Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool have had some unusual preparation for Watford this week. The Hornets host the Reds in their first post-international break action.
International football is done for now and the Premier League is back. Liverpool can’t exactly put it out of their minds, however.
The break has had a huge impact on the squad, leaving Curtis Jones injured, Diogo Jota recovering from an injury, and Alisson & Fabinho missing after Brazil’s late fixture.
Not easy for Jurgen Klopp, then, who also has fixtures against Atletico Madrid and Manchester United next week to think about. A catalogue of missing players doesn’t make for easy preparation.
But that’s not the only awkward thing about this fixture. This will also be Claudio Ranieri’s first game as Watford boss, leaving Liverpool unsure about things.
Klopp admits that the Reds don’t really know what’s coming. In fact, they’ve had the unusual task of watching another team’s games in preparation for Watford.
Klopp on awkward Watford preparation
“The preparation was now obviously slightly different,” Klopp explained in his Friday press conference. “We actually watched more situations of Sampdoria games than Watford games to prepare the Watford game because obviously, Claudio has a specific way, how he is usually doing.
“But the main message for this game for us is we have to focus on ourselves – not only because we don’t know what the opponent is doing but as well because of that.”
This could be a tough one, then. Liverpool don’t know what to expect here and can only really go off of Ranieri’s Sampdoria work to see what he’s thinking.
But that’s the difficulty with facing a new manager. Liverpool haven’t had to do that since December 2019 when, bizarrely, they faced Watford in Nigel Pearson’s first game in charge.
The Reds won that game 2-0 thanks to a Mohamed Salah brace but fans will likely remember the return fixture more. Liverpool went to Vicarage Road and lost 3-0 – their first defeat of the title-winning campaign.
We’ll still back Liverpool to win tomorrow, of course. There’s no doubt, however, that preparation for this one has been far from ideal.