Summer break has ended and the new Premier League season has finally arrived. Liverpool’s final preparations ahead of the season opener at Watford have been far from ideal due to injuries to a number of key players, coupled by the failed pursuit of transfer targets.
New signing Mohamed Salah and the shrewd signing of Dominic Solanke proved to be good business as both players impressed during the pre-season. With the addition of Salah, more pace and goals are added to the Liverpool attack.
Jurgen Klopp will be hoping for a strong start this year as his side is ready to line up for the first of five games across two fronts in 15 days.
Watford had an average last season with an awful run with five straight losses at the end of the season. This led to the appointment of new manager, Marco Silva, and he has since added some exciting young players like Will Hughes and Nathaniel Chalobah. Club-record signing Andre Gray should feature, while fellow new recruit Richarlison has received his work permit and might start as well.
Adam Lallana is sidelined with a thigh injury, sustained against Atletico Madrid in the Audi Cup final shootout defeat, and is out for a minimum of two months. Coutinho who is being courted by Barcelona with two rejected bids is a doubt having been unable to train thus far this week due to a back problem.
Daniel Sturridge has been nursing a thigh issue after scoring against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena while Nathaniel Clyne has also been ruled out of the opener due to match fitness.
Troy Deeney is set to sit out the game due to a groin complaint while Mauro Zarate, meanwhile, remains a long-term absentee for the Hornets having been injured in a 1-1 draw with West Ham in February.
Liverpool Potential Starting Line-Up
With Danny Ward performance in pre-season, it hints that there might be a three-way fight for the number one spot this season. However, Simon Mignolet will likely kick off the campaign as Liverpool’s number one over Loris Karius.
The midfield trio most likely to start will be the returning Jordan Henderson, Emre Can and Gini Wijnaldum. Right-back position will be a battle between Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold, with the latter likely to get the nod.
With Sturridge injured, it is almost certain that Roberto Firmino will operate as the focal point of the attack as Sadio Mane and Salah take the left and right wings respectively.
Predicted Starting Line-Up
Mignolet, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Lovren, Moreno; Henderson, Can, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane.