Liverpool kept up the pressure on Premier League leaders Manchester City with a 3-0 victory over Watford at Vicarage Road on Saturday.
Jurgen Klopp’s men were made to work hard by a well-organised Hornets defence as chances did not come in large numbers in the first period. However, Liverpool managed to break the deadlock midway through the second half, with Mohamed Salah finding the back of the net after some good work by Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane.
Around ten minutes later, the Reds doubled their advantage through a sensational free-kick from full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold. Captain Jordan Henderson was sent off minutes later, but Liverpool did not allow Watford a way back into the game as Roberto Firmino made it 3-0 in the 89th minute to kill the game off.
UP THE REDS!!! 💪
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) November 24, 2018
With the win, Liverpool stay second in the league table, two points behind leaders Manchester City. And here’s how Klopp’s stars fared on the day at the Vicarage Road.
Alisson Becker: 6/10
An early mistake almost cost him as a sloppy pass to Firmino was intercepted by a Watford player, but it came to nothing. Made a good save to deny Roberto Pereyra in the closing stages of the first period. Had very little to do thereafter in what was a largely quiet outing for the Brazilian.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 7/10
The young Englishman endured a difficult first half, with the home team looking to exploit his flank. There were a few lax touches here and there, and he failed to provide support going forward, but all that changed after the break.
In the second half, Alexander-Arnold was a constant outlet down the right-side, and he played some nice passes before putting Liverpool in the driver’s seat with a sumptuous free-kick.
Dejan Lovren: 7/10
Coming into the starting XI in place of the injured Joe Gomez, the Croatian international started a touch nervy, but grew into the game with time. Solid against crosses that came in, Lovren helped keep the physical Troy Deeney quiet. Made a couple of key interventions in the second period to keep the Hornets at bay.
Virgil van Dijk: 8/10
Another colossal display from the Dutchman at the heart of Liverpool’s defence, and he makes it look all so easy. Never looked flustered as he swept up everything that came his way and kept Deeney under check all game long. Distribution from the back on point as usual. Van Dijk oozed calm and composure and was a leader on the pitch.
Andrew Robertson: 6/10
Not the best of displays from the left-back, as he failed to have the usual impact he has going forward. Defended solidly, but was lucky not to give away a penalty after a poor challenge on Will Hughes after the break. Created the third goal with a marauding run before feeding Mane in the box.
Jordan Henderson: 4/10
Back into the starting lineup having recovered from an injury he picked up during the international break, the Liverpool captain had a forgettable outing. Offered little creativity and drive from the middle of the park and looked to play it safe more often than not. Sent off in the 82nd minute for two daft bookings and will now miss the Merseyside derby.
Georginio Wijnaldum: 6/10
Preferred over Naby Keita and James Milner, the Dutchman did not begin all too well and was rather off-colour in the first half. Showed signs of improvement after the break though, making a few driving runs forward and holding on to possession well, but not as effective as he has been this season.
Xherdan Shaqiri: 6.510
Looked the brightest of the lot for Liverpool in a dull first half, as he tried to create opportunities for his teammates, but not everything came off for the Swiss international. Set Mane and Salah up for chances towards the end of the first period, but both were denied by Ben Foster. Faded as the game progressed though and was withdrawn for Milner.
Roberto Firmino: 7.5/10
Firmino dropped too deep on occasions in the first half, that curtailed his involvement in the final third of the pitch. Sparked into life after the break, as he played a lovely pass to Mane, who in turn set Salah up for the opening goal. Nodded in a rebound late on to wrap up the tie to score his first Premier League goal in eight games.
Sadio Mane: 7.5/10
Having signed a new contract with the Reds, Mane started off on a mixed note, looking bright on occasions and going into a shell at times. Forced a good save from Foster towards the end of the first period, then set Salah up for the first goal with a direct run and accurate cutback. Had another effort saved by Foster late on, but the rebound fell to Firmino who made no mistake.
Mohamed Salah: 7/10
Salah was always looking to run in behind the defence, but was fairly well-marshaled by the home team for most of the first half. Saw a headed effort stopped by Foster close to half-time, but beat the Englishman with a precise finish in the second period to open the scoring. Has now scored six times in all competitions against Watford.
James Milner: N/A
On the pitch for the final 15 minutes in place of Shaqiri. Showed good energy.
Thrown on in place of Salah, after Henderson’s dismissal to add more bodies in the middle of the park.
Joel Matip: N/A
Injury time substitute for Firmino.