Referee:Jonathan Moss Attendance:20,540
Watford had the ball in the net inside three minutes but the goal was ruled out for offside. A long ball was touched on by Troy Deeney, allowing Gerard Deulofeu to race through but, as he slotted past Alisson, the offside flag was correctly raised.
Although the tackle was clearly mistimed, it was hard to tell whether he made contact with Hughes. Watford’s players claimed there had been an obvious foul but the referee, Jon Moss, disagreed. Shortly after that Liverpool went in front thanks to the first high-class move of the match.
In a match where the opening goal always felt it would be decisive, it was crucial. Gracia was non-committal. “The last two games we have been unlucky with some decisions but I prefer to support the referees,” he said. There was still plenty to encourage Gracia in defeat. Watford willingly conceded possession, but were defensively sound. Ben Foster was outstanding. They had their chances.
So the first of two home games in ten days against ostensibly the strongest clubs in the country. Beaten fair and square, but the scoreline doesn’t do justice to our performance which was better than that, or to the strategy selected which asked a lot of us but wasn’t a million miles from earning a result. Good decisions don’t guarantee good outcomes, it’s difficult to conceive of an approach that would have had a better chance of success.