Liverpool 2 - 0 Watford
Liverpool: Salah 38’, 89’
Wake up! It’s time for the early match, and Klopp has chosen a strong team to take on Watford today. Andy Robertson gets a break with James Milner filling in at left-back. Xherdan Shaqiri gets Fabinho’s open spot in the line up. Joe Gomez partners with Virgil van Dijk in the back.
Klopp always complains about the early kick-off, but hopefully the team is ready for it this time.
The match has started off pretty evenly between the two teams, with the Reds taking a bit of time to feel their way into it. Touches are just a bit heavy, legs are just a bit slow in the first five or so minutes. Watford gets the first good chance of the game, but the pass across the face of the box is snuffed out by Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Salah pulls off a slick backheel to get Firmino away to goal, but the Brazilian in off balance and scuffs his first touch, spoiling the chance. Moments later, Van Dijk attempts to send Milner free, but his pass is just a bit too heavy. In past years, these near misses would feel frustrating, but with this Liverpool team, we’re just waiting for them to click and do what they need to do to win the game.
Oof 36 minutes in, Watford get the better of Liverpool. Capoue gets around Milner. He rolls it into the middle, but thankfully Doucoure fluffs his lines and doesn’t get the shot off. The ricochet leads to a corner and —
GOALLLLLL! 38’ - Salah - Liverpool break quickly, Firmino bypassing the midfield with an overhead kick and getting the ball straight to Mané’s feet. Mane passes to Salah, who muscles around the Watford defenders and hits it into the top corner with his weaker right foot.
Moments later, Sarr fluffs yet another sitter. If Liverpool were playing any other team, they might be in real trouble here. As it stands, Watford seem incapable of taking their chances.
Watford comes out with verve, clearly trying to make up for their first half misses. Despite their push, it’s Liverpool that gets off first, but Mané’s gorgeous header from Shaqiri’s perfect delivery is called offside by VAR. That’s some bullshit, but fine, fine. Mané will just have to score to more to make up for it.
Moments later, Deulofeu gets one-on-one with Alisson, and the keeper comes out on top, getting a good save in to deny the visitors a chance to even things up.
Gini Wijnaldum goes down around 60 minutes in, forcing Klopp into a change. Wijnaldum comes out and Andy Robertson takes his place, returning Milner to his comfort zone in midfield. The difference with Robertson at full-back and Milner in midfield is instant, with the Reds immediately becoming more of a threat going forward.
Shaqiri makes way next for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to get some fresh legs into the mix.
Nervous times in the last 10 minutes. Van Dijk somehow manages to screw up a very easy backpass under zero pressure. The pass turns into Watford’s best chance on goal of the night, rolling narrowly past the goal for a corner. Deulofeu’s corner hits the bar and whaaat is happening.
Divock Origi comes in for Firmino in the 88th minute to see out this game and try to nab their third clean sheet in a row.
GOOOOOALLLL! 89’ Salah - Liverpool get the insurance goal at the end. Mané puts the ball in at the byline. The shot is scuffed by Origi, but unlike Watford, Salah handles the ricochet with a clever bachheel that nutmegs himself and the nearest defender to slot the ball home.
That could have gone better, but in the end, it’s still three points and a clean sheet for the Reds at Anfield.