Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has three calls to make against Watford with the Reds boasting the possibility to at least temporarily move top of the Premier League with a win at Anfield. Klopp must decide who to start at right-back in the absence of Trent Alexander-Arnold, who the third midfielder should be and who will start out wide. Express Sport looks at an expected line-up against the relegation-threatened Hornets.
Alisson played twice for Brazil over the international break. Two 4-0 World Cup qualifying wins over Chile and Bolivia moved him up to 26 clean sheets in 42 games for club and country this season.
Despite only last playing for Brazil on Wednesday night, he should be fine to face Watford. He is level with Manchester City’s Ederson on 16 shut-outs in the Premier League so will be keen for another as he looks to win a second Golden Glove.
Defence: Gomez, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson
Alexander-Arnold will not play here and Klopp must decide whether it is James Milner, back from illness, or Joe Gomez who deputises in his place. The latter should be a capable stand-in, as he was in wins over Norwich and Nottingham Forest.
Virgil van Dijk has been superb of late with Liverpool conceding just two goals in their last nine league games, and he is expected to be joined by Joel Matip at centre-back. Matip’s ability to step out back-line in possession will be handy against a Roy Hodgson team expected to sit in and make the Reds break them down.
Andy Robertson will return at left-back after missing the FA Cup win over Forest due to Covid.
Midfield: Fabinho, Thiago, Henderson
Fabinho, Thiago Alcantara and Jordan Henderson were the midfield trio for Liverpool’s last league game, the away win at Arsenal. And they may start again here. In the absence of creator-in-chief Alexander-Arnold, Klopp may be tempted to pick an extra attack-minded midfielder.
But Naby Keita is only just returning from a knee injury, Harvey Elliott has not started since February 16 and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been ineffectual of late. The trio of Fabinho, Thiago and Henderson may start then with the view to them also starting together away at Manchester City next Sunday.
Attack: Salah, Jota, Diaz
Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah both played 120 minutes as Senegal beat Egypt in a World Cup qualifier in Dakar on Tuesday night, so one of the pair may start on the bench here given the hectic April ahead.
Salah is perhaps the likelier of the two to start and he has nine goals and three assists in just seven career appearances against Watford.
Luis Diaz could start on the left over Mane despite taxing international duty for Colombia while Diogo Jota, whose Portugal side were successful in their qualification, should lead the line. Roberto Firmino and Mane could be handy assets off the bench.
Liverpool’s expected XI vs Watford (4-3-3): Alisson; Gomez, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Thiago, Henderson; Salah, Jota, Diaz