By Hani Na’eem – @hani_eem
The perfect performance and result at a perfect time! Liverpool produced a stellar team performance to get back to winning ways at a crucial period.
With the end of the league almost in sight, the Reds had to bounce from a timid performance against United, and they did it with a result that will surely give them the confidence that they can maintain their grip on the league’s lead.
Relentless from start to finish, here’s how the lads got on.
Alisson: 8 – The Brazilian recorded his 16th clean sheet in the Premier League this season. He didn’t have an awful lot to do, but he did make a couple of crucial saves to add to his impressive shut-outs – particularly the Andre Gray shot from a wide angle which Alisson brilliantly dealt with.
Trent: 9.5 – It’s difficult to overlook the goal scorers, but he’s my Man of the Match. Provided excellent attacking threat both with his amazing crosses and his overlapping play with Salah on the right wing. Registered a hat-trick of assists – the youngest player ever to do so in the Premier League – and was involved in almost all chances that came from his side of the pitch. There was a great moment with Liverpool’s last free-kick in the game where we see van Dijk pointing that he wants the ball returned to Trent for him to cross it. Brilliant stuff!
Matip: 7.5 – The Cameroonian had a nervy moment early on with a half-measure clearance that ended in a Watford corner, but he went on to produce a composed performance. He showcased his excellent passing ability again as he was also seen making good forward runs into midfield. Defended really well too.
Virgil: 9.5 – “Watch him defend, and we watch him score (twice).” The big man never disappoints, and it’s getting more and more a routine shift for the Dutchman at the back. He won all the headers and dealt with the physical threat of Troy Deeney brilliantly. Scored two thumping headers to cap off a near perfect performance.
Robbo: 8 – Provided the usual impressive work rate on the left wing with his attacking runs and defensive cover. He let Deulofeu in for a cross and made an unnecessary foul just outside the area late on, but looked in control of his side. Provided two assists and a sweet passing exchange with Mo Salah in the first-half that could’ve helped Mane to a hat-trick.
Milner: 7.5 – I wonder when we will start getting at least slightly surprised at Milner’s outrunning everyone else! Captain for the night was heavily involved in both phases of play and had a hand in Liverpool’s first goal after he laid the ball to Trent for the cross.
Gini: 7 – Perhaps had the lowest profile of all the Liverpool players, but he still offered an energetic performance in midfield, supporting the defence and linking the attack. Was dispossessed a few times, but overall a solid performance.
Fabinho: 8.5 – The Brazilian is proving his worth to the team with each passing minute on the pitch, and he looks un-droppable right now. Made more tackles than any of the Liverpool players and was always there to disrupt Watford’s good attempts at starting counter attacks. His combative nature and excellent passing make him invaluable for this Liverpool team.
Mo: 8 – He has to wait for his 50th league goal for Liverpool, but the Egyptian was really effective. His insane run led to the team’s first goal and his movement caused all sorts of problems for Watford’s Masina and Cathcart. He was perhaps too predictable at times, but he looked lively and created a number of chances for the team.
Sadio: 8.5 – Lively and difficult to deal with as ever. Played in a central position and exploited that brilliantly to score Liverpool’s first two – the second characteristic of his tendency to score the spectacular and miss the simple ones.
Origi: 8 – Perhaps a surprise inclusion to many, but the Belgian produced an admirably energetic performance, showing willingness to get back and help with ball recovery. Chances down his left wing were limited in the first-half, but he worked tirelessly and was rewarded with a beautiful goal in the second period.
Hendo (on 70′ for Milner): 6.5 – Continued Milner’s job with the same work rate. Looked neat and tidy with his passes and offered good protection in front of the back four. Came on when the game was over though, so his impact was arguably very little.
Lallana (on 78′ for Mane): 6.5 – Showed his attacking intent as soon as he came on with a good run that forced a foul and a booking for Cathcart from which Liverpool scored their fourth. Completed all of his passes.
Keita (on 84′ for Gini): N/A – Had little time to show his creative ability and try to add to the scoreline.