By ‘The Don’ – @donkopleone
Liverpool kept in touch with Manchester City with a vital three points away to Watford, but the 3-0 final scoreline at Vicarage Road flattered Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Truth be told, it was not until Trent Alexander-Arnold’s stunning late free-kick that the Reds seemed to be in control of the game, and a late Jordan Henderson red card could have set up a nervy last few minutes.
With Watford pushing for a way back into the tie, Andrew Robertson seemed to run the pitch before centring a ball which Roberto Firmino eventually nodded home to seal the victory.
A great win, but which individuals stood out? Don Kopleone has the match ratings:
A couple of dodgy balls out from the back caused panic, but Alisson made a key save from Roberto Pereyra with the scores level.
An average performance on the whole, with his delivery a little under-par (which I’ve said too often this campaign.) Still, Trent popping up with a wonderful free-kick with the game in the balance was the key moment in the tie and his rating reflects that.
Made some crucial interceptions but was fortunate to be given a free-kick when his mistimed challenge could have let Watford in behind. Solid performance on the whole.
Once again proving why he is the best central defender in the world. Masterful display.
Like Trent on the flank opposite, for the most part this was not vintage Andy Robertson. That was until his incredible burst of energy and desire created the third goal, which sealed the victory.
Half an hour of quite embarrassingly negative and uninspired football from Jordan Henderson, although his performance did pick up after that point, and he made some important interceptions in the second period. Nevertheless, his unnecessary second yellow card could have allowed Watford back into the game, which is disappointing.
Gini Wijnaldum was also occasionally too negative in central midfield alongside the club captain, but he did show greater desire to carry the ball into space from time to time. One superb moment when he held off and beat two Watford players having seemingly been crowded into their corner flag.
Shaq 7 (off 73′ for Milner)
Comfortably Liverpool’s best offensive player in the first half with a few attempted passes which were very, very close to unlocking the Watford defence. Continues to look a bargain.
Poor first half, much better in the second and he rounded his performance off with a long overdue goal. His best moment though, was the through ball for Sadio Mané which created Mohamed Salah’s opener.
Like most of his teammates, Sadio disappointed for half an hour, but his performance picked up after that. The Senegalese played a key role in the first and third goals and was unlucky not to score himself when an overhead kick tested Ben Foster.
Salah 7 (off 86′ for Fabinho)
Six goals in three games against Watford now, four goals in his last five Premier League games, and this was the kind of display we have come to expect from the Egyptian. Not everything went right, but when his chance arrived he managed to find a way past (well, through) the goalkeeper.
Milner 6.5 (on 74′ for Shaqiri)
Technically oversaw two goals in fifteen minutes, but Milner had very little contribution of particular note.
Fabinho N/A (on 86′ for Salah)
Matip N/A (on 90+2′ for Firmino)
Man of the Match: VIRGIL VAN DIJK
Last year, Liverpool went away to Watford and despite scoring three goals were unable to head home with three points, as the Hornets exposed our defensive vulnerabilities.
Nowadays, you cannot imagine Liverpool conceding three goals in just one game and it is the Dutch collosus who has been chiefly responsible for this change. Outstanding once again.