Watford v Liverpool: Reds look to extend strong opening-day form but Marco Silva eyes more home comforts

Vicarage Road played host to one of the goals of the season last term when Emre Can’s overhead kick earned Liverpool a slim 1-0 victory, and the Premier League title hopefuls will kick off their campaign at the same venue on Saturday afternoon.

Liverpool have won their last four Premier League opening-day fixtures

Jurgen Klopp continued from where Brendan Rodgers left off last season with a win at the start of his first full campaign in charge of Liverpool. The Reds beat Arsenal 4-3 on the opening day of last term, and have also claimed results over Stoke twice and Southampton. Can Klopp stretch this to a fifth straight season-opening win? They haven’t lost the opener since a 3-0 stuffing at West Brom in 2012 and last drew the year before against Sunderland.


Watford have lost their last three league meetings with Liverpool

Liverpool did the double over Watford last season but that only tells half the story. At home Liverpool rocked the Hornets 6-1, recording 26 goals attempts and commanding 60% possession. But at Vicarage Road late in the campaign Liverpool had to scrap for it and won courtesy of THAT wonder goal from Emre Can. Again Liverpool dominated the ball that day but Watford are a stronger force at home than away. They recorded eight home league wins and just three on the road last term. Saturday could see the Hornets finally deliver again.

Emre Can committed 2.2 fouls per league game last season, more than any other player bar Christian Benteke (2.3)

Emre Can’s future remains unresolved with the Germany international’s contract set to expire next summer. Liverpool don’t want to lose him but may be forced to if he doesn’t sign a new deal. Can is expected to step up this season in the absence of Lucas, who was sold to Lazio last month. He was a persistent fouler but last season picked up just six yellow cards from 32 appearances. He clearly picks his moments well and stays on the right side of referees.


Marco Silva’s home record in the Premier League reads W6 D1 L2

New Watford manager Marco Silva arrives with plenty of expectation. He failed to keep Hull up last season but his stock rose nevertheless after going unbeaten at home in his first seven games as a Premier League manager (W6 D1). Home form is crucial in a relegation battle. Silva masterminded Hull’s 2-0 win over Liverpool in February. Despite his Tigers retaining just 27.8% of the ball they restricted the Reds to just five shots on target. Jurgen Klopp may expect to face a similar set-up on Saturday.


Liverpool could make it four consecutive Premier League away wins without conceding a goal for the first time since 2002

There’s been plenty of changes at Liverpool over the past 15 years and this little statistical nugget would be a good one to match. Liverpool haven’t won four away league games while keeping clean sheets since January to March 2002, when they beat Manchester United, Leeds, Ipswich and Fulham to an aggregate score of 13-0. Emile Heskey scored four of those goals, Michael Owen three. At the end of last season Liverpool beat West Brom, West Ham and Watford.