What next for Watford and Ranieri after 5-0 loss to Liverpool?
Football is mathematics
Favourites English> Settings>
Close[X]

My Leagues

Popular Leagues

Other Leagues

What next for Watford and Ranieri after 5-0 loss to Liverpool?

19 October 2021 | Premier League | Opinion
737
What next for Watford and Ranieri after 5-0 loss to Liverpool?
Peter_Fleming / Shutterstock.com

Xisco Munoz’s sacking at Watford was perfectly timed. Watford had the October international break to bring in a new manager and prepare for life post-Xisco.

Premier League winner Claudio Ranieri was signed as manager after working wonders at Sampdoria in 2019-20 to keep the team in Serie A. Sampdoria were in last place when Ranieri joined the club.

Ranieri led Sampdoria to a 15th-place finish and followed it up in 2020-21 with a ninth-place finish with a team short on talent. Watford were in a similar place when Ranieri took over in mid-October and Ranieri’s task was just as difficult.

His first match in charge of the Hornets did not go well as Liverpool romped to a 5-0 win at Vicarage Road. While the attacking play wasn’t great, there were positive signs from Watford throughout the game.

The Hornets recorded six shots with two on target. Watford were never expected to defeat Liverpool regardless of who the manager was on the day.

There were signs of the team being more organised and hope for better performances should be high – although listening to Jermain Jenas’ commentary during the match you would have thought Watford played the worst game of the season of all 20 Premier League sides.

Watford now have games against Everton and Southampton in the league up next. Despite Everton’s mid-table position, Watford can go to Goodison Park and get points. Meanwhile, the team’s home fixture versus Southampton is a relegation six-point affair.

Ahead of matchday 9, Watford sit in 16th place with seven points from 24 on offer. Four points separate Watford and the bottom three. While the Hornets haven’t been very good, they have been better than the teams in the current bottom three of the league.

Watford have scored seven goals across eight matches while conceding 15 times. Five of those goals conceded came against Liverpool on Ranieri’s debut.

Ranieri needs to find ways to get striker Ismaila Sarr more involved than he was against Liverpool. Sarr still had three shots with one on target. He only had 31 touches, however. Sarr has the potential to be Watford’s Sadio Mane or Mohamed Salah, and lead the side to a mid-table finish.

If Ranieri can exploit the youngster’s potential, Watford should score plenty of goals. The problem Watford had against Liverpool was the left-side of defence.

Danny Rose was shredded throughout the game by Salah. The former Tottenham player looked more like a Championship defender rather than a Premier League star. What Ranieri needs to do is to address the left-side of the defence and most likely bench Rose.

Ranieri deployed a 5-4-1 formation. It was done to slow down Liverpool’s attack, which didn’t occur. The Italian manager could revert back to 4-4-2 against weaker Premier League sides. A 4-4-2 formation playing on the counter worked at Leicester City and led to the Premier League title.

With Sarr’s pace and finishing and the return of Joao Pedro, Ranieri could use the two forwards as the equivalent of Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez at Leicester City. Watford may have lost 5-0 to Liverpool, but they should be better against Everton and Southampton in the coming weeks.

Ranieri worked wonders at Leicester City and Sampdoria, achieving two different objectives. He should come good once more and keep the Hornets in the Premier League.

Premier League
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1
Chelsea 29 12 9 2 1 30 4 26
2
Manchester City 26 12 8 2 2 25 6 19
3
Liverpool 25 12 7 4 1 35 11 24
4
West Ham 23 12 7 2 3 23 14 9
5
Arsenal 20 12 6 2 4 13 17 -4
6
Wolverhampton 19 12 6 1 5 12 12 0
7
Tottenham 19 12 6 1 5 11 17 -6
8
Manchester United 17 12 5 2 5 20 21 -1
9
Brighton 17 12 4 5 3 12 14 -2
10
Crystal Palace 16 12 3 7 2 18 17 1
11
Everton 15 12 4 3 5 16 19 -3
12
Leicester City 15 12 4 3 5 16 21 -5
13
Southampton 14 12 3 5 4 11 14 -3
14
Brentford 13 12 3 4 5 16 17 -1
15
Aston Villa 13 12 4 1 7 16 20 -4
16
Watford 13 12 4 1 7 16 20 -4
17
Leeds United 11 12 2 5 5 12 20 -8
18
Burnley 9 12 1 6 5 14 20 -6
19
Norwich City 8 12 2 2 8 7 27 -20
20
Newcastle United 6 12 0 6 6 15 27 -12

Top trends