock Origi likes scoring against Everton and he netted a brace in the 5-2 Merseyside derby win.
Mo Salah has a great record against Bournemouth and he scored in the 3-0 win there last weekend.
So, who has been their man against Watford? Well, Liverpool's front three have filled their boots. In the last six games against Watford, Salah has six goals, Sadio Mane five and Roberto Firmino four.
The problem of putting up a bet before the starting XI is announced is that one, two or even all three could be rested given that the World Club Championship is on the horizon and Klopp is taking it extremely seriously.
However, once revealed, there is plenty of reason to back any of Salah, Mane or Firmino.
And it doesn't stop there. Virgil van Dijk scored twice in this fixture last season and headed a brace against Brighton a couple of weeks ago, Naby Keita has registered in Liverpool's last two games and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been in the goals too with five in his last nine for the Reds.
Get that team news and take your pick!
Watford have failed to score in a league-high nine different Premier League games this season, while Liverpool are the only side to have scored in all 16 of their games. It's the Reds' best scoring start to a top-flight campaign since 1933-34, when they netted in each of their first 21 matches.
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