Watford vs Liverpool
12 August, 12:30 (CET)
Vicarage Road, Watford
If any Premier League fixture shouts ‘opening day shock result’ it is this one, as Watford welcome Liverpool to Vicarage Road.
The Reds just about hung onto fourth place at the tail-end of last season, and the main reason for their demise after once being touted as title contenders was an inability to win matches like this.
1. Marco Silva - New Watford Head Coach
Jurgen Klopp’s side were impeccable against the division’s big boys, but defeats to the likes of Bournemouth, Hull and Swansea tells its own story. In 2016/17, Liverpool were vulnerable against the Premier League small fry.
It’s slightly misleading to call Watford ‘small fry’, they are mid-table fodder after all. But there was no discernible improvement last term under Walter Mazzarri, and he ultimately lost his job.
Mazzarri’s successor, Marco Silva, is a canny appointment. He joined Hull City in January after a distinguished career at Sporting Lisbon and Olympiakos, and he instantly transformed the Tigers fortunes. They were relegated, ultimately due to a poor start, but Silva’s record of W6 D3 L9 would, if extrapolated over the whole campaign, have kept Hull up.
The Tigers were particularly good at home under Silva – W6 D1 L2 – and if he can get a similar kind of reaction from these Watford players then Liverpool are in for a difficult afternoon at Vicarage Road.
2. Betting Odds
There’s some pretty cagey odds-making on offer from the bookies, who have priced Liverpool at 1.60 to win this match.
As appetising, when we consider the facts, is the draw at 4.33, with a Watford victory backable at 6.50.
3. Watford vs Liverpool Betting Tips
It really is a tough one to call this, and you can easily make a case for any of the three possible results.
We’ve written at large about Watford’s chances and stand by that, but it is hard to truly write Liverpool off given the outstanding football they played at times last season. They created more chances than any other side and recorded more shots from inside the penalty area than any other. That is typically a recipe for success.
In fact, you could argue that if they possessed an out-and-out striker through the middle rather than the shoehorned Roberto Firmino, they would have scored more goals and thus won more matches. Alas, we’ll never know.
As well as remedying their leaky defence, Klopp must have a proven goalscorer at the top of his transfer window shopping list, and if he can secure one then watch out for the Reds this term.
But from a betting perspective we have no real fear in opposing Liverpool given how they struggled against weaker opposition at times last term. That strikes us as being a psychological problem, and Watford – who avoided defeat in 12/19 at home last season and who should be even better under Marco Silva – will relish the task.
So, there is absolutely no harm in testing the early season waters by backing Watford-Draw in the Double Chance market at 2.30. That could be some excellent value on the first day of the season!
The first day of the campaign will give us a chance to see how these two sides will shape up this term. Will Watford improve under Marco Silva? And will Liverpool finally become genuine title contenders?