On Saturday afternoon we have a great clash on the opening day of the Premier League season with Liverpool facing a tough trip to Watford. If you take a look back to last season, Liverpool finished with nearly double the amount of points that Watford finished with, but with a few changes in the camp at Watford, they will be hoping for an improved season. Liverpool are back in the Champions League after finishing fourth last season, and they will be hoping to build on that and move forward again this season.
As ever with the early part of the season, many squads are still settling down and players are finding their feet, so no one knows for sure how things will go. I am sure Liverpool would rather have started their campaign at home, and this looks a tough trip for the opening day.
Goal scoring has been a worry for Watford during pre-season, something they will have to put right as soon as possible if they are to finish mid-table, which is where they are aiming. They finished their pre-season campaign with two 0-0 draws against Real Sociedad and Aston Villa, and overall they have scored just five goals from six pre-season games. A record of two wins, two draws and two losses is hardly inspiring, but they are getting into a habit of being very tough to beat.
Watford finished one place ahead of the relegation places last season, although they did end with a six point cushion which made things a little easier for them towards the end. They are desperate to go better than that this season, and have targeted mid-table as the place they want to be. There are many relegation candidates this season, I think Watford are better than most of them, and I think they will be fine this season.
Liverpool have been busy during pre-season, playing eight games in total, all away from home. They won six of those eight games, and drew the other two. One of those draws went to a penalty shootout which they lost, but aside from that it has been a very successful pre-season for Liverpool. The highlights have been a great 3-0 win over Bayern Munich, and a recent 3-1 win over Athletic Bilbao, both of which saw Liverpool in an impressive light.
Liverpool performed really well last season to grab fourth place ahead of Arsenal and Manchester United. They will want to build on that, but thing are tough at the top in the Premier League, with six clubs all fighting for the top four. They have the ability to maintain their position, but I don’t believe they have done enough this season to kick on and really challenge for the title.
A problem area for Watford last season was their midfield, something they have addressed during the summer. They have brought in Tom Cleverley, Will Hughes and Nathaniel Chalobah to try and improve that area and while they won’t all play in this game, I expect we will see at least one of them in the starting line-up.
Mohamed Salah is the man charged with firing in the goals for Liverpool this season, following his arrival from Roma. He is a very talented player and while he may take a while to get used to playing in the Premier League week in week out, he is an exciting prospect who I can’t wait to see play. I expect to see him play, and he will be desperate to start life in the Premier League with a goal.
Top Betting Tips
For the first game of the season, this will be a difficult trip for Liverpool. They have been impressive in pre-season, with some very good victories over good teams, although the start of the season is a different game all together. I don’t believe that Watford have the ability to beat Liverpool, but I do think they can get something from the game and I am going to back the draw, which is available at 16/5 in this one. That offers good value in a game where the home team will try and stop the away team from playing, turning it into a scrappy affair.
For those looking for something at a bigger price, with Watford’s recent goal scoring record it makes sense to back a scoreless draw. You can back 0-0 at 12/1 with Skybet and Ladbrokes, which offers value when you take into account Watford’s lack of scoring in pre-season.