Watford 0-5 Liverpool
Premier League (8), Vicarage Road
October 16, 2021
Mane 9′ (assist – Salah)
Firmino 37′ (assist – Milner)
Firmino 52′ (assist – none)
Salah 54′ (assist – Firmino)
Firmino 90+1′ (assist – Williams)
Returning to the scene of their 3-0 defeat in the title-winning campaign, Liverpool headed into the unknown against a side with a new manager in Claudio Ranieri.
Ranieri fielded a back five, with Danny Rose the unfortunate left wing-back up against Salah, who turned the fading force inside-out at will from the offset.
It was a brilliant use of Salah’s strength that allowed him to spin Rose easily and lay on the opener, with the Egyptian’s sublime pass with the outside of his boot making it easy for Sadio Mane to fire in his 100th goal in the Premier League.
Salah drew a big save from Ben Foster soon after, while later on a stunning through ball from the returning Trent Alexander-Arnold saw him through only for a poor first touch to allow the goalkeeper to mop up.
By the half-hour mark, Liverpool had kept over 80 percent of possession, but the opportunities began to dry up despite Alexander-Arnold dazzling with his passing play on the right.
HT: Watford 0-2 Liverpool
Foster was required to deny Salah again early into the second half, but could not do enough for Firmino’s second of the game minutes later, palming Craig Cathcart’s block back into the Brazilian’s path to make it 3-0.
Salah then produced another moment of best-in-the-world genius to extend the lead further, picking the ball up in the box, dancing through a series of challenges, putting Cathcart on his arse and curling it into the far corner from a tight angle for his 10th of the season.
The conversations over that new contract will only tip further in Salah’s favour as the games go by.
It should have been 5-0 as Firmino charged down an awful Rose clearance, but Mane diverted his finish wide of the post, while a rare foray up the other end saw Cucho Hernandez curl off target.
Mane had another chance to double his tally with a smart header that only found Foster’s palms, before Kelleher pulled off a fabulous save to keep out Ismaila Sarr – later deemed to be offside – and earn the clean sheet deserving of Liverpool’s performance.
And there was Firmino in the first and only minute of stoppage time to tap in and seal his hat-trick for a 5-0 win.
TIA Man of the Match: Mo Salah
Referee: Jonathan Moss
Watford: Foster; Femenia (Ngakia 56′), Ekong, Cathcart, Rose; Sarr, Sissoko, Kucka, Masina (Cleverley 46′); Hernandez, Dennis (Pedro 69′)
Subs not used: Bachmann, Louza, Sema, Gosling, Fletcher, Tufan
Liverpool: Kelleher; Alexander-Arnold (Oxlade-Chamberlain 64′), Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson (Tsimikas 64′); Henderson, Milner (Williams 82′), Keita; Salah, Mane, Firmino
Subs not used:
Next match: Atletico Madrid (A) – Champions League – Tuesday, October 19, 8pm (BST)