Liverpool 5–0 Watford
Premier League, Anfield
March 17, 2018
Goals: Salah 4′, 43′, 77′, 85′, Firmino 49′
Salah in the History Books
The Egyptian was really on one, creating danger throughout the game and giving the away back line no respite with his tracking back, one-on-one dribbling and running in behind.
His first goal of the afternoon was his 25th of the season in the league, the first Reds player to reach the milestone since Luis Suarez in 2013/14, while he also became the first Premier League player to notch in 20 different matches in one season since Robin van Persie in 2012/13.
Salah was relentless, claiming four goals and an assist, and is now outright the league’s highest scorer for the campaign on 28.
His strikes late on make it 36 for the season in all competitions and he becomes the first player to hit a league treble under Jurgen Klopp.
Impressive Full-Back Play
Yet again, massive praise needs to go to Liverpool’s full-backs on both sides of the pitch.
The Scot produced another sublime low cross—a real hallmark of his—which was this time made the most of, Salah finishing from close range.
But his all-round game was well worth noting too, with constant challenges to prevent Watford‘s buildup play getting started.
On the opposite side, Gomez made the most of his return to the lineup with an industrious and attack-minded performance.
He raided forward with strength, linked well with Salah and almost grabbed an assist or two of his own from fantastic crosses.
Firmino’s Greatest Season
Few impressive Liverpool displays would be complete without Roberto Firmino rearing his head, and so it proved on Saturday evening.
The Brazilian scored a fantastic back-heeled flick from close range to make it 3-0—and it was a milestone goal too, making it his best-ever goalscoring campaign with 23 in all competitions.
For all the calls earlier in the year that the Reds needed a 20-goal striker, Firmino is now closing in on becoming the first Liverpool No. 9 to hit 25 in a single season since Fernando Torres’ debut campaign, a decade ago.
Throughout his 75 minutes, Firmino set the tone with his harassing of Watford‘s defenders, his willingness to work hard and make challenges and his own impudent brand of magic.
If there’s a negative to take from the game at all—other than a well below-par Jordan Henderson display—it would perhaps be on a handful of injuries hitting the Reds’ squad.
And, halfway through the first 45 minutes, Emre Can joined them as he departed the pitch with a back problem.
Hopefully the sidelined Reds can recuperate fully across the international break, but the midfield area in particular could start to look light if further injuries are picked up while players are away.
Break & Restart
The international break hits now so Liverpool, like the rest of Europe, have a two-week gap until the next club fixture.
For some it will be travel and hard work, but others can regain fitness and favour on the training ground in front of Jurgen Klopp, ready to enter the final straight of the season challenging on two fronts.
The Reds face Crystal Palace after the international break in an early Saturday kickoff—that’s three particularly worrisome factors together.
Klopp’s side have often struggled in the first game back after national team matches, while early kickoffs have not yielded a single win this term from four matches.
Palace have also been a problematic side to beat in recent campaigns.
Third place is Liverpool’s for now and they’ll want to build on that and even push for second again in the run-in—as well as building form and self-belief for the Champions League.
The games will come thick and fast after the restart of club football in two weeks and Liverpool’s season will be decided and defined in short order.
More of the same from this performance and it could be a memorable campaign indeed.