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Liverpool 2, Watford 0: First Thoughts

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Liverpool's B-squad today were 5 goals better against Watford than the A-squad were in December.

Flying Red Panda.
Flying Red Panda.
Jan Kruger/Getty Images

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Liverpool 2: Allen 35', Firmino 76'
Watford 0:

  • Pre-game Thoughts: It's weird to be legitimately sad that this is a Premier League game, and not another European Night. Still, it's Liverpool and I hope we win. And I hope Flanno tackles someone into the 20th row. Game on! 

  • Three minutes in and we're not down a goal yet. Already beating our efforts from last match against the Hornets! 

  • Ighalo blows past a nearly-stationary Martin Skrtel and would have been through on goal had Alberto Moreno not tracked back and put the striker under pressure. Could have easily been 1-0 there. 

  • So, Ighalo is going to give us hell today. He's already had three half-chances in the first 8 minutes. He very nearly chipped Mignolet from 40 yards. He had the Belgian beat, but the effort just cleared the crossbar. 

  • Coutinho goes close! He's been put through a couple times on the left-hand side, and this most recent venture into the box saw the Brazilian cut it back onto his right foot, and attempt to curl the ball into the far post. The shot was deflect out for a corner. Good stuff from the little magician so far. 

  • Liverpool were enjoying a nice spell of possession as they looked for a way to get behind Watford's backline. Moreno decided he had had enough, and blasted a long shot well over the bar and into the stands. 

  • Half of the first half gone, and Liverpool have already earned 5 corners. Granted, none of them have been particularly dangerous. But still. If only we were playing a stereotypical large, target-man striker... 

  • Skrtel loses Ighalo again on a ball over the top that the experienced defender should really do better with. However, he recovered just enough to put the ball out of play for a corner. 

  • And just when I'm talking shit about Skrtel he comes up with an important block on a shot from outside the box. 

  • ***GOAL!*** Joe Allen, sporting a top-knot, puts Liverpool in front with about 10 minutes left to play in the half. The Welsh international earns a free kick. Coutinho takes the free kick and finds Benteke in the box with an inch-perfect chip. Benteke nods it into the path of an on-rushing Allen, who puts the effort on target. 

  • Halftime Thoughts: So, leading by a goal at the half is more fun than trailing by two, as was the case last time we faced Watford. Liverpool have had the lion's share of the possession so far, though Watford have looked dangerous on a couple of occasions on the counter. It would be nice if this side could hold onto a halftime lead, something they've struggled with in the Premier League recently. 

  • Coutinho and Benteke nearly combine for a well-worked goal, but the Brazilian's final touch lets him down. Phil played Benteke in on goal with a peach of a through ball. Benteke played it wide and then squared it for Coutinho who made the long run into the box. Coutinho only needed to pass the ball into the net, but mistimed his effort and the ball dribbled harmlessly over the touchline. 

  • Skrtel is trying his hardest to give away a penalty. Seems like a good bet that he'll succeed before the final whistle. 

  • Great save by Mignolet! He's not had much to do today, but he came up big on that occasion. Ighalo gave Moreno the slip, and then fired a shot from just inside the box. Migs was at full stretch to get a palm to that goal-bound effort, and Liverpool maintain their slim lead.

  • Benteke takes a Britos karate kick to the chest, and the Watford player is duly booked. It didn't look to have any malicious intent behind it, as Britos appeared to be unaware of Benteke. Still, ouchie. 

  • Coutinho, who has looked the best player on the pitch by some distance, comes off in the sixty-first minute for his Brazilian compatriot, Roberto Firmino. Firmino immediately gets involved in the attack, and hits a shot straight at the keeper. 

  • Flanno booking klaxon! The young Scouse fullback goes in for an old-school challenge, and, well, you can't do that these days. 

  • Allen gives away a free kick in a very dangerous area just outside the box, but Abdi's effort just clears the bar. 

  • Seventy minutes in and Watford are really pushing for that equalizer with their first sustained pressure of the match. 

  • ***GOAL!*** Roberto Firmino doubles the lead! Some smart pressing by Ojo causes a deflection on a pass, which falls right into the path of Roberto Firmino. The Brazilian drives straight at the Watford defense and shoots a low, hard shot at goal. Gomes probably should have done better to keep it out, but his palm wasn't strong enough and the ball carried on into the back of the net. 

  • Watford almost respond immediately as Ighalo is played through, but can only find the side netting with his powerful shot. 

  • Youth brigade! Ojo comes off for Cameron Brannagan. 

  • Benteke 1v1 with the keeper? I think you know the result...

  • Great link-up play between Lucas and Firmino. Lucas plays Firmino who did well to get back onside before the pass. Firmino gets to the byline and fires a low cross that Benteke just can't manage to get on the end of. Then Ibe fires the shot from a tight angle into the side netting and the chance is gone. 

  • Last substitution of the day, Randall comes on for Alberto Moreno, who has put in a good, if unspectacular, shift today. 

  • Brannagan puts in a peach of a cross to pick out Benteke at the back post, but the striker can't put the big chance away as the headed effort harmlessly flies over the crossbar. 

  • Full Time Thoughts: Kind of a weird match, but it always was going to be after the madness on Thursday night. Eight changes to the squad? No problem. The cobbled together B-squad puts together a comprehensive performance, and they always looked the better of the two sides today. The result doesn't do much league-wise, as the Reds remain in 8th place. 

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We'll be back shortly to take an in-depth look at everything that happened in today's game with the full recap. Until then, let us know your take on the ups and downs of the match in the comments, and if you haven't already, join the community on the Liverpool Offside, where we'll have full coverage and lively in-game discussion for every match this season.