Preview: Watford v Liverpool

Watford and Liverpool will both be eager to get their respective Premier League campaigns off to a positive start when they clash at Vicarage Road on Saturday.

Premier League
12 August 2017
Match Day 1
Kick-off: 13H30 (GMT 2)
Venue: Vicarage Road
Referee: A. Taylor
Assistants: G. Beswick, P. Kirkup
Fourth official: P. Tierney

Head-to-head summary: 


Watford          22       4     1       17         
Liverpool        22       17    1       4  

Previous encounter: 

Watford 0-1 Liverpool 01/05/17 (Premier League)

Liverpool goalscorers: Emre Can (45' 2)

Players to watch: 

Watford will be hoping attacking midfielder Roberto Pereyra makes an immediate impact upon his return to the team, following a knee injury that kept him out for almost six months.

Liverpool's attacking threat will be focused around forward Roberto Firmino and industrious midfielder Sadio Mane, with both Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho on the sidelines.

Team form and manager quotes: 

Hornets' pre-season was relatively uninspiring as they scored only four goals in five games, which included two goalless draws in their most recent ties against Aston Villa and Real Sociedad.

Manager Marco Silva, who took over the reins at Watford following Walter Mazzarri's exit at the end of last season, will be aiming to improve on the team's 17th-place finish this time around.

When asked about the fitness of striker Troy Deeney, Silva said, as quoted by the Watford Observer, "Troy Deeney is progressing well. He's not 100% with the team, but yesterday did part of the session with us and today was part of the group. In the next few days, he should be ready to start full training with us.

"It was not a serious operation, and when he comes back he will be in good fitness and we'll see if he's ready for Liverpool, we have another session tomorrow."

Meanwhile, the Reds have enjoyed a promising pre-season, winning four of their five games, including a 3-0 trouncing of Bayern Munich. Their last outing resulted in a 3-1 win over Athletic Club.

Liverpool threatened to challenge for the Premier League title early last season but faded later on, finishing fourth, and manager Jurgen Klopp will be determined to build on that.

"You can expect plus 20, 30 percent because it's real, it's Premier League. It's an advantage of a home game, it's easier with the crowd on your back," Klopp told his pre-match press conference.

"We are long enough in the business to know how to do it. Their style of play is clear, they are a football playing side. We know where we have to defend and where to use the space in our offensive play."

Team news: 

The hosts have a number of players unavailable through injury. Craig Cathcart, Mauro Zarate, Christian Kabasele, and Brice Dja Djedje are sidelined, while Troy Deeney is a doubt.

The travellers will be missing Philippe Coutinho, Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana, and Nathaniel Clyne, but captain Jordan Henderson is back in contention after suffering from a virus.