Football

Brazilian battle at Anfield

Gomes can shut out compatriots Coutinho and Firmino, says Mazzarri

LIVERPOOL v WATFORD

(Tonight, 10.15pm, Singtel TV Ch 102 & 
StarHub TV Ch 227)

Watford boss Walter Mazzarri is backing his goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes to win the battle of the Brazilians against Liverpool tonight.

Gomes will be tasked with keeping out fellow countrymen Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino, who have already struck eight goals between them this season.

The deadly duo have helped Liverpool win eight of their last nine matches and climb to third in the Premier League table, level on points with Arsenal and Manchester City before last night's matches.

Mazzarri admitted that together, Coutinho and Firmino form one of the best attacks in the division.

"Yes, in my opinion, they are one of the best," Mazzarri said.

"These are Brazilian problems, so we hope they cancel each other out and it means we will not concede a goal.

"Gomes is a great goalkeeper, so hopefully he will do his best on Sunday and we will see how it goes.

"If we look at their performances on the pitch, yes it answers the question by itself.

"Aside from just them, it's the way Liverpool play, their performance, not only the forwards but also the whole team."

Coutinho left Inter Milan in January 2013, just before Mazzarri took charge at the San Siro, but the Hornets head coach is well aware of the midfielder's talent.

"Coutinho is a player I like and he has characteristics I admire a lot," Mazzarri said.

GREAT STEP

"He left just before I got to Inter. When he was at Inter, he was very young. At Liverpool, he matured a lot, he made a great step, but it was the same concept as before.

"The forwards play well and better when they have the team behind them. So Coutinho probably found that better than at Inter."

If Liverpool boast one of the Premier League's most potent attacks, Watford have developed an impressive resilience at the back, having registered three consecutive clean sheets.

Michael Dawson's own-goal meant the Hornets overcame Hull last weekend without managing a single shot on target, but Mazzarri insists his side possess more than just a strong defence.

"It's about more than just defending well, it's about Watford creating and how many chances we make," Mazzarri said.

"It's not because I'm an Italian coach, I'm Walter Mazzarri, it's very important my team play on the attack and, at the same time, are ready to defend.

"Against Hull, we created seven or eight chances to score while Hull had only one." - PA Sport.


6

Philippe Coutinho has had a hand in six goals in his last six EPL appearances for Liverpool (two goals, four assists).

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