It was far from an impressive performance but Liverpool once again got the job done to move, at least temporarily, to the top of the league after a tenth league win in a row!
Liverpool 2-0 Watford
Premier League (30), Anfield
Saturday, April 2, 2022
Jota 22′ (assist: Gomez)
Fabinho 89′ (penalty)
This is it then, the start of the run-in for what could be the most incredible season in Liverpool FC history.
But the Reds took the lead immediately after that when Joe Gomez provided an Alexander-Arnold-like cross from the right wing and Diogo Jota perfectly headed past Ben Foster for his 14th league goal of the season.
Aside from the goal, there were few clear cut chances. Long-range efforts from the likes of Curtis Jones did little to threaten.
It was very much an ‘early kick-off after the international break’ performance; lacking fluidity and no real rhythm, rusty individually and collectively.
Half time: Liverpool 1-0 Watford
After the break it continued in a similar fashion. Jota had another rather stupid long shot which irked Klopp, while the Reds gave up possession sloppily and frequently.
Watford had a golden chance just before the hour, which Joao Pedro should have scored but he placed it wide.
Salah went off for Sadio Mane, both having played extra-time for their countries just four days ago. Salah, without an open play goal since February 19, was well off his best and his touch was poor.
Liverpool wrapped up the points in somewhat bizarre circumstances when a penalty was awarded following a VAR review that nobody saw or expected.
Kuca was adjudged to have fouled Jota in the area off a corner, and Fabinho stepped up to dispatch it perfectly into the top corner.
“Liverpool, top of the league,” was the chant from the Kop. A win for Burnley this afternoon would make that last longer.
They say that the sign of a good team is being able to win when not at their best, and on this evidence, like last time out before the internationals in the FA Cup at Nottingham Forest, Liverpool are certainly a good team.
They’ll need to play much, much better for this next run of games that sees the Champions League quarter-finals, a title match-up at Man City and an FA Cup semi-final, plus visits of Man United and Everton.
Next, it’s a trip to Lisbon for the first leg against Benfica… followed by Man City away in eight days. Hold on to your hats, Reds.
TIA Man of the Match: Name
Referee: Stuart Atwell
Subs not used: Kelleher, Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Tsimikas, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Diaz
Watford: Foster; Femenia, Kabasele, Samir, Kamara; Louza, Sissoko, Kucka; Hernandez, Sarr, Pedro
Subs: Bachmann, Ngakia, Kayembe, Cleverley, Dennis, Sema, Cathcart, King, Masina
Next match: Benfica (A) – Champions League – Tuesday, April 5, 8pm (BST)