Watford 0 - Liverpool 3
Mo Salah 67’
Trent Alexander-Arnold 76’
Roberto Firmino 89’
It’s never going to be easy, but Liverpool keep finding a way to stay undefeated. This afternoon, it took them over an hour to find a way to beat down Watford, but beat them down is exactly what they did in the final 30 minutes. Watford defended for their lives for a hour, but couldn’t hold the mighty Reds back. Their was this quick shot of Watford’s defenders after Mo Salah scored the first, maybe 2 or 3 seconds at most, but it told the story of the afternoon. Watford defended for their lives and that guy just made it 0-1. What followed suit was a result of a dejected and defeated side.
Watford spent the first half putting their resources into making it the most difficult for Liverpool to penetrate the penalty area—and it was absolutely the most difficult. Bar 5 or so minutes towards the end of the first half, Liverpool were frustrated and searching for answers. Aside Xherdan Shaqiri being the only Liverpool interested in any sense of urgency, the Reds couldn’t find much of anything. Would be pretty simple to write off that first half as a frustrating slog, but something important happens at the 40 minute mark. Alisson Becker makes a brilliant save.
How often over the years has Liverpool gone away to an inferior side, had a frustrating half, and then concede a goal against the run of play. This Liverpool isn’t interested in being the same old Liverpool. It was almost directly following this save that Liverpool began to look lively again. I don’t think that’s a coincidence.
The second half saw Liverpool be patient, like a locksmith trying to pick a lock. In the 67th minute they put down the lock picks and picked up a hammer. It was a familiar goal from a man who is familiar with scoring against Watford. Roberto Firmino picked up the ball in the midfield, threaded a beautiful through ball to Sadio Mane on the left, who slotted the ball to Mo Salah who put the ball in the back of the net. Salah’s 7th goal of the season, 6th goal against Watford in 3 games, and Mane’s first assist of the season.
Liverpool’s second was just a beautiful free kick from Trent Alexander-Arnold. The 20 year-old has already played 60 times for Liverpool, played in a World Cup, and played in a Champions League Final. What a player we get to watch blossom before our very eyes.
The final 10 minutes got a bit sticky at 2-0 for Liverpool. Watford had abandoned all notions of defending, having made 3 very offensive substitutions, and were over running the Reds in the midfield. Jordan Henderson, having to make multiple fouls to break up Watford’s attack, picked up two quick yellows and will miss the Merseyside Derby. Reckon he starts in Paris. Bobby Firmino gets his deserved goal to see out the win.
Liverpool have now collected 33 points from 39 available, which is a new record for them in the Premier League era. Liverpool have only conceded 5 goals through 13 matches, which is also a new record for them. For a team that’s allegedly struggling to find their mojo, I think things are going pretty well. Maybe we’re seeing the birth of a new, more patience and mature Liverpool. Teams like Watford aren’t stupid. They did everything they could to keep Liverpool’s attack from clicking, and they mostly did a good job of it. Even Pep Guardiola brought The Best Team In The World™ to Anfield and was terrified to attack Liverpool. Maybe we’ll never see that Liverpool side again, but that shouldn’t stop us from enjoying this Liverpool side.
Regardless of what that other team in Manchester does, I’m committed to enjoying this historic Liverpool team. And I urge you to do the same. At this exact time in 21 days, Liverpool will have played 6 matches, all of them are winnable. It’s a wild ride and we must enjoy it.
Up The New Normal Reds.