Analysis

FLIP’s Pick’s In-Play: Watford vs Liverpool

Written by Sam Hopkinson

One team has been at the centre of a media love-in, the other has gone relatively unnoticed and unheralded. And yet they occupy the same part of the table and have won a similar number of games (6 and 7). The Hornets are yet to beat one of the big boys though and this will be a great chance for them to do it. Klopp’s Liverpool were lucky to get a point at home to West Brom after the loss to Newcastle. Can the German get his team firing on all cylinders again, or will Watford get their scalp?

DEFENDER

Nathaniel Clyne

Bought to solve Liverpool’s right back problem, Clyne has been arguably the best of their summer acquisitions. That being said, he hasn’t been at his best for the past three games—but neither have his teammates. Clyne has such ability on the ball, it seems a shame he hasn’t been able to translate that into assists or goals, and the Reds haven’t been able to keep many clean sheets this season either. Can and must do better.

MIDFIELDER

Etienne Capoue

Sometimes a transfer doesn’t work out, for whatever reason. Capoue didn’t make the grade at Spurs despite (or perhaps because of) three different managers. However, the Frenchman has gone from strength to strength since moving to Watford, making his £6 million price tag look like an absolute bargain. He’s been a regular presence as a result, playing in all 16 of Watford’s league games and performing the defensive midfield role admirably. Liverpool’s midfield is arguably their strongest position though, and Capoue will have to work extra hard to cut off supply to the Reds’ misfiring forwards.

STRIKER

Odion Ighalo

10 goals in 16 appearances for the Hornets says it all—this young man is having a great season. Quique Flores is having to rely on the Nigerian a bit more than he’d like (Ighalo has scored 56% of Watford’s goals, an untenable position). However, Ighalo is fit and ready for Liverpool’s visit—and against a recovering Mamadou Sakho there will likely be chances to take. Players like Lucas Leiva will be tasked by Klopp to keep an eye on Ighalo and to offer the defence as much protection as they can. The Reds have conceded against Newcastle and West Brom so it’s likely they will concede here—and there’s a good chance Odion Ighalo will be involved.

HONOURABLE MENTION

Jordan Henderson

Another Liverpool player making his return from injury, Henderson has already shown his value by scoring against West Brom last time out (as well as notching an assist). Signed from Sunderland for an inflated fee, Henderson has improved beyond all recognition during his time at Anfield and his manager will be delighted at his return to the side. Already named Captain, Henderson could be a fixture of Liverpool’s midfield for years to come.

About the author

Sam Hopkinson

Sam has attended matches everywhere from Cambodia to Canada, and is a persistent Spurs fan. If he didn’t have football, he’d probably turn to a life of crime just to get that exhilarating fix. Superstitious enough to believe that picking a player for his fantasy team spells doom for the poor sod.