Liverpool 5 – 0 Watford

Salah Slaughters The Hornets

If there’s anything that makes up for a loss against Manchester United, it’s a big win at home the following week.

From start to finish, The Reds annihilated their opponents, and on another day the final score could’ve been doubled.

Mo Salah opened the scoring with some individual brilliance, followed by a simple tap-in from an Andy Robertson cross. Firmino sealed the win with an unorthodox finish before Salah netted two more to take his league tally up to 28.

Player Ratings

Loris Karius – 6:

Karius had very little to do, a testament to the brilliance of the team in front of him.

One free-kick rattled his crossbar, but other than that, the German simply had to recycle possession.

Joe Gomez – 7:

Jurgen Klopp wisely allowed Trent Alexander-Arnold to step out of the limelight for this game after his mistakes last week, Gomez more than rose to the occasion though.

It seems that Gomez is the better defender, but TAA is better going forward, it would be wise to rotate the two in games that need one trait more than the other.

Joel Matip – 6:

 

Dejan Lovren was also omitted after last week’s nightmare, and Matip took his chance to stake a claim to become a regular.

He appeared far calmer and assured than in previous games, despite a couple of wayward passes.

Virgil van Dijk – 7.5:

 

VVD was back to his commanding, organising best against Watford.

While The Hornets didn’t do much to test the defence, part of that was to do with VVD being proactive and not allowing them to get started.

Andy Robertson – 9:

 

Even if Liverpool were given an unlimited budget, it’d be difficult to justify replacing the Scot with just about anyone.

He defended superbly and his cross for Salah’s second was utterly sublime.

Jordan Henderson – 5:

 

The captain is such a frustrating player to watch at times.

He played some unbelievably good passes under pressure to put Mane and Salah through, but also gave the ball away needlessly when there was no pressure.

Gini Wijnaldum – 6:

 

Gini played well, but it’s clear that he is either unfit or just rusty after missing the last few weeks.

He was mostly tidy in possession and reliable in defence, but ultimately failed to truly impact the game, even with the dominance some of his teammates showed.

Emre Can – 6:

 

Can came off early due to a back injury, but Klopp later assured fans it was “not too serious”.

Before coming off, he made some good runs and linked up well with the players around him.

Mo Salah – 10 (Man of the Match):

 

It’s not been since Luis Suarez was banging in goals that Liverpool fans have been so excited to see a player week in, week out.

His first and third goals were particularly impressive, with his ball control somewhat resembling the Uruguayan at times.

Sadio Mane – 7.5:

 

Mane’s greatest strength this season has been his selflessness.

He works tirelessly for the team, and rarely goes himself if the option to pass gives the team a greater chance of scoring, as displayed for Salah’s hat-trick goal.

Roberto Firmino – 8:

 

Firmino’s skill and industry perfectly rounds out this lethal front-three.

His linkup play and defending was typically on point, and his round-the-back flick to score his goal was masterful.

Subs

James Milner – 7 (on for Can – 26′):

 

It will be such a shame if Milner moves on at the end of the season.

He was again a calming, and yet potent influence in the midfield.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 6 (on for Wijnaldum – 70′):

 

The Ox was clearly keen to make up for last week.

Perhaps he was trying too hard to make amends, but regardless, his energy helped Liverpool push on and continue punishing Watford.

Danny Ings – 7.5 (on for Firmino – 79′):

 

Every Liverpool fan was willing him on to score in front of The Kop.

Unfortunately, he was denied twice by Orestis Karnezis, but the second time was enough for Salah to tap in the rebound.

Unused Subs: Simon Mignolet, Ragnar Klavan, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Alberto Moreno

Manager

Jurgen Klopp – 9:

It was imperative that Klopp set his team up to instantly respond to the questions that were raised at Old Trafford.

He made bold, but necessary changes to the lineup, and that paid dividends.

As time goes on, it’s becoming clear that the German is slowly but surely eradicating bad habits that had become ingrained in the club for many years before he arrived.

Talking Points

Bouncing Back

It happened after losing to Manchester City, then against Tottenham and now against Manchester United.

It’s becoming a running theme for Liverpool, and one that will serve The Reds well in the long-term chase for silverware.

If Liverpool can go on another unbeaten run, then a top-four finish will be certain, and a good showing in the Champions League likely.

Attacking Records

Hendo and Mane both achieved individual milestones by making their 200th and 50th Liverpool appearances respectively.

But it was Firmino and Salah’s record-breaking goal tallys that stood out and will surely make the headlines.

This is Firmino’s greatest goal-scoring season to date, and Salah now moves into pole position for the league’s golden boot, four ahead of Harry Kane and a whopping seven ahead of Sergio Aguero.

International Break

The international break is never welcome as it is an unnecessary interruption and chance for players to get injured.

It has the potential to derail form and momentum, so Klopp will be hoping all of his players come back fresh and can pick up from where they left off.

The good news is that it will give a few players the chance to recover from niggling injuries, and others some much needed match fitness.

 

You’ll Never Walk Alone

 

Cieren O’Dea

 

Red Or Dead – Liverpool FC Football Blog – on 18/03/2018

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