Liverpool will start their 2017-18 Premier League campaign on the road, as the Reds take on Watford on Saturday.
Manager Jurgen Klopp and his troops will have to keep their focus in order to make a successful start, with the UEFA Champions League qualifier against TSG Hoffenheim looming. That match will take place on Tuesday, but the Reds can’t afford to look past the Hornets―starting the season on the right foot is pivotal.
Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming match.
Date: Saturday August 12
Time: 12:30 p.m. BST/7:30 a.m. ET
Venue: Vicarage Road, Watford
TV Info: Sky Sports Main Event and LIVE US TV Premier League (UK), NBCSN (U.S.)
Live Stream: LIVE US TV
Per the Reds’ official website, midfielder Adam Lallana will miss the start of the season with a thigh injury. As reported by James Pearce of the Liverpool Echo, Klopp provided an update for the rest of the squad:
“We are in a good shape. The players are in a good mood, attitude in all the training sessions really good.
“OK, a few little injuries and one bad one (Lallana), but there are always barriers you need to jump over.
“We showed it in Dublin again that everything is in a good way. Now we need to deliver and we are ready for it.”
Per Pearce, the Liverpool boss also ruled out resting players ahead of the Champions League qualifier.
Watford made a splash by signing Richarlison and Andre Gray this week, but the Brazilian is unlikely to be dropped straight into the starting XI.
The Hornets have been busy in the transfer market this summer, but midfield acquisitions Nathaniel Chalobah and Will Hughes lack top-level experience―they too could be eased into the team.
Watford barely survived last year’s Premier League season and ended the campaign on a dreadful losing run, prompting plenty of transfer activity during the summer.
The hosts have the talent to avoid the drop again and will stand out for their attacking intentions, but Liverpool should grab the win on Saturday.
The loss of Lallana hurts, but it came with enough time left in the summer for the Reds to find an alternative.
Klopp clearly feels comfortable with his options, as the team hasn’t signed a replacement, and Saturday’s outing will give the German the chance to experiment ahead of the Hoffenheim clash.
A midfield trio of Emre Can, Georginio Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson could be an option, while Marko Grujic could get the nod if Klopp wants to add a dose of creativity.
Up front, no one impressed more in pre-season than Dominic Solanke. As shared by Chris Bascombe of the LIVE US TV, Klopp didn’t hide the fact he impressed him: