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Watford 0-3 Liverpool: Mohamed Salah scores as 10-man Reds win at Vicarage Road

Trent Alexander-Arnold
Trent Alexander-Arnold scored his first goal of the season for Liverpool with a stunning free-kick

Mohamed Salah set Liverpool on their way to a victory over Watford that kept them within two points of leaders Manchester City at the top of the Premier League.

Trent Alexander-Arnold's stunning free-kick and Roberto Firmino's tap-in added to the score for the Reds, but it was far from a comfortable afternoon for Jurgen Klopp's side, who had captain Jordan Henderson sent off in the second half.

Liverpool are now unbeaten in 13 league games in 2018-19 and have more points - 33 - than they have ever had at this point in a Premier League season before.

The five goals they have conceded is a defensive club record for this stage of a top-flight campaign, though they looked shaky at the back throughout on Saturday.

Hosts Watford were aggrieved not to be awarded a penalty when Reds defender Andy Robertson appeared to foul Will Hughes while the score was level.

It proved a pivotal moment for the Hornets, who were then unpicked by the visitors on the counter-attack once they had fallen behind to Salah's prodded effort from a move involving Firmino and Sadio Mane.

Though Liverpool were well short of their fluent best, the manner of this victory endorses their credentials as challengers to City.

Defeat meant Watford slip to ninth in the table.

Liverpool's best Premier League starts
SeasonWonDrawnLostPointsEventual finish
2018-19103033?
2008-09102132Second on 86 points
2016-1793130Fourth on 76 points
2002-0393130Fifth on 64 points
2007-0876027Fourth on 76 points

Flying full-backs make the difference

While Salah may have opened the scoring for Liverpool, Alexander-Arnold's second goal in the space of 10 days broke Watford's resistance in the second period.

It was a moment of undeniable quality from the right-back, who whipped a free-kick into the top corner from 25-yards after Adrian Mariappa had fouled Firmino.

He has now scored in consecutive matches after opening his account for England in the 3-0 win over the USA.

Up until that point, the visitors had looked unsettled by the perseverance of Javi Gracia's team, who forged several promising openings after capitalising on mistakes by the Reds.

However, Alexander-Arnold and left-back Robertson both came to the fore - though the latter was fortunate not to concede a penalty.

Both players enjoyed more touches than Liverpool's celebrated front three of Salah, Firmino and Sadio Mane, providing pace and purpose to the visitors' counter-attacking.

Not even Henderson's dismissal for two yellow cards - given for fouls on Isaac Success and Etienne Capoue - could stunt their attacking instincts.

And it was Robertson's galloping run down the left which ultimately laid on a late goal for Firmino, the Brazilian tapping in his fourth goal of the campaign after Mane had been denied by Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster.

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Liverpool stayed stubborn - Klopp

Watford's Liverpool woe continues

Conceding possession and territory appeared to be part of Gracia's tactical plan from the start - and it worked initially as his team sat deep and frustrated Liverpool for long periods.

While the visitors enjoyed 69% of possession, it took almost 40 minutes for them to fashion a noteworthy opportunity.

In contrast, Gerard Deulofeu slammed a shot past the Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson inside two minutes after racing clear - but was correctly flagged offside.

Deulofeu then failed to collect a Tory Deeney through ball, before Alisson brilliantly turned away Roberto Pereyra's drive as the hosts sliced through the Liverpool defence.

But their wastefulness, and referee Jonathan Moss' decision not to penalise Robertson for a challenge on Hughes, ensured their dismal record against the Reds continued.

Despite going into Saturday's match with four victories from six home games this term, the Hornets have now failed to win 11 of their past 12 fixtures against Liverpool, losing 10.

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Game was closer than scoreline - Gracia

Man of the match - Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)

Trent Alexander-Arnold celebrates scoring for Liverpool at Watford
Trent Alexander-Arnold scored his first club goal for almost 11 months - after opening his account for England during the international break

'It was closer than the scoreline' - what they said

Watford manager Javi Gracia, speaking to the Premier League: "The game was closer than the scoreline. We tried, we did a good defensive job for 66 minutes and after that the game changed. We had opportunities and didn't take them. Everyone knows Liverpool are a great team.

"I prefer not to speak about refereeing decisions. We accept something that is difficult to accept - but we do it and there is nothing else we can do.

"We could do better in the first half on the counter-attack but playing against Liverpool is always very demanding.

"I am optimistic, I can feel the ambition of the club and I feel happy training here."

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp told BBC Sport: "We stayed stubborn. They defended and counter-attacked and we had a few really good moments we didn't score, which is not a big problem if we stay on track.

"How we closed down the game was just brilliant, especially the third goal. The first goal was brilliant football and the free-kick from Trent [Alexander-Arnold] was a dream. It was a good game against a good side."

On Jordan Henderson's sending off: "It happens. Jordan Henderson was not happy about his mistake but what a guy he is. He has a heart like this, so sometimes it leads you on the wrong path. We wanted to change him but we were a little bit too late."

Watford stutter at home - the stats

  • Watford have lost three of their past four home top-flight games (W1), as many defeats as they suffered in their previous 15 at Vicarage Road in the Premier League (W8 D4).
  • Liverpool are unbeaten in their opening 13 matches of a Premier League season for the first time since 2007-08.
  • Watford have lost 16 of their 18 Premier League matches against sides starting that day in the top two, beating Chelsea in September 1999 and Arsenal in January 2017.
  • Liverpool's Mohamed Salah has six goals in his three league appearances against Watford.
  • Salah has had a hand in six goals in his past five league matches for Liverpool (four goals, two assists) - as many as he managed in his previous 11.
  • Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold has been directly involved in goals in consecutive Premier League appearances for the first time, assisting against Fulham before scoring against Watford.
  • Liverpool's Roberto Firmino has been directly involved in eight goals in his past six league games against Watford (five goals, three assists).

What's next?

Watford travel to Leicester City next Saturday (15:00 GMT) for their next Premier League match. Liverpool visit Paris St-Germain on Wednesday in the Champions League (20:00 GMT) before hosting Everton in the Merseyside derby on Sunday 2 December (16:15 GMT)

Line-ups

Watford

  • 26Foster
  • 21Femenía
  • 6Mariappa
  • 15Cathcart
  • 11Masina
  • 16Doucouré
  • 29Capoue
  • 19HughesSubstituted forGrayat 75'minutes
  • 37Pereyra
  • 7DeulofeuSubstituted forSuccessat 57'minutes
  • 9Deeney

Substitutes

  • 1Gomes
  • 10Success
  • 14Chalobah
  • 18Gray
  • 20Quina
  • 23Navarro
  • 27Kabasele

Liverpool

  • 13Alisson
  • 66Alexander-Arnold
  • 6Lovren
  • 4van Dijk
  • 26Robertson
  • 14HendersonBooked at 82mins
  • 5Wijnaldum
  • 23ShaqiriSubstituted forMilnerat 74'minutes
  • 9Roberto FirminoSubstituted forMatipat 90+2'minutes
  • 10Mané
  • 11SalahSubstituted forFabinhoat 86'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Clyne
  • 3Fabinho
  • 7Milner
  • 8Keita
  • 15Sturridge
  • 22Mignolet
  • 32Matip
Referee:
Jonathan Moss
Attendance:
20,540

Match Stats

Home TeamWatfordAway TeamLiverpool
Possession
Home36%
Away64%
Shots
Home5
Away10
Shots on Target
Home1
Away7
Corners
Home5
Away5
Fouls
Home12
Away13

Live Text

Match ends, Watford 0, Liverpool 3.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Watford 0, Liverpool 3.

Offside, Liverpool. Sadio Mané tries a through ball, but Georginio Wijnaldum is caught offside.

Foul by Sadio Mané (Liverpool).

Isaac Success (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Liverpool. Joel Matip replaces Roberto Firmino.

Attempt missed. Craig Cathcart (Watford) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Roberto Pereyra with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Virgil van Dijk.

Goal!

Goal! Watford 0, Liverpool 3. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) header from the right side of the six yard box to the bottom right corner following a fast break.

Attempt saved. Sadio Mané (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Andrew Robertson.

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Fabinho.

Attempt missed. Roberto Pereyra (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Isaac Success.

Substitution

Substitution, Liverpool. Fabinho replaces Mohamed Salah.

Attempt missed. Isaac Success (Watford) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Adam Masina with a cross.

Dismissal

Second yellow card to Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) for a bad foul.

Foul by Jordan Henderson (Liverpool).

Etienne Capoue (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jordan Henderson (Liverpool).

Isaac Success (Watford) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Attempt missed. Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right following a corner.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Ben Foster.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Kiko Femenía.

Sadio Mané (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Etienne Capoue (Watford).

Goal!

Goal! Watford 0, Liverpool 2. Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) from a free kick with a right footed shot to the top right corner.

Substitution

Substitution, Watford. Andre Gray replaces Will Hughes.

Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Adrian Mariappa (Watford).

Substitution

Substitution, Liverpool. James Milner replaces Xherdan Shaqiri.

Attempt missed. Etienne Capoue (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

Dejan Lovren (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Abdoulaye Doucouré (Watford).

Foul by Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool).

Adam Masina (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Abdoulaye Doucouré (Watford).

Goal!

Goal! Watford 0, Liverpool 1. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Sadio Mané.

Offside, Watford. Roberto Pereyra tries a through ball, but Troy Deeney is caught offside.

Andrew Robertson (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Adrian Mariappa (Watford).

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Man City1311204053535
2Liverpool1310302652133
3Tottenham13100323111230
4Chelsea1384128111728
5Arsenal1273226151124
6Everton136432015522
7Man Utd136342021-121
8Bournemouth126242116520
9Watford136251717020
10Leicester135351817118
11Wolves124441213-116
12Brighton134361419-515
13West Ham133371422-812
14Newcastle12237915-69
15Crystal Palace13238817-99
16Burnley122371225-139
17Southampton131571024-148
18Cardiff132291126-158
19Fulham132291433-198
20Huddersfield12147622-167
View full Premier League table

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