Liverpool huffed and puffed in the first half, but they eventually beat Watford 3-0 at Vicarage Road to start off a big week in the most ideal way they could.
Mo Salah opened the scoring in the 67th minute, and that opened the floodgates. A stunning free-kick from Trent Alexander-Arnold doubled the Reds’ lead, before captain Jordan Henderson was sent off for receiving a second yellow card. That didn’t matter in the end, as Roberto Firmino finished off the game with a well-deserved goal for him.
Here’s how each player fared.
ALISSON BECKER – 7/10
He made a big save when it was still 0-0, to deny Roberto Pereyra. He could’ve gotten into trouble earlier with an uncertain pass to Firmino, but no harm was done.
TRENT ALEXANDER-ARNOLD – 8/10
What a strike! He only does the spectacular with these goals, doesn’t he? Sensational free-kick, and did brilliantly all game to deny Pereyra any kind of room on the wing. Top performance.
DEJAN LOVREN – 7/10
Against the aerial threat of Deeney, Lovren stood up tall and won almost every significant duel there was. He was lucky once though, being bailed out by Alisson after he slipped to afford Watford space to attack.
VIRGIL VAN DIJK – 7/10
Imperious. Majestic. Other such words. You could almost not notice anything that he did, but yet know that he was an immense presence at the back.
ANDREW ROBERTSON – 7/10
He was the Reds’ biggest attacking threat for a large part of the game, with plenty of good work being done on the left flank. He set up the third goal with a brilliant driving run late in the game.
JORDAN HENDERSON – 3/10
Poor from the skipper. He didn’t impact the game in any great way. And he failed to keep his head either. It is something that is expected of a man leading the side, and he kept making stupid challenges despite continued warnings from the referee. Will miss the derby next weekend, which must be gutting for him.
GINI WIJNALDUM – 7/10
Full of energy and nous on the ball in midfield. He did the dirty work brilliantly and set the base for the more attacking players to do their thing.
ROBERTO FIRMINO – 7/10
He had a mixed game. The first half was poor, he couldn’t really impact things from the no.10 role. But he had the key which unlocked Watford, with a beautiful pass to Mane, who set up Salah. He got himself a Premier League goal after two months, which must be a massive relief.
XHERDAN SHAQIRI – 6/10
Shaqiri was buzzing around, as he always does. He played some beautiful cross-field passes with his left foot as well. He didn’t impact the game as much as he has some others, but it was still another very acceptable performance.
SADIO MANE – 5/10
Mane wasn’t great at all, although he got himself an assist for Salah’s goal. It was also his header that Firmino scored off. But his general play just felt a little bit lethargic.
MOHAMED SALAH – 8/10
Still the Reds’ biggest attacking threat, still the best goalscorer at the club, still silencing the doubters. What a big goal that could eventually prove to be, from the Egyptian. Clutch.
JAMES MILNER – 6/10
Milner came on to replace Shaqiri after Salah gave the Reds the lead. He did what was expected of him, a professional job to see the game through to full-time.
FABINHO – N/A
Came on late in the game just to shore the 10-man Reds up defensively.
JOEL MATIP – N/A
Nice 30 seconds for him at the end.