Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool side cemented their place at the top of the Premier League table with their 5 - 0 thrashing of Watford at Anfield on Wednesday night.
The match was off to a scintillating start with Sadio Mané scoring two within the first 20 minutes, which included an incredible backheeled goal. This was the fifth PL home game in a row in which the winger has scored after scoring against Arsenal, Crystal Palace, Leicester City and Bournemouth and has now brought his goal tally up to 14 which is his personal best in any PL season thus far, having scored a total of 13 in his first season at Liverpool.
Mané was employed in a central attacking role against the Hornets on Wednesday and according to Klopp this was an obvious decision;
It was the first idea, the first thought, and we didn’t change it. In that position you need someone who is able to play in the small space, who can give you as well offers in behind, who adapts to the defensive situation, who is football-smart, all that stuff. We have other players who can play there but not in combination of the speed of Sadio, obviously. Sadio played different positions in his life and for us as well, so I was in no doubt that he would play there. How he did it then when he came off with Adam in this advanced position, that is something that can work as well, with Daniel it can work as well of course, but for tonight we thought that was the solution. It was the first and last [solution].
Trent Alexander-Arnold marked his return from his injury sustained in January with a treble of assists, and at the age of 20 years and 143 days he became the youngest Premier League player to do so. He was of service to both of Mané’s goals and gave the assist via a sublime freekick for Virgil van Dijk’s first headed goal (and Liverpool’s fourth of the night). The Liverpool supporters were so enthused by TAA’s performance that they debuted a new song to honour him which will definitely be heard again in the games to come and Klopp had this to say;
It was clear he would play today, he was rested and could start and he played an outstanding football game. And obviously he is fit, if you see how he was chasing back in all the counter-attacks of them and was involved in pretty much each offensive situation… it was a brilliant performance.
The 5 - 0 was a total team effort with Divock Origi finding the back of the net at 66’ for Liverpool’s third and finally Virgil van Dijk’s impressively placed headed goals at 79’ and 82’. Andrew Robertson supplied the assists for both Origi and VVD’s second goals. The match also marked Liverpool’s fourth clean sheet in a row and those five goals mean that their goal difference is now on +49 (Manchester City’s GD is +55). The Reds have only conceded 15 goals in 28 PL matches this season and remain the best defensive side in the league.
Ultimately, Klopp was beyond thrilled with his side’s performance and this showed in his glowing post-match comments.
It was exactly the game we wanted. But let’s start like this, in a game you win 5-0 and everyone has performed on a really, really high level and still you have to say both centre-halves played defensively an outstanding game and the goalkeeper had to make two outstanding saves, then you see the quality of the opponent. All the rest in the game was exceptional... For today, it was really a fantastic football game. I am really happy for the boys because they deserve it so much. We want to play like this every day and that’s maybe sometimes possible and sometimes a bit less, but you have to be stable. The boys were always stable and tonight we were stable and really fluent offensively, so it’s good - a very good example of how football should look. So, let’s try to do it again and again.
28 Premier League games down, 10 to go.
On to the next one...
Liverpool take on Everton this Sunday, 3 March 2019 at Goodison Park at 4H15PM GMT/11H15AM EST. As always, we’ll be keeping you updated with all the buildup to the game, which will include the most up to date team news, our live matchday thread, and of course, the post-match recaps from The Liverpool Offside staff.