Match Report: Liverpool 2-0 Watford
League leaders Liverpool beat Watford at Anfield
Watford beaten by Liverpool despite improvement in Nigel Pearson’s first game
Nigel Pearson disappointed after Watford impress in Liverpool defeat
Watford players rated following defeat at Liverpool
Will Hughes calls on Watford to take chances after they paid the price for misses at Liverpool
Mohamed Salah’s superb double gave an under-par Liverpool a 2-0 victory over bottom side Watford to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League.
Watford missed chances in both halves, while Liverpool’s Sadio Mane had a header ruled out for offside following a review by the video assistant referee (VAR).
This was far from a vintage display from the unbeaten leaders. They played within themselves and were flattered by the margin of victory delivered by two outstanding finishes from Mohamed Salah. Had Nigel Pearson inherited a player with even a hint of composure in front of goal then Watford would have given their new manager something more tangible from his first game than just an encouraging performance. The visitors created and squandered several excellent openings, with Ismaïla Sarr and Abdoulaye Doucouré the chief culprits.
Having periodically raged at the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri and Salah, Jurgen Klopp said afterwards that this had not been a bad day for his league leaders, just a difficult game. He was impressed with the way in which Nigel Pearson had organised his new players in the space of one week to close down the usual channels through which Liverpool like to pass the ball. Klopp also charitably suggested that the raw wind whipping around Anfield had contributed to a calamitous miskick from Ismail Sarr in front of the Kop in the first half.
It is strange to feel so positive after a defeat, but the performance had been very encouraging and we felt very unlucky to have lost. Given the relative positions of the two teams at each end of the table, this game was much closer than it should have been and, but for the terrible finishing from the Hornets, this could have been an upset.
Jon and Mike convened on Sunday morning to try and make sense of contrasting emotions after a largely excellent performance yielded no points and no goals. There’s praise for a heroic back line, excitement about Sarr and in answering listeners questions, they try to sort out the Doucouré conundrum.