It was not pretty but it did not need to be for Liverpool, with a 2-0 win enough to move Jurgen Klopp‘s side to the top of the table, for the time being at least.
The run-in took flight with the visit of Watford, a side battling for their safety in the Premier League as Liverpool looked to move to the summit.
The juxtaposition could not be more clear but there could be no underestimating the visitors with the margin for error little to none.
And after a bout of early impetus from the Hornets, a quick progression up the field ended with Diogo Jota deftly steering the ball into the net thanks to a sumptuous Joe Gomez delivery.
With no desire to see tension creep into Anfield, the second goal was desperately sought after but the Reds were still blowing off the dust that accumulated during the international break.
It didn’t make for pretty viewing throughout, but a late penalty after Jota was dragged down in the box offered a chance to create a buffer that Fabinho did not waste!
The 2-0 win moves Liverpool to the top of the table, at least for now, and fans were delighted:
Thiago’s magic had Reds spellbound…
I still marvel a little at Thiago's propensity for violence I really did not expect that side of his game when we signed him.
— The Legacy Fan Offside (@LFCOffside) April 2, 2022
Could science clone Thiago by any chance? I’d like that.
— Andrew Beasley ? (@BassTunedToRed) April 2, 2022
Just look at Thiago, what he is doing today is totally insane. How many players in the league are passing the ball that well?
— LFChistory.net (@LFChistory) April 2, 2022
If I could go back to being a youngster and decide which footballer I’d like to player football like it would 100% be Thiago.
— Karl (@KarlThyer) April 2, 2022
Thiago Alcantara by the way, absolutely immense there.
— Keifer MacDonald (@KeiferMacd) April 2, 2022
Thiago man of the match. Gomez also good. Firmino the best of the forwards.
— John O'Sullivan (@NotoriousJOS) April 2, 2022
Burst out laughing at at least five Thiago passes first half. He’s ridiculous.
— Phil Blundell (@PhilBlundell) April 2, 2022
Thiago’s passing in on another planet, makes every pass look beautiful.
— Samuel (@SamueILFC) April 2, 2022
Thiago's performance today has been half Mascherano and half Xavi.
— Red (@TaintlessRed) April 2, 2022
It wasn’t easy on the eye, but the Reds are top!
Liverpool, top of the league, Liverpool, Liverpool top of the league…..
*come on Burnley! #LFC
— LFCZA (@LFCZA) April 2, 2022
You're never going to be at your best for a 12.30pm kick-off after an international break with top spot riding on it but this #LFC team are just so good at grinding it out when they need to. Oh and surely Watford have enough games/quality to drag other teams into the scrap.
— David Lynch (@dmlynch) April 2, 2022
A huge three points, and also a deeply stressful watch!
Felt myself feeling increasingly sick in those last 30 mins – genuinely feared the worst. Not a good performance but they all count.
TOP OF THE LEAGUE! (Until 5pm, I imagine!)
— Henry Jackson (@HenryJackson87) April 2, 2022
Top of the league for @LFC tough game, Firmino & Thiago ?? #LIVWAT
— Jamie Carragher (@Carra23) April 2, 2022
10 league wins on the spin
13 clean sheets in last 18 in all comps
The #LFC 18/19 crushing machine is well and truly back.
— Dan Kennett (@DanKennett) April 2, 2022
It's going to be a slog Reds just got to win the next, and the next and the next by any means necessary. Strap yourself in and enjoy the ride
— Jeff Goulding (@ShanklysBoys1) April 2, 2022
14 points off City in January… 10 wins in a row. Top of the League.
Relentless. Jurgen Klopp. pic.twitter.com/JHsvcDk7iZ
— Kloppholic (@Kloppholic) April 2, 2022
— The Anfield Wrap (@TheAnfieldWrap) April 2, 2022
A long way from our best, as if often the case after an international break. A big 3 points to start a pivotal month though. Thiago and Bobby the stand-outs. A word also for Joe Gomez who has been excellent at RB in successive games. Easy to forget he fared well there in 2017/18.
— Aaron Cutler (@aaron_cutler) April 2, 2022
For an early Saturday kick-off straight after the international break, the sloppy performance was to be expected but all that mattered was the three points.
Thiago was the shining light and the Reds will need him throughout the rest of this decisive month, while Roberto Firmino and Joe Gomez both provided reminders of what they can offer.
The result is significant and it’s game on. Benfica next, then City. Up the Reds.