It’s Sod’s Law, isn’t it. Christian Benteke has scored seven career goals at Anfield; four in a red shirt for Liverpool in his year-long stint at the club, and three for Aston Villa in his time there.
Guess what? The Belgian was at it again on Sunday, bagging a brace for his present employer, Crystal Palace, in a 2-1 win. That now means that Benteke has scored more goals at Anfield for other teams than he did the Reds!
That’s quite a light-hearted way to analyse Sunday’s defeat, but in truth the upshot is much more serious. We are just two points clear of the two Manchester sides now in fourth, but they both have a pair of games in hand. The huge concern is that after being in title contention at Christmas, we may not even finish in the Champions League places when the dust is settled.
It has been an exploratory season for Jurgen Klopp to some extent, but even so we have every right to expect a top four finish given the level of investment made since the German took charge. But here we are without an obvious first choice goalkeeper and a defence that has kept just two clean sheets in fifteen league games in 2017. How can we expect to finish in the upper echelons of the table with a defensive record like that?
Injuries haven’t helped, but to sustain any kind of top four form we simply have to invest in a deeper squad.
Rant over, and attention turns to Bank Holiday Monday when we travel to Vicarage Road to take on Watford. The Hornets are a strange old side, with their recent form of W3 D0 L4 suggesting it really is a case of all or nothing for Elton John’s outfit. Let’s hope it is the latter and Liverpool can stabilise their league position on Monday.
Liverpool Team News
There’s no good news as far as team selection is concerned, and the level of worry surrounding Jordan Henderson’s foot injury continues to grow. Reportedly he is showing no obvious signs of recovery, and according to the Liverpool Echo is no closer to making a comeback of any kind. He may not be seen again this season.
The news regarding Adam Lallana might be more encouraging, however. He is back in training and has stepped up the intensity of late, tweeting that he had ‘Watford on my mind’ just the other day. The insinuation is that he may be on the bench on Monday night.
Ragnar Klavan is also expected to recover from the muscle injury that has sidelined him of late, so Klopp must decide whether the Estonian comes in for Dejan Lovren. With such a youthful bench – five of the seven against Palace were aged 23 or under – the manager must persist with the players that have served him so far this term, but somehow wring better performances from them.
If you look up ‘inconsistent’ in the dictionary you might just see Watford listed there, as just seven draws in 33 starts this term identifies just how unpredictable they can be.
Their record at Vicarage Road is pretty good (W8 D4 L5), and they come into this fixture on the back of three consecutive home wins without conceding a goal, albeit against Swansea, Sunderland and West Brom.
Their run against the top six this term reads W2 D0 L7 though, and so there is no reason for the Reds to fear the trip south.
Watford vs Liverpool Betting Tips
Both teams to score has failed to land in any of Liverpool’s last six games….and yet, somehow, we suspect that run may end here.
We’ve spoken at length about Liverpool’s defensive issues, and quite frankly they are there for the taking at present. The Hornets have scored in nine of their last ten home games, and there doesn’t really seem to be any reason to oppose that here.
Even without Lallana and Sadio Mane, Liverpool have a certain cutting edge in attack with the guile of Firmino and Coutinho and the pace of Origi, and while we only fashioned one shot on target in 90 minutes against Palace on Sunday we still looked lively at times.
So, Both Teams to Score is our first play at 8/11.
As for our second, the bookmakers have out us in the position that we have to back Watford in some way, with Liverpool ridiculously short at 1/4. So here’s the best of both worlds: we think Liverpool can win by a single goal, but we can back Watford with a +1.25 Asian Handicap at 8/11. In that way, everyone’s a winner baby!
As far as a scoreline goes, let’s try the 2-1 to Liverpool result at 8/1 with bet365.