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Digging Deeper Into Liverpool’s Victory Over Watford

With a victory over Watford in the books, we take a closer look at what it all means for the Reds.

Liverpool v Watford - Premier League Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

This game could have been a banana skin. The City clash looms large on the horizon, as does the quarterfinals of the Champions League. Throw in an early kickoff—just after international break, at that—and a former Liverpool manager coming to town with a relegation-threatened foe, and it’s understandable that Liverpool were not at their best.

And Liverpool were not at their best.

But they find a way. Since the dawn of 2022, this Liverpool side have been the masters of “finding a way.” That’s 10 wins on the bounce in the league, and another key step closer to the prize that many Liverpool fans covet above all others. Now let’s get stuck into the nitty-gritty.


Winners

Roberto Firmino

Although the Brazilian didn’t get on the scoresheet, our false 9 was everywhere today and barely put a foot wrong throughout the 90 minutes. The rest over the international break seems to have done Bobby a world of good. If this is the Firmino we’re getting for the run-in, then England and Europe better watch out.

Pivotal Moments at Both Ends of the Pitch

It wasn’t a classic Liverpool performance, but the Reds were just that much better at both ends. Gomez and Jota connecting for the opener seemed to come out of nowhere, and seemed like a gut punch after Alisson’s 1-v-1 save just a moment earlier (yes, it was offside, but felt like a much bigger momentum swing in real time). Liverpool’s defense bent but didn’t break, and kept a fifth consecutive clean sheet. Plus Fabinho is ice cold from the spot.

Winning Streaks

It’s now 10 league wins on the trot for the Reds, with the stiffest challenge yet to come next week at the Etihad. If Liverpool can make it 11, they’ll officially be in the driver’s seat of the title race. If they can make it 18, Liverpool will be lifting #20.


Losers

Roy Hodgson

I was considering putting Roy under the winners category, because he’ll certainly consider this a win. He kept things tight at Anfield, didn’t give away a crazy number of chances, and created enough to say he was “unlucky” with the result. He was even gifted a pen (against) to complain about (which he did)! He’ll be made up that his side didn’t get tonked, and he’ll get on with the more pressing matter of keeping Watford up. If it’s at Everton’s expense, there’s still a chance at a modicum of Red Redemption for Ol’ Roy.

Rugby/American Football Tackles

These, apparently, are still not allowed in football.


Dissecting the Narrative

Another day, another clean sheet, another hard-fought win. Since the draw away to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, Jurgen Klopp’s Reds are deadly serious, and simply do not appear to be in the business of dropping points these days. Will this late, and impressive charge be enough to pip City to the title? We will see.

The last three wins in the league have all been 2-0, and they all feel vaguely familiar: it’s a nervy 60+ minutes, but Liverpool find a few moments of magic and just begin to pull away as the other team runs out of steam. Add in a few quality subs in key moments, and this Liverpool team seems both extremely predictable (see below), and extremely difficult to stop.

This formula isn’t likely to work against Manchester City, but grinding out 2-0 performances against the rest of the league is certainly a good way to handle the other 7 opponents they’ll face in the run in.


What Happens Next

The first leg of the Champions League quarterfinal against Benfica on Tuesday, and Manchester City on Sunday. Then the second leg. Then City in the FA Cup semifinal at Wembley.

To say that the next two weeks are “season defining” is an understatement. Strap in and enjoy the ride. Try not to have a heart attack along the way.