Liverpool v Watford: Live matchday blog
Liverpool strengthened their position at the of the Premier League with a 2-0 win over Watford at Anfield. Mohamed Salah scored twice to make it 16 wins from 17 for the Reds in the top flight so far this season.
And here's how the top of the table is looking after that result...
Here's how Opta saw today's contest...
Liverpool 2-0 Watford
Liverpool get three more points in the bag and strengthen their position at the top of the Premier League table.
Strikes in each half from Mohamed Salah give the Reds the victory, but they were made to work hard for it by a spirited Watford performance, with the visitors creating several good opportunities.
Four minutes of added time to be played..
GOAL! MOHAMED SALAH!
That should make certain of three more points for Liverpool after a hard-fought contest.
The Reds break and Oxlade-Chamberlain slides in Mane. His cross is deflected into the path of Origi.
The Belgian scuffs his shot and it's rolling wide, but Salah flicks it into the back of the net.
A VAR check follows and it's allowed to stand.
And Liverpool's last substitution sees Firmino replaced by Origi.
Watford's final change - Quina is on for Doucoure.
Sarr scuffs a shot wide as Liverpool clear a free-kick into the box.
Deulofeu's corner hits the near post.
Watford sensing they can get something here.
Nervy, nervy moment here as Van Dijk and Alisson get in a mix-up and the defender side-foots an attempted pass just wide of his own post. This after Gray had taken the ball from Gomez.
Deeney off, Gray on for Watford.
Robertson's low ball finds Firmino unmarked 12 yards from goal. He has to readjust his feet to get the shot in, but it's blocked.
Liverpool's second change - Shaqiri off, Oxlade-Chamberlain on.
Henderson whacks a half-volley over the bar from just outside the box after a clearance from Alexander-Arnold's cross fell for him.
Salah almost gets through on goal, but a heavy touch and the attention of Kabasele see the ball rolls through to Foster.
Firmino tries to slot one into the far bottom corner; however, it's a routine take for Foster.
Sarr goes to ground under the attentions of Van Dijk, but the referee isn't interested in his appeals.
Wijnaldum has picked up a knock and hobbles off.
Robertson comes on to replace him, meaning Milner will move into central midfield
Milner is booked for a challenge on Sarr.
Another good opportunity for Watford.
This time Deulofeu breaks in behind but sees his effort powerfully beaten away by Alisson.
Sadio Mane thumps in a header from a Shaqiri cross and Liverpool celebrate.
But a VAR check rules it out for offside and it remains 1-0.
Sarr gets a low shot in towards the near post that Alisson needs to keep out.
At the other end, Liverpool break and Salah has a strike deflected behind.
Back under way...
Liverpool begin the second half at Anfield.
Here's how Opta numbers rate the first half...
Liverpool 1-0 Watford
Mohamed Salah's wonderfully-taken 38th-minute finish gives the home side the lead at the break.
Foster denies Mane with a strong hand to claw the ball away at his feet after Salah had laid it off to him following Alisson's clever kick out from the back.
Henderson sees yellow for a challenge on Deulofeu.
Another glorious Watford chance goes beginning.
This time Sarr completely mis-kicks after Alisson palmed Deulofeu's low cross into his path.
Two big, big opportunities for the visitors.
GOALLLL!!!! MOHAMED SALAH!!!!
Watford are made to pay for their miss as Salah opens the scoring.
Liverpool break from a corner as Gomez frees Mane into space down the left, who in turn knocks it forward for our No.11.
Salah turns Fermenia expertly on the edge of the area before lofting a right-foot finish around Foster and into the corner.
Watford almost stun Anfield as Capoue scampers into acres of space inside the box and cuts it back for Doucoure, who - thankfully - completely gets what would have been a free strike at goal wrong.
Van Dijk clears Doucoure's low cross inside the six-yard box as Watford break.
Nimble footwork from Salah inside the box, but his eventual shot from the right evades the far post.
Hughes is booked for a late challenge on Henderson.
Mane scoops a shot well over with his back to goal after a headed clearance from Capoue dropped for him.
Hughes has a go from 20 yards for Watford, but it's well off target.
Firmino nudges Mane's lofted cross towards the back post into the direction of Henderson, but he can only scoop a half-volley well over the bar.
Kabasele bullets away Alexander-Arnold's cross with his head as Firmino lurked.
Firmino is almost inadvertantly sent through on goal as Kabasele falls to the ground when trying to deal with Salah's near flick; however, the Brazilian cannot get the ball under control and Watford recover.
Watford pose an early threat as Sarr's low centre from the right narrowly evades Deeney in the middle.
Off we go...
Watford start the game at Anfield.
Come on you Reds!
Here come the teams...
AXA - Principal partner and official training kit sponsor
Here's how Opta expect the two sides to shape up...
Inside the home dressing room...
Klopp explains three changes
"Rotation in a moment when a player maybe doesn't need it is the best way to do it," said the boss ahead of kick-off.
"So I'm not 100 per cent sure about Robbo, he looked good, but at the end it's a question of being sensible from time to time - at least I try! So that was the reason for Robbo.
"Shaq came in for Naby; Naby played two games in a row after a long time not playing. He did really well but that was the reason for him. Joe starts, of course."
Very excited pupils from @Flomellynews were overjoyed to welcome #LFC players as they arrived at #Anfield ahead of… https://t.co/6AJlvE01Zp— Red_Neighbours (Red Neighbours) 14th Dec 11:43
🚨 TEAM NEWS 🚨 2⃣ changes for the Hornets! ➡ Mariappa, Hughes ⬅ Masina (thigh), Pereyra (groin) #LIVWAT https://t.co/w0DMC9x6ql— WatfordFC (Watford Football Club) 14th Dec 11:30
Liverpool make three changes for today's game as Joe Gomez, James Milner and Xherdan Shaqiri come in for Dejan Lovren, Andy Robertson and Naby Keita.
Neco Williams makes the substitutes' bench.
Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Milner, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Shaqiri, Mane, Salah, Firmino.
Subs: Adrian, Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lallana, Robertson, Origi, Williams.
Ali on the mic
Alisson Becker takes care of pre-match media duties at Anfield ahead of kick-off...
Ox on Liverpool's mentality
"We're going into the games expecting ourselves to win and anything else we're disappointed with," says the midfielder in the match programme.
"I think that's credit to the good work that we've done as a team over the last few years to be in that position. That's the mentality you need to be successful, to have those high standards that nothing else is acceptable. Then you've got to let history take its course.
"Obviously it might not happen every time, but when you're going into games with that sort of mindset and belief it simplifies everything else."
Anfield. https://t.co/iP9x4ctiyq— James_Carroll84 (James Carroll) 14th Dec 10:23
It's the Liverpoolfc.com matchday blog weather update.
An early kick-off demands a prompt meteorological dispatch - and we're only too happy to deliver.
Not the best news, though; it's a gusty, overcast morning in Anfield with a spot of rain here and there. 100 per cent coat weather if you're heading to the stadium. Hat and gloves optional, as always.
MATCHDAY 🔴 Another day, another battle 👊🏾 Are you ready Anfield! 🙌🏾 #YNWA #LIVWAT https://t.co/Bh5tTqKAS4— GWijnaldum (Gini Wijnaldum) 14th Dec 10:09
As it stands
A reminder of how the Premier League top four looks ahead of the latest round of fixtures.
Victory over Watford would move Liverpool 11 points clear at the top, at least temporarily, with second-placed Leicester City set to host Norwich City at 3pm GMT
On the cover
The front page of today's matchday programme marks next week's 60th anniversary of Bill Shankly's first match as manager of the club.
You can help raise funds for LFC Foundation's military veterans and men's health programmes by playing LFC Lotto at Anfield today, with two tickets for January's clash with Manchester United up for grabs - as well as cash prizes and more.
Click here to find out more.
LFC Foundation Day 2019
Today's match sees LFC Foundation, the Reds' official charity, celebrate its fifth annual LFC Foundation Day at Anfield, showcasing the transformative work it does in areas of high deprivation across the Liverpool city region and beyond.
Hear Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson explain the importance of the foundation's work below and click here for more details on the activities taking place.
"What a day for @MoSalah, what a day for Liverpool!" ⚽️ Four for Mo and a stunner from Bobby during our sublime 5-… https://t.co/NX93qnrHwp— LFC (Liverpool FC) 13th Dec 20:43
Did you know?
Mohamed Salah has scored six times in four Liverpool appearances against Watford.
Only Ian Rush (10 goals in 11 games) has netted more times for the Reds versus the Hornets.
The boss and his players took time out from preparing for today's game to make their annual Christmas trip to Liverpool's Alder Hey children's hospital earlier this week.
Watch a heart-warming video of their visit below...
Last time out in the Premier League
The Reds ran out 3-0 winners at Bournemouth a week ago today...
A muscular injury sustained against Salzburg in midweek means Dejan Lovren is unavailable for today's game.
Jürgen Klopp reported no other new fitness issues in his squad, however.
You probably won't need reminding that Jürgen Klopp agreed a contract extension with LFC until 2024 on Friday...
Happy Friday, Reds! 🤩🤩🤩 https://t.co/7qUWOsszb6— LFC (Liverpool FC) 13th Dec 11:27
Catch up with everything Jürgen Klopp said in his pre-match press conference...
Top meets bottom in the Premier League this afternoon.
Check out the stats behind Liverpool and Watford's seasons to date below...
Football has the incredible ability to bring people together, and together we can help those who need it most.… https://t.co/5h4XTmwed4— Red_Neighbours (Red Neighbours) 13th Dec 19:30
Welcome to Liverpoolfc.com's live matchday blog, with the Reds hosting Watford in the day's early kick-off.
Stick with us for the best rolling coverage of all the build-up, action and reaction from Anfield.