Liverpool 5-0 Watford
Premier League, Anfield
February 27, 2019
Mane 9′ (assist – Alexander-Arnold)
Mane 20′ (assist – Alexander-Arnold)
Origi 66′ (assist – Robertson)
Van Dijk 79′ (assist – Alexander-Arnold)
Van Dijk 82′ (assist – Robertson)
Jurgen Klopp made two changes to his side, with Trent Alexander-Arnold returning at right-back, at the expense of Jordan Henderson as James Milner moved into midfield, and Divock Origi taking the injured Roberto Firmino‘s place in attack.
The inclusion of Origi, in only his third start of the campaign, was a bold call from Klopp, who has been alternating between the Belgian and Daniel Sturridge as backup striker of late.
It was a night that required a big performance from Liverpool’s front line, after back-to-back 0-0 draws, and they didn’t disappoint as the hosts produced a phenomenal display.
- Klopp makes two changes to his side from 0-0 draw at Man United
- Mane opens scoring with header, then doubles tally with backheeled strike
- Origi nets Reds’ third, with his third of the season on third start
- Van Dijk’s scores headed brace, having netted twice in previous 55
- Liverpool stay top of the Premier League with brilliant victory
Klopp sprang a surprise with his setup, as Origi stationed himself on the left, with Mohamed Salah on the right and Sadio Mane serving as centre-forward from kickoff, likely in a bid to wrong-foot an expectedly rigid Watford.
It took just nine minutes for this tactical tweak to pay off, as Mane darted between the visitors’ centre-backs to head home Alexander-Arnold’s stunning cross from the right.
Soon after it was same provider, same goalscorer as Trent found our No. 10 in the penalty area and, after a difficult first touch, Mane lifted it over the advancing Ben Foster with an incredible backheeled finish for 2-0.
Salah, hungry for his 50th league goal for Liverpool, stung Foster’s palms with a venomous strike cutting inside, before a surging run to latch onto a lofted pass saw him hit the post.
A brilliant move saw Andy Robertson look to lay the hat-trick on for Mane, but his one-touch cross evaded the Senegalese, with the Reds left to settle for a two-goal lead at the break.
The second half began in very much the same vein, with Salah particularly dangerous as he peeled off the shoulder of hapless left-back Adam Masina, again almost beating Foster at his near post.
Mane had a great chance for his treble on the turn in the box, but Craig Cathcart made a vital block, before Origi repaid Klopp’s faith as he cut in from the left, drifting past a host of Watford defenders to hammer low past Foster to make it 3-0.
Alisson was drawn into a rare, but brilliant, save to keep out substitute Andre Gray, before Klopp ended Mane’s hopes of a hat-trick as he sent on Adam Lallana in the striker’s place—remarkably, in a like-for-like swap.
That wasn’t the end of the scoring for Liverpool, though, and their fourth came through an unlikely source in Virgil van Dijk, who headed home Alexander-Arnold’s perfect free-kick; the right-back notching a hat-trick of assists.
Amazingly, Van Dijk scored another minutes later, with another header this time coming from Robertson’s cross from the left, with the Dutchman having only scored twice in his previous 55 games for the club.
The final whistle rang and Anfield erupted, with the stadium witnessing Liverpool’s third straight 5-0 win over Watford on home soil.
TIA Man of the Match: Trent Alexander-Arnold
Referee: Graham Scott
Subs not used: Mignolet, Camacho, Shaqiri, Sturridge
Watford: Foster; Janmaat, Cathcart, Mariappa, Masina; Hughes, Doucoure, Capoue, Pereyra (Sema 84′); Deeney (Gray 72′), Deulofeu (Cleverley 72′)
Subs not used: Gomes, Kabasele, Navarro, Quina
* Additional reporting by ISNTV.