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Watford 0, Liverpool 1: First Thoughts

An Emre Can screamer is the difference, and Liverpool escape with all three points.

Watford v Liverpool - Premier League Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Watford 0:
Liverpool 1: Can 45’+2

  • Pre-match Thought: Who’s nervous? Not me, nope nope nope. So what if I’ve switched from beer to whisky on a Monday night? Shut up, stop judging me. Anyway, looks like Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge start on the bench. The optimist in me says, “Oh, Lallana’s work ethic and pressing will really be great against tired legs.” The pessimist in me says, “FUCKING START LALLANA!” Hold on to your butts.
  • Scary moment early as Philippe Coutinho is kicked by...several Watford defenders at the edge of the box and immediately grabs the back of his thigh. Will “hamstring” be the shit word of 2017 too? Phil returns to the pitch, but he’s carrying a severe limp and Lallana is warming up. Not. Good.
  • Twelve minutes in and Lallana comes on for Coutinho who immediately heads down the tunnel. Fuck.
  • Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Liverpool are keeping the lion’s share of the possession, but look very vulnerable on the counter.
  • Monday Night is (apparently) all right for injuries. Watford this time have to take off Miguel Britos. He’s replaced by Christian Kabasele.
  • Emre Can produces the first shot on target of the night in the twenty-second minute: a venomous left-footed effort from outside the box, but from that distance it would have taken something extra-special to make the net bulge.
  • Livepool have had a little joy attacking down the left side, but not much else. James Milner, Roberto Firmino, and Divock Origi have all managed to beat their man and get crosses in from that side, but the final ball was lacking each time.
  • Lallana nearly scores a goal of the season candidate with a dipping, left-footed volley from outside the box. The shot beat the ‘keeper, hit the underside of the bar, bounced just in front of goal, and away. FUCK.
  • Lucas just got booked for diving in the box. Lucas.
  • And Firmino gets called for a foul throw. Ugh.
  • GOAL! NO THAT WAS THE MOTHERFUCKING GOAL OF THE SEASON! In stoppage time, Lucas picks out Can’s run into the box. Instead of taking down, holding it up, trying to play in a teammate, Emre just decided to attempt a bicycle kick, and boy did he pull it off. Contract negotiations? As Teddy KGB once said, “Pay that man his money.”
  • Halftime thought: Well, besides the nearly spectacular from Lallana and the actually spectacular from Can, Liverpool have looked largely toothless in attack. But then that happened. So. Also, Phil looks like he might be done for the season, because even when Liverpool are winning, the football gods need to take something for collateral. Please get another goal or three, Liverpool. My heart has had just about enough this season.
  • Milner picks out a Firmino run, and the Brazillian is immediately and cynically brought down on the edge of the box. Unlike with Coutinho earlier, the incident did result in a free kick, and did not result in an injury.
  • Now Origi goes close, making Gomes work with a curling effort that was bound for the far post. The Belgian striker appears to be growing into the game, with a handful of dangerous runs and some decent hold-up play.
  • ...And there Origi really should have done better. Matip plays him through into acres of space, and he beats the defender to the ball in the box, but can only manage a weak shot at the keeper.
  • Simon Mignolet comes up with a fingertip save, to tip a long-range effort over the bar. Best part? A goalkick was given and Capoue was booked for dissent.
  • Watford are having a bit of a go these last five minutes. Liverpool have been very comfortable in defense most of the match, but it wouldn’t really be Liverpool without some nervy defending.
  • Lallana blows a huge chance to extend the lead after Can plays him through on a counter after a Watford corner. The English international uncharacteristic poor first touch let him down, allowing the defender to catch him and put it out for a Liverpool corner.
  • Dear Fowler, is there still 10 minutes left?
  • Mignolet coolly comes out to collect a Watford corner. He’s not had to do much tonight, but he’s been strong in the air, coming out to either punch or catch several dangerous balls into the box.
  • ...And he follows that up with a near post save. Waffles!
  • Origi makes way for Daniel Sturridge. Go get ya a goal and ice this thing, Danny!
  • And the sub is subbed off! Lallana makes way for Ragnar Klavan.
  • Matip gets a shot on goal after a long run into the box! But seriously, Joel. Fucking defend.
  • Oh. Danny. He gets away a shot in the box and Gomes gets just enough on it to push it wide of the post. SO CLOSE.
  • Speaking of close, Watford hit the post! FUCK!!!!
  • Final whistle thought: Liverpool do just enough to escape Vicarage Road with all three points, thanks in large part to an Emre Can wonder goal. Doesn’t matter, we got over the line and still control our destiny for a place in next year’s Champions League.

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.

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