Liverpool will travel to Watford in the Premier League this weekend and the game comes as a must-win for the Merseyside club as they go into the tie at the back of a loss and a very narrow draw to Newcastle United and West Brom. The enthusiasm around Klopp’s arrival has been massive, but it is time for the Reds to make amends on their results if they want to be successful in their attempt to chase a Champions League berth. Sitting 9th in the table, a win would certainly put them in a good place to begin the crucial festive period that brings league leaders Leicester City to Anfield next, followed by trips to Sunderland and West Ham United.
Here are three key questions for manager Jurgen Klopp as he looks to get a win over the most impressive promoted side this season.
Who should start up-front?
Christian Benteke has put on a string of underwhelming performances in front of goal and increasingly looks like a version of Mario Balotelli and Andy Carroll. The summer signing does have goals this season but his performances recently have been woeful. There has been little to none movement in front of goal and there is a visible lack of confidence there as well.
At such a time, perhaps Klopp would consider using Divock Origi who scored the last minute equalizer against West Brom as well as a hat-trick against Southampton in the Capital One Cup recently. He could also use Roberto Firmino who along with Adam Lallana and Philippe Coutinho, performed so wonderfully against Chelsea and Manchester City.
At the moment, starting with Christian Benteke might not bring Liverpool the kind of emphatic start they want against Flores’ side.
How do you stop Watford’s attacking side?
Flores has so far relied on a compact 4-4-2 where width has been primarily provided by the full-backs. There is plenty happening in the centre of the pitch and unsurprisingly, the movement in the final third has yielded results for the Hornets.
Liverpool have looked better defensively under Klopp, but have conceded four goals in the last two games and many of them have come in sloppy fashion. Considering the form Ighalo and Deeny are in, the Liverpool defenders will be put under more pressure. Meanwhile, Mamadou Sakho is expected to return and replace Lovren but it might be harsh to expect the Frenchman to be on top of his game so soon after an injury. This might be something Watford, who have been on a three match winning run, look to exploit.
Who will the midfield comprise, in the absence of Milner?
James Milner will miss the game with injury and it will be especially interesting to see who Klopp replaces the Englishman with because it might indicate his future plans. Milner has arguably been the most disappointing signing of the summer, especially since it seemed to be a very clever move at the time. With Jordan Henderson’s return, it seemed clear that it might be a matter of time till the former Manchester City player was guaranteed a first team spot considering his performances weren’t especially improving. Now that an injury will leave him out of this visit, who Klopp chooses to replace him with, or a tinkered formation with just a two-man midfield might give an indication of what the German plans to do in the long-term.