First Team 15/03/2018

Team News | Liverpool

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Javi Gracia said he is delighted that his defensive options have been increased with the news that Craig Cathcart is now fit enough to be considered for selection.

The Northern Ireland international has been out of action since the home game with Brighton because of a knee injury. He was the 19th man for the FA Cup game against Bristol City, but then he picked up a problem with his hip.

He returned to full training two weeks ago and has now been cleared to play. The former Manchester United defender is now vying with Miguel Britos for the reserve centre-half slot on the bench or he could come into contention should Gracia switch to three at the back.

“Craig is now fully training,” said the Head Coach. “He wasn't an option because he wasn't in the best condition, but he is improving day by day in training with the team. He is now an option.”

Javi Gracia talks to the assembled press

Gracia has been boosted recently by the return from injury of Kiko Femenía, Miguel Britos, Will Hughes and now Cathcart in a sign that the team's injury problems are gradually being resolved.

“I am always very pleased when these players recover after a process of injury,” said Gracia. “They are able to help the team. I am happy for them first of all and I am happy because I have more options to choose.”

Nathaniel Chalobah, Tom Cleverley, Christian Kabasele, Gerard Deulofeu, Younès Kaboul and Molla Wagué remain sidelined. 

“This week nobody new was training with the team,” said Gracia. “We need to wait more time for injured players. The rest are in a process of recovery.”

Heurelho Gomes in training at Watford's London Colney base

Heurelho Gomes also comes back into contention after missing the game against Arsenal.

“Heurelho had personal permission last week after the West Brom match and he didn't train with the team,” explained the Head Coach. “He did his first training with the team on Friday and I trained with Daniel [Bachmann] and Orestis [Karnezis] all week. And then on Saturday, when I prepare the list, I choose these options because I thought it was the best option for the team.

“He knew the reasons why he was out of the team because I explained to him. He came back on Friday and then the next day I have to do the list. It's clear to me to choose the players training all the week. There is no other reason.”

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First Team 15/03/2018

Home & Away | Liverpool

Watford 3

Liverpool 0

December 20, 2015, Premier League

Vicarage Road

Nathan Aké capitalised on poor handling from Adam Bogdan to open the scoring

One of the most memorable results in recent history for the Hornets saw Quique Sanchez Flores’ side dominate Liverpool at Vicarage Road. 

Adam Bogdan had a tough start in between the sticks for the Reds, dropping a Ben Watson corner for Nathan Aké to poke home from close-range after just three minutes.

Odion Ighalo then got in on the action, scoring a brace to seal a famous victory for the Golden Boys. For his first goal, Troy Deeney played a ball into space for Ighalo to run on to. The Nigerian striker held off Martin Skrtel before squeezing a shot away that found its way into the far corner off the post.

Valon Behrami's assist for Watford's third goal of the afternoon was inch-perfect

Substitute Valon Behrami then delivered a peach of a cross from an unfamiliar positon on the right of midfield, right onto Ighalo’s head for the forward’s second goal.

There could have been even more for Watford on that day, had Ighalo not slipped at one vital moment just yards from goal, or had Aké found the net once more from a header at the near post, but it didn’t matter as the Hornets' fans walked up Occupation Road singing their hearts out after a sparkling performance propelled the Golden Boys to seventh in the league.

Hornets XI: Gomes (GK); Nyom, Cathcart, Britos, Aké; Abdi (Behrami), Watson, Capoue, Jurado (Anya); Ighalo (Guédioura), Deeney. 

Reds XI: Bogdan (GK); Clyne, Skrtel (Origi), Sakho, Moreno; Henderson, Lucas, Can; Lallana, Firmino, Coutinho.

Odion Ighalo performed his trademark celebration with Harry the Hornet after scoring his third goal

Liverpool 0

Watford 1

August 14, 1999, Premier League

Anfield

Two Watford centre-halves combined to assist Tommy Mooney in an unusual fashion

Watford had lost their first two games in the Premier League, but left Anfield with all three points thanks to Tommy Mooney.

Richard Johnson stung the palms of Sander Westerveld early on after being teed up just outside the area, and Liverpool had chances of their own, but Watford’s resolute defending ensured the Reds drew a blank at home.

Mooney put the Hornets ahead in just under a quarter-of-an-hour, after Liverpool failed to deal with Peter Kennedy’s in-swinging free-kick from the right-wing.

Mooney got a touch on the initial delivery, but a combination of Mark Williams and Robert Page sliding in to prevent a Liverpool clearance gave Mooney a gilt-edged opportunity to score from inside the six-yard box.

Chris Day made some superb saves to keep the Hornets in the game

Chris Day made a good save from Jamie Redknapp’s fizzing effort, and a two further stops against Patrik Berger in the first-half gave the Golden Boys something to hold on to going into the break.

Mooney could have seen another hit the back of the net if not for the post, and Micah Hyde saw his chip cleared off the line, but Watford recorded their first win of the season in the sunshine at Anfield - still to this day the Hornets' only away win at Liverpool.

Reds XI: Westerveld (GK); Heggem (Song), Hyppiä, Carragher, Matteo; Smicer (Riedle), Redknapp, Gerrard (Thompson), Berger; Fowler, Camara.

Hornets XI: Day (GK); Lyttle, Williams, Page, Robinson; Hyde, Palmer, Johnson (Easton); Ngonge (Foley), Mooney, Kennedy.

This was Graham Taylor's first win in the top flight in his second spell in charge of Watford