First Team 28/02/2020

Dawson: “It's Going To Be A Great Test For Us”

Craig Dawson is relishing the opportunity to come up against one of the greatest forward lines of the Premier League era this weekend.

Watford have beaten Manchester United and held Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur to draws at Vicarage Road this season and, although Liverpool pose another level of threat, the centre-half insists the Hornets will not be giving them too much respect.

“It’s obviously going to be a great test for us, Liverpool are having a great season, so we know it’s going to be a difficult game, but one we’re looking forward to,” said Dawson.

“You’re a professional footballer because you want to play against the best and test yourself against the best. We know it’s not going to be easy but as a professional footballer you want to play against the best players in the world and Liverpool have a few of those at the moment.

“It’s not going to be an easy one but if we prepare well for the game, hopefully we can do well and get the three points.”

A result against Liverpool would be a perfect platform for the Hornets to build on going into the final three months of the season. Dawson maintains the team are not shying away from how realistic the threat of relegation is, but knows the quality is there to climb the table.

“You can’t hide away from the fact we’re in this position, but we know we can get ourselves out of it,” he said.

“We have to take each game as it comes and work hard on the training pitch, which we are doing, and then we’ve got some good games coming up that we look forward to.

“You’ve just got to take each game as it comes, work hard during the week and do your best for that game. There’s no point looking any further than that, we know the position we’re in, but we’ve got some good games coming up, starting on Saturday.”

Despite the disappointing February which followed an outstanding December and January for the Hornets, heads have not dropped and positivity is still abundant at the club’s London Colney training ground, according to the 29-year-old.

“We’ve had a few unfortunate results but the spirit in the group is still high,” said Dawson.

“Performances have been good, training has been good, so it’s nice to be back and hopefully we can get the performance and the result.

“The fans are massively important, we’ve probably not given them too much to cheer about this year, which is probably the most disappointing thing. But, in the games when we have given them something to cheer about, they’ve really got behind us and been the 12th man, and obviously we need that in every single game until the last game of the season.”


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First Team 28/02/2020

Match Pack: Watford v Liverpool

As the Hornets prepare to host Liverpool in the Premier League, here is everything you need to know about the fixture...


INFO

Watford v Liverpool
Premier League
Vicarage Road Stadium
Saturday Feburary 29, 5.30pm GMT

HOW TO FOLLOW

  • Live audio commentary of the match will be available at watfordfc.com and via the official Watford FC app HERE.
  • This match will be broadcast live on Sky Sports.
  • Find live coverage and behind-the-scenes content on our social channels!

OFFICIALS

Referee: Michael Oliver
Assistants: Stuart Burt, Simon Bennett
Fourth Official: Jonathan Moss
VAR: Mike Dean
Assistant VAR: Darren Cann


TEAM NEWS

Nigel Pearson reported that the Hornets are nearly back to full fitness after Daryl Janmaat (knee) resumed training with the first team this week. Ismaïla Sarr, Kiko Femenía and Danny Welbeck (all hamstring) are also edging closer to being available to start.

Jürgen Klopp reported that Jordan Henderson (hamstring), Xherdan Shaqiri (calf) and James Milner (muscle) are making good progress in their recoveries but will remain absent from this weekend's match. Nathaniel Clyne (knee) is back in training but hasn't featured for Liverpool since December 2018.


OPPOSITION FORM

Liverpool have run away with the league this season and sit 22 points clear at the top of the table going into Matchweek 28. Last time out, the Reds won their 18th top-flight match in a row, equalling Manchester City's record for the most consecutive Premier League wins, and they will be looking to beat this record against Watford. Liverpool have two players in the Premier League's top 10 goalscorers list – Mohamed Salah (15) and Sadio Mané (13). They also have the league's best defence, as they have conceded only 17 times. The one team to prevent them from winning a Premier League match this campaign is Manchester United, who earned a draw in October.


HEAD TO HEAD

Overall:

Won 5, Drawn 4, Lost 24

Last Six:

Dec 2019: Liverpool 2-0 Watford (Premier League)
Feb 2019: Liverpool 5-0 Watford (Premier League)
Nov 2018: Watford 0-3 Liverpool (Premier League)
Mar 2018: Liverpool 5-0 Watford (Premier League)
Aug 2017: Watford 3-3 Liverpool (Okaka, Doucouré, Britos) (Premier League)
May 2017: Watford 0-1 Liverpool (Premier League)


GOLDEN FLASHBACK

December 20, 2015: Watford 3-0 Liverpool

The Hornets made it four consecutive Premier League wins in December 2015 with a convincing home win against Jürgen Klopp's Liverpool. There was an element of fortune about the opening goal, as goalkeeper Adam Bogdan dropped a cross to allow Nathan Aké to score, but the Hornets grew in confidence from that moment and scored twice more through Odion Ighalo.


PLAYED FOR BOTH 

David James

A member of the Watford FC Hall of Fame, David James came through the club's Academy during the 1980s and appeared 98 times for the Golden Boys before leaving to join Liverpool in 1992. The England international goalkeeper stayed at Anfield for seven seasons, before going on on to appear for six other Football League clubs. He ended his career with spells in Iceland and India. 


WHAT ARE THEY SAYING? 

Nigel Pearson:

“We have got our own agenda and that is to save our own season. If the players can prove they are capable of playing against the best side in the country, I think that's the motivation the players need.

“We have to win games for our own season – not to change history for another club. It's about our season, our circumstances. If you go into games writing them off because you are playing against a top side, you limit your opportunities to pick up points.

“We have to go out there and give it our best. If we are at our best, and they are not, then who knows.”

Jürgen Klopp:

“It was not flexible enough [the Liverpool performance against West Ham], it was not unpredictable enough, we were too easy to defend, we didn’t really come through.

“In other situations we were too high on the wings, we lost the ball, counter-attacks, stuff like that, but the main problem of the game was second balls and set-pieces because without these problems, West Ham wouldn’t have had a lot of the game.

“That was what we had to solve because that will be similar [against Watford]. From Foster to Deeney will be a frequently used option for Watford, we have to be there and make sure we win much more second balls and then we can use these balls.”