Liverpool 2-0 Watford
Premier League – Anfield – Sunday 8th May 2016
Goals: Allen (35), Firmino (76)
Simon Mignolet (out of 10) – 7
The Belgian had a very quiet afternoon at Anfield, but on the one occasion he was really called upon, he made a fantastic save to deny Odion Ighalo.
Mignolet may have plenty of faults, but shot-stopping is an area of his game that he often excels in.
Jon Flanagan – 6
A typically solid but unspectacular performance from the returning Flanagan.
He did very little wrong in terms of his defensive work, but there were times when a little more quality going forward was required.
Did look a little off the pace at times, and was rightly booked for a late challenge in the second half.
Martin Skrtel – 7.5
On what was likely to be Skrtel’s final appearance for Liverpool at Anfield, he produced a solid performance against Watford – exacting some personal revenge for Troy Deeney’s comments after the 3-0 reverse at Watford in December.
The 31-year-old got caught out positionally a few times, but he made some important interceptions and dealt far better with Ighalo than he did back in December. Two good blocks to deny Watford.
Lucas Leiva – 7
Like Skrtel, Lucas appeared a little shaky with balls over the top in the first-half, but he quietly went about his business efficiently.
Watford enjoyed a dominant spell of possession in the second-half, but the Brazilian’s experience came to the fore, and he was largely reliable. Good in the air.
Alberto Moreno – 6.5
Moreno produced a lively display down the left flank on Sunday afternoon, building on an impressive showing against Villarreal on Thursday (apart from nearly giving away a needless penalty).
The 23-year-old got forward well on numerous occasions, firing a shot over from distance in the first-half, and he also made a crucial tackle to deny Ighalo early on.
Kevin Stewart – 6
While Stewart has not let Liverpool down at all this season, it is clear that he is a limited footballer at this level.
The young midfielder invariably chose the easy option on the ball, but everything he did was invariably neat and tidy.
It was not exactly the most intense 90 minutes of football, and it would have been nice to see Stewart expresses himself a little bit more.
Joe Allen – 7.5 (Man of the Match)
Once again, Allen enjoyed an excellent afternoon on Merseyside, as he continues his remarkable transformation from hate figure to cult hero.
The Welshman was a class act in all aspects of his play, using the ball intelligently and pressing well, and he opened the scoring after a good run into the box and brave finish.
Give that man a new contract.
Jordon Ibe – 6
It looks increasingly as though Ibe’s future lies away from Anfield, and he was again slightly disappointing against Watford.
Despite showing some nice turns of speed and quick feet, his final ball was poor, and he missed a great chance to score late on.
Looks shot for confidence currently, and doesn’t seem particularly switched on.
Sheyi Ojo – 7
Despite not setting the world alight, by any means, it was another promising showing from Ojo, who didn’t look out of place alongside more experienced professionals.
The young winger looked classy on the ball and has a physical edge to him. Played a key role in Firmino’s goal, having won the ball back in midfield.
Philippe Coutinho – 6.5
This was a solid afternoon for the brilliant Brazilian, who was once again only one of a few to keep his place after a Europa League game.
He linked up nicely with Benteke throughout and often looked the biggest attacking threat on the pitch – but he will be disappointed not to have finished a great chance early in the second-half.
Substituted on the hour mark in a planned change for Firmino.
Christian Benteke – 6.5
Benteke has taken plenty of criticism for his performances this season, but he did well on what was probably his last home game for the club.
His aforementioned link-up play with Coutinho was eye-catching, and there appeared to be a bit more overall quality to his game.
Still missed good some chances late in the day, though.
Roberto Firmino (on for Coutinho 61′) – 7
The Brazilian finished the game off 15 minutes after coming on, finishing well in front of the Kop, and his usual elegance was on show throughout his cameo.
Cameron Brannagan (on for Ojo 78′) – n/a
No time to make a proper impact, although he did produce one good corner late on.
Connor Randall (on for Moreno 88′) – n/a
No time to make an impact.
Jurgen Klopp – 7
It was yet another pleasing day at the office for the German, whose decision to make eight changes was fully vindicated.
Pairing Skrtel and Lucas felt like a risk but it paid off, while youngsters such as Stewart and Ojo will again benefit from more playing time.