What started out with Salah putting on a clinic ended with Salah giving the closing speech of the seminar at Anfield as the Reds put away Watford comfortably.
I had spoken about the importance of an early goal in my preview of the game last night and as an avid reader of the blog, Mo Salah delivered on the 4th minute foreshadowing what was to come rest of the afternoon. The early goal had the opposite effect of what was expected though causing Liverpool to relax which enabled Watford to gain confidence on the ball. Careless giveaways on their own half would have caused a lot more trouble on a different day but when Robertson’s perfect cross found Salah at the back post, you knew that Watford was not coming back from being two goals down.
If Klopp was happy about the play but not the score at half-time in Old Trafford, I would expect the opposite to be true at Anfield this week. Even though Liverpool had a comfortable lead, the team just did not seem to be on the same page, giving the ball away with very simple errors, bad first touches, and an overall look of discomfort at what they were doing.
Liverpool in the second half was a totally different team and when the early Firmino goal increased the lead to three, it was cruise control from there on. These are times where you can sit back on the couch as a fan and are able to just watch and admire the football the Reds are capable of on the field.
Salah…has to get his own paragraph. As I watched him score his third goal, making Watford defenders and goalkeeper look like schoolboys, I could not help but just smile admirably at the screen. Truly a joy to watch. What I like the most about him and what makes him such an easy guy to root for is his attitude. Forget about his post match comments where he deflected all the praise to his team and thanked him. A lot of players do that, memorized cliche humbleness. I admire his attitude when he scores the goals and instead of making it all about him, appreciating the support he got or the assist…. Like running to Robertson after his second, to Ings after the putback… Go back and watch his goals. He is a modest player who makes it all about his teammates not by just talking the talk but showing it in his actions. I just hope he is a Red for a long time and becomes the Egyptian Scouser.
- Karius 8 – Did not have much to do overall and as unnerving as it can be to watch, have to appreciate his confidence and calmness on the ball. Came out when he needed to and growing into his #1 role.
- Gomez 6 – I love his one on one defense but his timing and judging the ball in the air is extremely poor at times. Gave away easy headers and put himself in a tough spot by misjudging several passes coming to his side
- Matip 7 – Made a few crucial tackles. Just like Lovren, he benefits from having a solid CB next to him
- Van Dijk 8 – Just solid. Almost makes it look easy at times but uses his physical presence well. The only time he gets in trouble is when he almost seems disinterested during games where Liverpool has large leads.
- Robertson 8 – A great assist and hard working as always. What he lacks in technical ability, he made up with attitude
- Henderson 7 – Bounced back from an extremely weak first half. Good at controlling pace and distributing but made several careless passes
- Emre Can 7 – The only negative from the game was seeing his injury. Liverpool have depth at his position but his physical approach will be missed especially against City.
- Wijnaldum 7- Worked hard throughout the game and made some key interceptions in midfield
- Mane 8 – Salah will get all the glory but Mane’s unselfish play throughout the game made the difference. He is a much better player when he is content with creating for others which in turn will help him get more opportunities at goal
- Salah 10 – 4 goals, 1 assist. Just terrorized the Watford defense and still worked hard to do his defensive and press duties. He is World Class
- Firmino 7- Started the game cold with poor passing, getting caught offsides, and just off overall. Great workrate as always though with a very clever finish to add to his goal total
- Milner 7 – Blue collar work as always and some very key passes in counter attack play. A true professional.
- Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain 6 – Almost looks like he tries a bit too hard when he comes off the bench causing him to not let his instincts dictate play.
Ings 7 – Great to see him out there. Would have liked to see him finish one of the two great opportunities but getting in those situations is half the battle
Great win overall by the boys. Now we get the international break where we spend 2 weeks praying for no injuries. YNWA