Belfast Telegraph

Walter Mazzarri braced for Liverpool test

Watford head coach Walter Mazzarri believes trying to contain free-scoring Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday will be a big test of his team's character.

The Hornets are looking for their fourth consecutive clean sheet and have already beaten Manchester United this season but Jurgen Klopp's side are likely to offer their sternest examination yet.

Liverpool have won eight out of their last nine games and are unbeaten in 11, a run of form that has seen them shoot up into the Premier League title race.

Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane have 12 goals between them already and arguably form the deadliest attack in the division.

Watford have also made a strong start under Mazzarri, but he admits Liverpool's energy and the atmosphere at Anfield will pose a different type of challenge.

"From my point of view this is a great test because I always tell my players the important thing is their mentality," Mazzarri said.

"They always have to concentrate on the pitch and think only about what is on the pitch and nothing else, mainly for the away games.

"This is a great test for me because I want to see if they are ready to play against one of the great teams at a very high level."

Watford have lost only once in their last seven matches, with victories over United, West Ham, Middlesbrough and Hull giving Mazzarri's side momentum ahead of this weekend's clash.

"We have to grow," Mazzarri said. "I always had teams in the past that had an idea and a way of thinking and to change the mentality to make them grow.

"I call them steps. The first one was West Ham and then Manchester United. This is another step. If we want to grow, these are very important games for us."

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