Three second-half goals ensured Liverpool maintained their excellent start to the Premier League season with a 3-0 victory over Watford at Vicarage Road on Saturday.
After pressing for long periods, Mohamed Salah finally broke the deadlock on 67 minutes when he drove Sadio Mane’s brilliant pull-back beyond Ben Foster from 10 yards out.
Shortly after, the Reds doubled their tally when Trent Alexander-Arnold curled a sublime free-kick over the Hornets’ wall and into the net from 20 yards.
Jordan Henderson was sent off for a second bookable offence with nine minutes remaining; however, Roberto Firmino made certain of the win by nodding in from close range after Foster had foiled Mane’s effort.
The result means Jürgen Klopp’s side remain in second position in the standings, just two points behind leaders Manchester City.
The team news…
Liverpool made two changes for the clash as Henderson and Dejan Lovren came in for Fabinho and Joe Gomez, who was ruled out after sustaining a minor ankle injury in training that isn’t deemed serious.
The first half…
Liverpool began their first of 11 fixtures in just 40 days aiming to ensure their impressive Premier League form picked up where it’d left off prior to the international break.
And they quickly set about dominating possession, though were guilty of gifting Watford an opportunity inside the opening 10 minutes when Firmino lost possession under pressure on the edge of his own area. The hosts almost worked an opening for Gerard Deulofeu, but Virgil van Dijk was able to recover to avert the danger.
At the other end, Foster got a vital touch to a Xherdan Shaqiri cross to prevent Salah heading into the net from six yards out.
Soon after, another delivery from the Swiss – this time from a free-kick – found Georginio Wijnaldum but he couldn’t readjust his footing to get a shot in as the ball bounced away from him.
Then, on 39 minutes, Watford broke quickly after Firmino’s low drive had been gathered by Foster. A swift counter resulted in Roberto Pereyra angling a half-volley towards goal that needed to be beaten over the crossbar by Alisson Becker.
Soon after, Mane’s acrobatic scissor-kick from a Shaqiri pass was thwarted by a block from Foster. From the resulting corner, Salah’s goal-bound header was saved on the line by the home side’s goalkeeper as the half concluded goalless.
The second half…
Liverpool fashioned an opening in the early exchanges following the re-start when Firmino laid it off for Mane to crack an effort against the outside of the post, but the forward was flagged offside.
Meanwhile, Watford saw penalty appeals waved away when Will Hughes went to ground in the area under Andy Robertson’s attempt to get a toe to a bouncing ball.
But the Reds were exerting more and more pressure on their hosts – and it finally told on 67 minutes.
Firmino slid a ball down the left into the run of Mane, who charged to the touchline before pulling back for Salah to steer beyond Foster from eight yards out.
And one quickly became two as Alexander-Arnold added a second on 76 minutes, sending a perfectly-executed free-kick into the top corner from a central position 20 yards out.
Watford were given late hope when Henderson collected his second booking of the afternoon with nine minutes of normal time remaining.
But Liverpool made certain of the outcome when Robertson superbly spearheaded a counter-attack from a Hornets corner down the left and crossed for Mane. The No.10’s strike was parried into the air by Foster, but Firmino was on hand to nod in and seal the three points.