Liverpool are top of the league! At least for a few hours.
In what could have been a tricky fixture in the early kick off coming out of an international break, the Reds did the business against Watford to the tune of 2-0, temporarily topping the table ahead of Manchester City’s visit to Burnley later in the day.
Joe Gomez did his best Trent Alexander-Arnold impression in place of the injured right back, laying on a beautiful early cross for Diogo Jota to open the scoring on 22 minutes with one of his trademark headers.
The visitors did not put up much of a fight from that point forward, with Watford’s Joao Pedro spurning two clear cut chances in either half and the relegation battlers doing not much else of note.
The two likeliest players in the squad to score from a header, namely Virgil Van Dijk and Jota, both failed to get unmarked set piece headers on target in the second half and it appeared the hosts would need to cling to their 1-0 lead to the end.
However, the Hornets’ Juraj Kucka decided to execute a Martin Skrtel-esque wrestling maneuver to stop Jota on a corner late in the match, with VAR awarding a penalty that Fabinho slotted home.
Manager, Jurgen Klopp commended his side on a professional result:
“It was how I predicted. We had to get through this,” Klopp said in his post-match interview.
“Big compliment to Watford and Roy today—they defended really well and we could have done better but we needed maturity and desire.
“The counter-press today was the best I saw for a long time. We needed [Alisson Becker] once today. We could have created more.
“A great cross from Joey and a brilliant header from Diogo. We were in control and we needed to be in control today. I am really happy.
“Joey can play right-back. I know his favorite position is CB but he can play RB as well and that is really helpful.”
On celebrating his 250th Premier League games as a manager:
“We played some good ones, we played some not so good ones, but today was absolutely good enough.”
The Reds will gear up for a crucial week ahead that includes a first leg Champions League tie against Benefica in mid-week before next Sunday’s massive potentially title-deciding league clash with Manchester City.