To those who did not watch Liverpool hammer Watford to the tune of 5-0, it will be difficult to describe with words or with numbers just how easy of a time the Reds had on the afternoon.
Liverpool held the ball 76% of the time including 87% in the first half, with Watford failing to possess the ball in the Red’s half for the first 20 odd minutes of the game. The hosts didn’t even register a shot at all until midway through the second half with the game already gone. Liverpool played nearly four times more passes than their opponents.
“Stroll in the park” does not seem to quite capture it.
Even missing Fabinho and Alisson on the day due to some CONEMBOL scheduling shenanigans, Jurgen Klopp’s men didn’t miss a beat, with substitute keeper Caoimhin Kelleher barely having a touch of the ball on the afternoon but still managing to stay sharp enough preserve the clean sheet with a fine late save.
However, despite Roberto Firmino winning the match ball with a tap-in hat trick, the star of the day was undoubtedly Mohamed Salah, who sparkled and wowed with a glittering performance. The Egyptian was unplayable, creating the opening goal by embarrassing Watford’s Danny Rose on the break before playing an exquisite, outside of the boot, first time ball 30 yards behind the defense for Sadio Mane to run onto and score.
Salah stung Ben Foster’s palms repeatedly until he inevitably got his goal by first bamboozling three Watford defenders, putting Craig Cathcart on his backside and casually curling in Liverpool’s fourth.
Klopp was unequivocal in where on currently he ranks his star player in the world football:
“Top,” the Reds boss said to BT Sport after the game.
“Come on, we all see it, who’s better than him in this moment? That’s clear, there’s always this discussion and all these kinds of things.
“But we don’t have to talk about what Ronaldo and Messi did for world football or how long they were really in the dominant.”
“In the moment I think it’s clear there’s nobody better than him. How it is, it’s not only since yesterday, he’s been in that shape for a while.
“He’s young enough to keep the shape a little bit longer.”
“The [team’s] performance was massive, absolutely outstanding, the whole team’s performance but [Salah’s performance], the first goal super pass, then his goal was absolutely exceptional.
“Obviously now, he’s in the mood to try it in the box, he tried before a couple of times strikers can do that, that’s when they have the protection—most players behind you—he did it, he scored the goal.”
The drumbeat of calls for FSG to break their wage structure and extend the 29-year-old on a monster contract past its current 2023 end will only continue as long as Salah keeps putting in these performances.