Claudio Ranieri
Our match preview with best bets for Watford v Liverpool in the Premier League

Watford v Liverpool tips: Premier League preview and best bets

Claudio Ranieri's spell at Watford begins with a visit from Liverpool and Tom Carnduff has found value in the stats markets.

Football betting tips: Premier League

1.5pts Watford to have 20+ tackles at 5/4 (Sky Bet)

1.5pts William Troost-Ekong to have 2+ tackles at 7/4 (Sky Bet)

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"Newcastle have already made a mess of things!" | Premier League best bets

You can't do a Watford preview at this stage of the season without using the phrase 'managerial merry-go-round' - so there you go, enjoy.

The latest to take a spot in the dugout is Claudio Ranieri - the mastermind behind Leicester's famous 2015/16 Premier League triumph. He's not too worried about the reputation of the club's owner when it comes to changing head coaches, although Watford's run of fixtures may see him in a tough position prior to Christmas.

They welcome Liverpool this week but it's then Everton (A), Southampton (H), Arsenal (A), Manchester United (H), Leicester (A), Chelsea (H) and Manchester City (H). The Hornets need to turn things around but the fixture list hasn't been kind to them at a time when they need it to be.

The Ranieri era - however short it may be - will be an interesting one to watch and they need to hit the ground running against tough opposition. Perhaps they could give Liverpool more of a game than the 3/10 price on an away win suggests.

Kick-off time: 12:30 BST, Saturday

TV channel: BT Sport 1

Watford 17/2 | Draw 17/4 | Liverpool 3/10


The issue with any managerial change is that you don't necessarily know what to expect. We can look at the data and Watford's performances this season but they have to change their approach if they are to change their fortunes - it shouldn't be the same Watford we've seen so far.

The only real way to approach it is to look at Claudio Ranieri's previous teams and one metric does stand out - tackles. Ranieri's Leicester team of 2015/16 topped the average tackles per game chart with 22.9. The next season, they sat sixth with 17.8 but it should be noted that he departed in February.

His next position at Nantes had them top the charts in Ligue 1 with 19.9 in 2017/18. We'll ignore spells at Fulham and Roma on the basis that he was only at each for a few months but the high count continued at Sampdoria.

Ranieri's top seasons there brought an average of 15.3 in 2018/19 (4th highest in Serie A) and then 15.2 (6th highest) the following season. Essentially, his teams do regularly post high tackles count - you can extend it to Monaco in 2013/14 with their 19.7 the 5th highest in Ligue 1.

Claudio Ranieri - tackles count

Watford's tackle count has been far from the highest - their 15.4 putting them 14th in the Premier League - but I'm willing to wager on the 5/4 for WATFORD TO HAVE 20+ TACKLES in this game.

It's one area we should see them improve in under Ranieri's guidance as that has been the case with most of his other teams. While only Leicester hit 20 or more on the averages, it's worth remembering that is what they are, averages. In an individual game, it's worth taking the gamble on the hosts hitting the 20 marker given the new man in charge.

There is also the fact that it's a new head coach with a good reputation, it's a fixture being played at home and it's against one of the Premier League's leading teams. It would be fair to hope that they will go above their usual numbers in this contest. They have, at least, hit 20 tackles against Wolves and Leeds already.

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Alongside team tackles, there is value in gambling in the player market and the 7/4 on WILLIAM TROOST-EKONG TO HAVE 2+ TACKLES looks a solid play. He's on a four-game run of having at least one tackle in each.

We've already looked at team tackles but the interesting point is how Ranieri's back line often play their part in this. The Leicester 2015/16 team saw their usual starting back-four combine for an average of 7.3 tackles per game. Near 32% of their tackles were coming from defence - similar here at a 20 marker should see Troost-Ekong play his part.

While Watford will be hoping for that new manager bounce, Liverpool should have the strength to see of their opponents, even if they may be missing Alisson and Fabinho due to international duty. Instead of looking at the result, the better value can be found in the team TACKLES where TROOST-EKONG can play his part.

Watford v Liverpool best bets and score prediction

  • 1.5pts Watford to have 20+ tackles at 5/4 (Sky Bet)
  • 1.5pts William Troost-Ekong to have 2+ tackles at 7/4 (Sky Bet)

Score prediction: Watford 1-2 Liverpool (Sky Bet odds: 7/1)

Odds correct at 1145 BST (14/10/21)

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