RATINGS | Liverpool 2-0 Watford: Reds grind out nervy win before departing for Club World Cup

It was tricky at times as the Hornets fought hard to impress Nigel Pearson, their third manager of the season. Still, the win was secured and the Reds head to Qatar in fine form.

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Did anyone anticipate the importance of Alisson Becker at Anfield, today? In Nigel Pearson’s first game as Watford boss, his away side frustrated Jürgen Klopp’s hosts for a large portion of the first half.

In fact, had either Abdoulaye Doucouré or Ismaïla Sarr found a solid connection before the break, Watford would have scored. As it was, Sadio Mané combined with Mohamed Salah, whose glorious finish saw Liverpool lead at the break. It was at the start of the second half that Alisson came to the rescue.

Watford saw two counter-attacks down the Liverpool right thwarted by the Brazilian number one, with neither save deflecting the ball into a danger zone. Liverpool improved towards the end of that second period though, and should have doubled their lead well before Salah’s flick sealed the points. Yet another win for the league leaders.

Here are your ratings:

Starting XI

Ali 8.5 – made two world class saves to preserve a clean sheet. Sensational.

Trent 6.5 – couple of delicious cross field passes, but never looked comfortable when dealing with Deulofeu.

JoGo 6.5 – some sketchy passes in the first half, but grew in confidence with a few key interventions after the break.

Big Virg 8 – world-class first twenty minutes, as the rest of the Liverpool side struggled to break into the tie. Three or four unbelievable switches of play, as well.

Milly 6 – looked lost when at left-back, but did well once moved into the midfield, though.

Hendo 7 – as with the rest of the team, Henderson was liable to a poor start, but improved as the game wore on. Crucial energy in the midfield during the second half.

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Gini 6.5 – battled well and importantly, but occasionally slowed play at the wrong times. Injury that forced him off hopefully not serious.

Shaq 7 – denied an excellent assist by VAR when his whipped cross was shown to have been headed home by an offside Sadio Mané. Superb workrate will have pleased Klopp.

Bobby 5 – arguably his worst display under Jürgen Klopp. Seemed to lose possession whenever the ball came his way.

Sadio 7- constant livewire and unlucky to see his header chalked off, but also guilty of giving away cheap possession at times.

Mo 8.5 – his best performance of the last few months, without even considering his brace. Hold up play and creativity looked back to its best, and while his first goal was a delightful effort on his weaker foot, the second was reminiscent of the lethal touch he had two seasons back.

Subs

Robbo 7.5 – team looked far more balanced once the Scot was brought on. Firmino should have converted his low cross.

Ox 6.5 – struggled for a couple of minutes, before starting to impress when bursting from midfield.

Divvy N/A – came on, mishit a shot, turned into an assist, probably intended the pass the whole time. Classic Divock.

Man of the Match: Take your pick out of match-saving Alisson and match-winning Mo Salah.

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