1.14pm EST 13:14 44 min Wijnaldum reacts aggressively after a foul from Hughes. It looked a bit of a snide one from Hughes, so you can understand why Wijnaldum was so hacked off. 1.13pm EST 13:13 43 min After a confident run, Sarr shoots high over from the edge of the box. 1.12pm EST 13:12
44 min Wijnaldum reacts aggressively after a foul from Hughes. It looked a bit of a snide one from Hughes, so you can understand why Wijnaldum was so hacked off.
43 min After a confident run, Sarr shoots high over from the edge of the box.
43 min “A grim XI there, Millings,” says Matt Dony. “Presumably, Troy ‘Dead’ Parrott was left out on account of the fact that he may not actually exist beyond the fevered imagination of Spurs fans and journalists.”
42 min Deeney is lucky not to be booked for a late tackle on Alexander-Arnold.
41 min This performance isn’t going to do much for Liverpool’s xG.
38 min “I think Liverpool are running on fumes at the moment,” says Rick Harris. “ They know they’ve won the league so in the players’ minds there is less mental urgency than was there earlier in the season. They’ve come close to defeat recently against teams in the relegation battle or mid-table and seemed to find it very hard to raise their game after the winter break in the CL against Atletico. I think neutral and Liverpool fans are hoping they can eclipse the Invincibles and stay unbeaten the whole season, but they could just get unlucky.”
37 min Deulofeu is finally stretchered off, with Pereyra replacing him.
34 min Roberto Pereyra is getting ready to replace Deulofeu, who is going to be stretchered off. The poor bloke is in all sorts of distress.
32 min Deulofeu is down, holding his knee, after being eased to the floor by van Dijk. No foul was given, but Michael Oliver stopped play when he realised that Deulofeu was in a lot of pain. His foot got stuck as he fell and he twisted his knee. This doesn’t look good.
29 min Wijnaldum, facing his own goal, hacks the ball clear under pressure from Doucoure. Watford continue to make life difficult for Liverpool, which will make their eventual defeat all the more frustrating.
27 min “Is it just me or does Klopp overplay his front three?” says Zafar Sobhan. “He does such a good job of rotating elsewhere; his overuse of his forward line is baffling to me. It won’t matter this year – except maybe in Europe – but in past years they have been susceptible to injury and fatigue in the run in.”
I used to think that as well, but it doesn’t seem to do much harm. They seem immune to fatigue.
24 min Nothing much to report. Watford have done pretty well so far, and have certainly had the better opportunities.
20 min A Liverpool corner is half-cleared to Oxlade-Chamberlain. He lifts a speculative pass over the outrushing defence that eventually reaches Salah, and he spanks a right-footed half-volley into the side netting. It was a pretty difficult chance.
18 min Lovren hammers a brilliant crossfield pass to Robertson, who tries to run Sarr inside the area and is doggedly dispossessed.
18 min Oxlade-Chamberlain’s pass towards Robertson goes straight out of play. Liverpool are not on their game, at least not yet.
15 min Deulofeu plays a one-two with Deeney and picks out an excellent cutback to Doucoure, whose first-time shot is blocked almost disdainfully by van Dijk. Corner to Watford.
14 min Watford are playing like the away side, allowing Liverpool to have the ball and then springing forward in numbers when they win it. Liverpool’s passing has been a bit slow by their standards.
12 min “I take it Mac Millings’ Death XI play their home matches at Croak Park?” says Peter Oh. “And there’s no room in the squad for Virgil Van Dijd, Jordan Enderson, and No Mo’ Salah?”
Well this is cheery. No Mo!
11 min Wijnaldum is this close to being robbed by Hughes in his own area. Watford are a threat going forward.
10 min A much better effort from Deulofeu. He runs at Alexander-Arnold on the edge of the box, cuts inside and whips a curling shot towards the far corner that goes just over the bar. I’m not sure Alisson had that one covered.
8 min “Sitting in theology seminar reading MBM, hoping not to be caught,” writes YOU THERE I KNOW YOU’RE READING THE MBM ARE MY SEMINARS THAT BLOODY BORING. “But I don’t think the Reds need a prayer from me to spank Watford, god bless their yellow hearts. Onward Liverpool!!”
I think this will be a tough game for Liverpool, and they’ll win 3-1.
7 min Liverpool enjoy an extended spell of possession. Eventually Alexander-Arnold lofts an excellent pass to Oxlade-Chamberlain on the right side of the box. He is held up but returns the ball to Alexander-Arnold, whose cross goes out of play. I think he was pushed but nothing was given.
5 min Deulofeu cuts infield from the left and hit a low shot that goes a few yards wide of the near post. Alisson had it covered.
1 min Peep peep! Liverpool kick off from left to right as I watch. They are in red; Watford are sporting yellow.
“I don’t want to bore you with my whole train of thought,” says Mac Millings. “But I was going to do a Leap Year XI, and then the afternoon results came in, and Watford are playing Liverpool, and I ended up doing a Death one instead. Don’t worry, I’m fine, and everything is going to be fine:
- Pepe Reinacarnation
- Johnny Heavens
- Cemeterry Butcher
- Robert Huthanasia
- Gunnar Valhalle
- Death Johnson
- Johnny Met God
- Djibril Decissé
- St. Peter Crouch
- Purgatore André Flo
- Luis Boa Mortality.
Johnny Met God. Yeah, I like that.
Watford (4-2-3-1) Foster; Kiko Femenia, Kabasele, Cathcart, Masina; Hughes, Capoue; Sarr, Doucoure, Deulofeu; Deeney.
Substitutes: Gomes, Dawson, Chalobah, Pussetto, Pereyra, Welbeck, Gray.
Liverpool (4-3-3) Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, van Dijk, Robertson; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane.
Substitutes: Adrian, Matip, Hoever, Lallana, Jones, Minamino, Origi.
Referee Michael Oliver.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of Watford v Liverpool from Vicarage Road. Even allowing for the received wisdom that football is a funny old game, it would be seriously bizarre if Liverpool were denied their first title for 30 years because of a pandemic.
If the coronavirus does not end the season early, Liverpool need 12 points from their last 11 games to clinch their first Premier League title. They could still do it at Everton on 16 March, the third of those 11 games, should Manchester City drop points in the meantime. For the time being, their focus is on beating Watford and extending their lead to 25 points. Yawn, meh, 25 points.
Hang on, 25 points?! I’m not sure Liverpool are getting enough credit. You might not like them, you might think the Premier League is a bit naff, you might be sick of the sight of Jurgen Klopp’s teeth, but come on: they’ve won 35 of their last 36 league games FFS! That has never happened before in Europe’s biggest leagues. In fact, their record this season – P27 W26 D1 L0 – belongs in Sunday League football.
There is one difference. A team with 26 wins from 27 in Sunday League football would have a goal difference of around +200. Liverpool’s is a mere +47, and 13 of their 26 victories this season have been by a single goal – many of them requiring late winners. That might be the reason for the slightly muted response to win after win after win; it feels like Manchester City received more effusive praise two years ago when they regularly thumped teams by four or five.
I also think there’s an element of everyone – even Liverpool fans – struggling to get their head around such unprecedented threepointery. Or maybe the world is full of Expected Goals disciples. Liverpool are second in the xG table, although an Expected Win tonight will move them within two Expected Points of Manchester City.
I’d argue that Liverpool having to work so hard for many wius actually enhances rather than diminishes their achievement. The soundbites may be cheesy but they’re also true: Liverpool are mentality monsters, the toughest in English football for a long while.
Watford played well in a 2-0 defeat at Anfield in December, so you never know what might happen tonight. But 106 points from the last 108 available should give you a pretty good idea.
Kick off is at 5.30pm.