Liverpool at Watford -Premier League Pick and Prediction for August 12th

by Taylor Smith
on August 11, 2017

Liverpool -1 (EVEN) at Watford +1 (-125)

  • Moneyline: Liverpool -175, Watford +475, Draw +305
  • Total: 2 ½

Following a promising season that saw them finish fourth in the league, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool will head to Vicarage Road to take on Watford to kick off the 2017-18 Premier League campaign.

Unfortunately, there’s now a tremendous distraction for the Reds with the news coming down Friday that star man Philippe Coutinho submitted a transfer request. The team reportedly denied the request instantly, but this could be something hanging over the team all season long. Coutinho is likely gone for Barcelona at some point, but the club is adamant that he will not be sold ahead of next summer.

Coutinho is also dealing with a back issue, which means he’s set to miss the season opener against the Hornets. Liverpool will also be without key contributors in Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana, and Nathaniel Clyne. Even so, the Reds are expected to get off on the right foot against a relegation candidate in Watford.

Even without Coutinho, Lallana, and Sturridge in attack, there’s still oodles of talent in the Liverpool side. Newcomer Mohamed Salah looked like a natural fit during the preseason when he bagged four goals. Roberto Firmino, who served as a false-9 striker for much of last season, may slide back into midfield, which means either Dominic Solanke or Divock Origi will likely step in at striker.

Jordan Henderson is back, and Gini Wijnaldum will likely partner with the captain in deep midfield. If needed, Emre Can and James Milner are also serviceable midfield options.

The question for Liverpool this season will be whether they can keep the ball out of their own net. The only move they made to improve the defense this offseason was signing right back Andrew Robertson from Hull. The Reds conceded 42 goals last season, which was the worst mark of any team in the top-four.

However, Watford isn’t exactly a dynamic attacking squad. They scored 40 goals last season as they narrowly avoided relegation and finished 17th. They will be without leading scorer and captain Troy Deeney up front, which obviously won’t help their goal-scoring efforts. Newcomer Andre Gray will almost certainly lead the line in his place.

The over/under in this game looks low. Liverpool was one of England’s most impressive attacking sides last season. While they’ll be sans a few big names, they still have plenty of speed and talent left in the side to do damage against a weak side like Watford. We think they can surpass the 2 ½ goal total on their own, as they did in last year’s season-opening 4-3 win over Arsenal.

There isn’t a ton of value in taking Liverpool to win at -175, but hammering the over on goals is the play.
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