Watford 0 - 5 Liverpool
Liverpool: Mané 8’, Firmino 36’, 52’, 90+1’, Salah 54’
Caoimhin Kelleher took over for Alisson Becker in the goal, with the latter in quarantine after completed international duty for Brazil. Fabinho was also missing for the same reason, and Klopp chose James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Naby Keïta, relegating Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to the bench once again.
Watford played their first match under the charge of 70-year-old Claudio Ranieri, who replaced Xisco Muñoz.
There was no contest from pick-off on, with Liverpool making themselves nice and comfortable at Vicarage Road, controlling the ball with practiced ease. There was no trace of the post-international break lag for the Reds, who came out attacking a disorganized Watford.
Danny Rose, especially, was having a difficult afternoon, getting overrun and outplayed by Mohamed Salah at every turn. Salah had two early shots on goal in the first five minutes, but converted neither. However, in the 8th minute, he dispossessed Rose and slid the ball into Sadio Mané, who scored the simplest and cleanest of goals to put Liverpool ahead.
Around the 20 minute mark, Watford began to show some initiative, stringing together more passes and getting the ball into Liverpool’s half. However, they never looked dangerous.
Any progress made by Watford in the following 15 minutes was undone by Roberto Firmino’s toe. Milner and played some back and forth in the midfield, until Mané could release Milner on the wing, completely unmarked. Milner’s simple pass into the box found Firmino’s right foot for an easy tap-in.
Liverpool began how they ended, dominating the ball and making Watford look like amateurs on the pitch. 54 minutes in, Firmino selflessly saved Cathcart from scoring an own goal and takes the credit for himself with another simple goal to give himself a double.
If Firmino’s goal was textbook, then Salah’s was magical. He scores another wild stunner two minutes later, getting inside, through, around and under every attempt to slow him down, engineering space for himself and whipping it in for Liverpool’s fourth.
In the 63rd minute, both Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold came off in favor of Kostas Tsimikas and Oxlade-Chamberlain. Milner moved back to right-back and Oxlade-Chamberlain took over his role in the midfield.
Mané nearly grabbed his second, but in a rare misstep, his shot went wide and Liverpool went without a fifth.
Neco Williams replaced Milner in the 82nd minute while Liverpool cruised through the final 10 minutes of the match.
At the last minute, Firmino got his hat trick, nicking one final goal and once again making it look simple.
Final Thoughts and Man of the Match
That was fun. All of the front three got a goal, and that was one of the most entertaining early morning kick-offs in a long time.
Liverpool’s Man of the Match against Watford
This poll is closed
Virgil van Dijk