Liverpool hung on to win at Watford by a single goal as an average display was brought to life by the goal of the season.
Watford 0-1 Liverpool
Premier League, Vicarage Road
May 1, 2017
Goals: Can 45’+2,
Simon Mignolet – 7.5
Had an early touch of the ball with a comfortable take from Niang.
Saved well from Etienne Capoue in the second half and assertively claimed a couple of crosses not long after.
Stopped an awkward shot from Daryl Janmaat in the last ten minutes and stayed strong under various barrages.
Could only watch Sebastian Prodl’s shot sail over him, but it clattered against the bar.
Nathaniel Clyne – 6.5
Stepped in well when needed, joining the midfield next to Lucas or going out wide on the overlap.
Always an option and it was another solid performance from the steady, ever-present right back.
Joel Matip – 7
Fouled on Niang in a dangerous area in the opening stages but took responsibility and defended the set piece himself.
Played an excellent ball to put Origi through in the second half.
Made a good burst forward himself in the latter stages, testing Heurelho Gomes at his near post.
Dejan Lovren – 7
Good early tackle on Mbaye Niang.
Headed straight at the opposition keeper from a corner.
Won seven aerial duels in what was a quiet game for the Liverpool defence until a late onslaught.
James Milner – 6.5
Took a good corner. A Liverpool player took a good corner. It led to Lallana’s audacious volley as it fell to him on the edge of the area.
His set pieces, in general, were better than usual, and he forced Gomes to punch a free kick clear.
Spent a good amount of time pulling his socks up at throw-ins, wasting valuable seconds as the team hung on.
Lucas – 6.5
Took a dive in the box and was booked. Deserved it, but after a weekend of dives resulting in penalties the decision seemed inconsistent and unfortunate, albeit correct.
It was his pass over the top which led to Can’s bicycle kick — the ideal ball for an extraordinary goal.
Gave away the obligatory free kick in a danger area which led to Prodl’s volley hitting the bar.
Emre Can – 9
Scored one of the best Liverpool goals you’re likely to see this season, or any season.
Eyed Lucas’s ball behind the Watford defence all the way. How’s he going to make contact though?
With one of the cleanest, well executed, expertly taken overhead kicks you’ll ever see. That’s how.
Blasted a shot from distance with his left foot which tested Gomes earlier on.
Could have stood around for the rest of the game after that goal and still been man of the match.
Carried on though, and played an excellent through ball to Lallana which the Englishman couldn’t take.
Generally an important cog in Liverpool’s midfield, and is always on hand to cover when others drift out of position.
It wasn’t his most impressive display individually, and he wasn’t involved as much as he usually is having the fewest touches in the side with just 45.
He’s still important to the whole thing but will hope to improve in the remaining games to end the season on a high.
Roberto Firmino – 5.5
Started on the right, moved to the left when Coutinho went off injured.
An inventive bit of play in the area early on almost saw him through on goal but his touch was just to strong.
Fairly anonymous apart from the odd bit of good build up play.
Divock Origi – 6
Held the ball up well against Watford‘s brutish back seven in the first half, but not so well in the second.
A curling snapshot from outside the area had Gomes’s considerable frame at full stretch. Shot straight at the Watford keeper shortly after when put through by Matip.
Philippe Coutinho – N/A
Kicked out of the game in the first ten minutes and the referee didn’t even blow for a foul.
Eventually taken off with a dead leg.
Looks like he’ll have to start diving like the rest of them.
Adam Lallana (on for Coutinho 12′) – 7.5
Superb left-footed volley from the edge of the area hit the underside of the bar. Would have been up there with Can’s strike one of the goals of the season had it gone in.
Some great footwork and typical skill on the ball, despite not being totally comfortable on the right of an attacking three.
Could have scored with 15 minutes to go but took a poor first touch from Can’s pass.
Daniel Sturridge (on for Origi 85′) – 6.5
Made Gomes make the save of the game, hitting a right-footed effort which just trickled wide after the Brazilian keeper got a hand to it.
A promising return from injury, and looked fairly sharp.
Ragnar Klavan (on for Lallana 87′) – N/A
Arrived as a third centre back late in the game.
Jurgen Klopp – 6.5
The manager started with the same 11 which lost at home to Crystal Palace in the previous match.
Urged his players on from the touchline in a drab first half which was lit up by the goal toward the end of it.
Picked Emre Can.
Brought Sturridge on for Origi which worked, though he might have done it earlier, and then introduced Klavan to bolster the defence in the last ten.