Watford 0 – 3 Liverpool: Player Ratings and Talking Points

Records Fall as Liverpool Rise

Liverpool’s current tally of 33 points is their highest ever total at this stage of a Premier League season, and likewise, only five goals conceded is the Reds’ best defensive record in the EPL. However, Watford didn’t make life easy on the day, particularly in the first half.

Gerard Deulofeu had a goal ruled out for offside after only a few minutes. Troy Deeney set up the chance with a wonderful flick-on, but aside from that, the first 30 minutes or so were rather dull. The game suddenly came to life though when Firmino had a shot saved before Watford went the length of the pitch and almost scored themselves.

Salah broke the deadlock with a deflected shot from an excellent team move after an anxious 67-minute wait. Alexander-Arnold then sealed the win with a beautiful free-kick that left Ben Foster in the dust, and Firmino’s headed goal just further emphasised what was already a decided result. Henderson was rightly sent off with a second yellow card, providing the only tangible negative from the game.

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Player Ratings

Alisson – 6

Watford only had one shot on target, and in fairness, Alisson produced a stunning save to deny them of that big chance, but for the rest of the match, our ‘keeper made things harder than they needed to be.

He played a couple of dangerous passes, and one to Firmino almost led to an embarrassing goal. Ultimately, nothing came from these mad moments, and no one wants to see the Brazilian make too many changes to his game, but surely he has to start being a little more composed in these situations if he wants to continue playing out from the back so frequently. His accuracy with long balls is superb, and we have the pace to chase balls down, so why not utilise them more?

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 7

Trent scored his first goal for England during the break and then doubled up with a curling free-kick to secure an important result for his club.

TAA was guilty of being a bit too casual in the first half, as some of his touches and passes were wasteful at times when the team needed him to be precise. However, he improved as the game went on and assisted the defence in obtaining another clean sheet.

Dejan Lovren – 8

Lovren came in for Gomez as the latter suffered a minor knock in training. Lovren didn’t look out of place though, and in fact, excelled in the game, particularly after the first twenty minutes or so.

The Croatian snuffed out Deulofeu after the Watford flyer had shown signs that he was ready for a big game. Overall, he defended extremely well throughout, including numerous important headers and interceptions when the Hornets began to threaten. Lovren’s an easy, and sometimes warranted, target for criticism, but it’s important to give credit when it’s due.

Virgil van Dijk – (Man of the Match) 8.5

VVD was incredible again. He just slightly edged ahead of his centre-back partner in terms of involvement, and his organisation was also of a typically high standard throughout.

Lovren handled Deulofeu, and Virgil took control of the Deeney situation after the awkward striker threatened to snatch a result with some impressive touches and passes.

Andy Robertson – 7

Robbo wasn’t at his best, particularly with the ball, but he never looked troubled defensively apart from an incident with Will Hughes that initially looked like a certain penalty, but replays showed that the Scot intelligently pulled out of the tackle in time.

Like most of the team, Robbo improved in the second half, and once the first goal went in, he was able to find a lot more space to run into and his pinpoint cross led to the third goal after Mane saw his initial shot saved.

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Jordan Henderson – 5

I’ll give my thoughts on Hendo getting sent off in the ‘Talking Points’ section, but for now, I’ll only be reviewing his performance for the 82 minutes he was on the pitch.

Until he got sent off, he had a strong game, and if he kept his cool, he might’ve gotten a 7. In the first half, he was guilty of not being as proactive with the ball as he could’ve been, but he played a big role in Liverpool gaining a foothold in the game and securing enough possession so that chances could begin to come in droves.

Gini Wijnaldum – 6.5

Gini faced the same problems as Hendo in the first half and couldn’t impose himself on the game, however, it should be noted that Watford’s midfielders desperately outnumbered the midfield duo.

Unlike Hendo though, Gini didn’t bounce back as definitively and only started to become more adventurous once the result was already secured. Having said that, he didn’t put a foot wrong all game and one perfectly weighted pass to Robbo sparked the third goal; we just needed to see more of that assertiveness.

Bobby Firmino – 7

Bobby was virtually absent before the break, in part due to the fact that he’s clearly still adjusting to his new role in the system, as his starting position is much further from goal.

He picked it up in the second half though, and his passing was on point including one sublime ball to Mane that took three players out before Salah’s opener. His late goal wasn’t quite as pretty to look at, but it’ll still do his confidence a world of good after going quite some time without scoring.

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Xherdan Shaqiri – 7

Shaq had a strange game in the sense that he was the only Liverpool player who looked fired up and creative in the first half, but unlike everybody else, he declined in the second half.

Klopp was right to replace him as he looked to secure the result, but while he was on, he created a few chances including one for Mane that could’ve made the game far easier.

Sadio Mane – 7.5

Mane did everything but score, and a goal would’ve been fitting after he signed a new deal midweek. He hit an incredible, yet unorthodox, shot in the first half after a great ball by Shaq, but unfortunately, it went straight at Foster.

Mane was unlucky not to score a couple of other chances as well, hitting the post (albeit from an offside position), and seeing a scorching shot denied by Foster again until Firmino pounced on the rebound.

Mo Salah – 7.5

Watford were able to frustrate Salah in the first half as he found time and space very difficult to come by. His only chance came from a clever set-piece routine where Mo drifted from the edge of the box to the back post and would’ve scored were it not for another tremendous save by Foster.

His movement in the second half caused the Hornets more issues, and on another day he could’ve easily scored more than just the one that bundled home. It’s easy to forget that Salah’s scored nine goals already this season, which is still impressive especially considering his new role.

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James Milner – (on for Shaqiri 74′) 6

Didn’t have much to do when he came on, but he certainly helped steady the ship.

Fabinho – (on for Salah 86′) N/A

No time to make an impact.

Joel Matip – (on for Firmino 92′) N/A

No time to make an impact.

Unused Subs

Simon Mignolet, Nathaniel Clyne, Naby Keita, and Daniel Sturridge.


Jurgen Klopp – 7.5

Klopp did the best he could in a situation that was far from ideal. He had very little time to prepare his team for a well-drilled, and well-rested, Watford side, and had the added hindrance of an expected, but thankfully minor, injury to Joe Gomez.

In my opinion, as much as I like the new 4-3-2-1 system, our old 4-3-3 might’ve worked better in this game as Watford tend to overload the middle of the park with strong, and tricky, midfield players. However, Klopp showed faith and patience in his players and tactics, and it clearly paid off in the end.

There have been times in the past where fans and pundits have grown frustrated with Klopp’s perceived unwillingness to change and learn from past mistakes, but it would appear that Klopp is making appropriate adjustments this season. It was another solid result, and the German has to take a high degree of credit for the record start to this campaign.

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Talking Points

Hendo Sees Red

Hendo’s taken a lot of criticism online after needlessly getting sent off at a time where in previous seasons, when we weren’t so solid at the back, it could’ve cost us points. The referee had already spoken to him and warned him that he needed to watch his step, and while the final tackle wasn’t that bad, it came after a string of fouls and Hendo had given the linesman a spray only seconds earlier, which drew the ref’s attention.

There’s no defending any professional, let alone the captain, behaving so naively and allowing their emotions to get the better of them, especially in a game where the win was more or less already sealed. However, some of the abuse that’s come his way is entirely over the top and uncalled for.

Hendo is a divisive figure, and there’s many who believe that he either doesn’t fit well with Klopp’s style, of simply isn’t good enough for Liverpool. Others defend him and acknowledge his importance to the team. Either way, you don’t have to like a player, but we all, as Liverpool fans, should treat our players with some respect. Fair criticism and personal abuse are two very different things, no one’s expected to praise Hendo if you think he’s played badly, but that doesn’t mean that hateful words are welcome.

A New Klopp

One interesting aspect to note about this season is the emergence of a new kind of Jurgen Klopp. Gone are the days of gung-ho attacking set-ups. Instead, this Klopp has moulded his team and shaped his system around the result, rather than simply goals and finesse. It’s substance over style, and hopefully it’ll give the team a greater chance of winning trophies in the long run.

Klopp himself noted this after the game when he said, “I know you always expect perfection, but we had exactly one session to prepare [for Watford]. We needed to focus on the specific quality of the opponent. We had to stay stubborn. It wasn’t a brilliant first half, but it was still good.”

“It was a really mature performance. I know a few people miss one or two situations from last season, but in similar games last season we were not that convincing – it wasn’t clear that we controlled the game.”

Another Tough Run Ahead

Our next league game comes against Everton in what will probably be the most competitive Merseyside Derby in some time, but for now, the focus shifts back to the Champions League and a crucial fixture away to PSG.

The Parisians are looking unstoppable in their own league right now, winning 14 from 14 games, but we all know that the UCL is a different kettle of fish to Ligue 1. PSG also face the prospect of taking on the only team to defeat them this season without Neymar or Kylian Mbappe, as both are in doubt with minor injuries.

After PSG and Everton, there’s little time to breath with away games against Burnley and Bournemouth, before two crunch ties between the Reds and Napoli in the UCL and Manchester United in the league. Games against Arsenal and Manchester City follow soon after that, so the Reds will need to keep up their form to stay in touch with City.

You’ll Never Walk Alone

Cieren O’Dea

Red Or Dead Liverpool FC Football Blog and Fields of Anfield Road – 25/11/2018



Watford vs Liverpool – Premier League Preview

After the monotony of the international break, it’s time to get back to watching Liverpool every week.

In our first game back, the Reds take on a Watford side that have largely struggled for points since their impressive four wins from four games at the start of the season.

Regardless, some of Liverpool’s toughest games in this campaign have been away fixtures against smaller clubs such as Crystal Palace and Huddersfield Town, so there’s no reason to think the Hornets will make life easy at Vicerage Road.

Watford Team News and Predicted Lineup


Javi Gracia benefited from the international break as very few of his players were called away, and many of those who remained at the club have now either returned from injury or suspension during the elapsed time.

Etienne Capoue has served his ban, and the likes of Tom Cleverley, Will Hughes, and Sebastian Prodl have recovered well from their respective injuries.

Nathaniel Chalobah could be retained ahead of Capoue however given the former’s excellent recent performances. Isacc Success and Roberto Pereyra arrived back late from their international games and could be rested for the likes of Troy Deeney and Andre Gray.

Liverpool Team News and Predicted Lineup

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Jurgen Klopp didn’t have the luxury of getting to train with the majority of his squad for two, uninterrupted weeks. Quite the opposite was true for the German, but despite this, Liverpool have a nearly full squad to choose from.

Jordan Henderson has returned from a hamstring injury and could possibly start ahead of Fabinho. Naby Keita has also recovered from injury, but unlike Hendo, he was forced to travel with his national side, which could see his Liverpool return delayed.

Xherdan Shaqiri is always an option now as well, but further changes would likely happen at the back, if Klopp elects to rotate at all. Alberto Moreno could come in for Andy Robertson after he played two full games for Scotland. Dejan Lovren could come back into the side as well.

Pre-Game Analysis

One of the great unknowns in this game will be whether Klopp decides to utilise a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3. In the past few weeks, I’ve been very vocal in my assertion that Klopp should use the former far more often than he currently is because it allows Shaq to play and the results have been telling.

However, in this game Klopp should, and probably will, stick with the 4-3-3 simply because Watford play very narrow and overload the midfield. Pereyra in particular is a threat on the right, although he often drifts inside and occupies the half-spaces created by Deulofeu.

Mo Salah has a tremendous goal-scoring record against Watford, and all fans will be hoping to see that trend continue. All of the attackers need to step up though so that the defence doesn’t have to work as hard to secure the result, as we’ve seen in previous away games.


Watford’s form isn’t brilliant, but the fact that they sit in seventh place ahead of the likes of Manchester United, Everton, and Leicester, is telling. They won’t roll over, and any result will have to be well and truly earned.

Liverpool’s form this season at both ends of the pitch is exemplary though, and the back-line in particular have been impressive. Another clean sheet and a couple of goals should be very achievable.

A win is needed and will come after Liverpool maintain a first-half lead. The Reds will head home as 2-0 winners.

You’ll Never Walk Alone


Cieren O’Dea

Red Or Dead Liverpool FC Football Blog – 24/11/2018




Liverpool 5 – 0 Watford

Salah Slaughters The Hornets

If there’s anything that makes up for a loss against Manchester United, it’s a big win at home the following week.

From start to finish, The Reds annihilated their opponents, and on another day the final score could’ve been doubled.

Mo Salah opened the scoring with some individual brilliance, followed by a simple tap-in from an Andy Robertson cross. Firmino sealed the win with an unorthodox finish before Salah netted two more to take his league tally up to 28.

Player Ratings

Loris Karius – 6:

Karius had very little to do, a testament to the brilliance of the team in front of him.

One free-kick rattled his crossbar, but other than that, the German simply had to recycle possession.

Joe Gomez – 7:

Jurgen Klopp wisely allowed Trent Alexander-Arnold to step out of the limelight for this game after his mistakes last week, Gomez more than rose to the occasion though.

It seems that Gomez is the better defender, but TAA is better going forward, it would be wise to rotate the two in games that need one trait more than the other.

Joel Matip – 6:


Dejan Lovren was also omitted after last week’s nightmare, and Matip took his chance to stake a claim to become a regular.

He appeared far calmer and assured than in previous games, despite a couple of wayward passes.

Virgil van Dijk – 7.5:


VVD was back to his commanding, organising best against Watford.

While The Hornets didn’t do much to test the defence, part of that was to do with VVD being proactive and not allowing them to get started.

Andy Robertson – 9:


Even if Liverpool were given an unlimited budget, it’d be difficult to justify replacing the Scot with just about anyone.

He defended superbly and his cross for Salah’s second was utterly sublime.

Jordan Henderson – 5:


The captain is such a frustrating player to watch at times.

He played some unbelievably good passes under pressure to put Mane and Salah through, but also gave the ball away needlessly when there was no pressure.

Gini Wijnaldum – 6:


Gini played well, but it’s clear that he is either unfit or just rusty after missing the last few weeks.

He was mostly tidy in possession and reliable in defence, but ultimately failed to truly impact the game, even with the dominance some of his teammates showed.

Emre Can – 6:


Can came off early due to a back injury, but Klopp later assured fans it was “not too serious”.

Before coming off, he made some good runs and linked up well with the players around him.

Mo Salah – 10 (Man of the Match):


It’s not been since Luis Suarez was banging in goals that Liverpool fans have been so excited to see a player week in, week out.

His first and third goals were particularly impressive, with his ball control somewhat resembling the Uruguayan at times.

Sadio Mane – 7.5:


Mane’s greatest strength this season has been his selflessness.

He works tirelessly for the team, and rarely goes himself if the option to pass gives the team a greater chance of scoring, as displayed for Salah’s hat-trick goal.

Roberto Firmino – 8:


Firmino’s skill and industry perfectly rounds out this lethal front-three.

His linkup play and defending was typically on point, and his round-the-back flick to score his goal was masterful.


James Milner – 7 (on for Can – 26′):


It will be such a shame if Milner moves on at the end of the season.

He was again a calming, and yet potent influence in the midfield.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 6 (on for Wijnaldum – 70′):


The Ox was clearly keen to make up for last week.

Perhaps he was trying too hard to make amends, but regardless, his energy helped Liverpool push on and continue punishing Watford.

Danny Ings – 7.5 (on for Firmino – 79′):


Every Liverpool fan was willing him on to score in front of The Kop.

Unfortunately, he was denied twice by Orestis Karnezis, but the second time was enough for Salah to tap in the rebound.

Unused Subs: Simon Mignolet, Ragnar Klavan, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Alberto Moreno


Jurgen Klopp – 9:

It was imperative that Klopp set his team up to instantly respond to the questions that were raised at Old Trafford.

He made bold, but necessary changes to the lineup, and that paid dividends.

As time goes on, it’s becoming clear that the German is slowly but surely eradicating bad habits that had become ingrained in the club for many years before he arrived.

Talking Points

Bouncing Back

It happened after losing to Manchester City, then against Tottenham and now against Manchester United.

It’s becoming a running theme for Liverpool, and one that will serve The Reds well in the long-term chase for silverware.

If Liverpool can go on another unbeaten run, then a top-four finish will be certain, and a good showing in the Champions League likely.

Attacking Records

Hendo and Mane both achieved individual milestones by making their 200th and 50th Liverpool appearances respectively.

But it was Firmino and Salah’s record-breaking goal tallys that stood out and will surely make the headlines.

This is Firmino’s greatest goal-scoring season to date, and Salah now moves into pole position for the league’s golden boot, four ahead of Harry Kane and a whopping seven ahead of Sergio Aguero.

International Break

The international break is never welcome as it is an unnecessary interruption and chance for players to get injured.

It has the potential to derail form and momentum, so Klopp will be hoping all of his players come back fresh and can pick up from where they left off.

The good news is that it will give a few players the chance to recover from niggling injuries, and others some much needed match fitness.


You’ll Never Walk Alone


Cieren O’Dea


Red Or Dead – Liverpool FC Football Blog – on 18/03/2018





Liverpool vs Watford – Preview

Time To Bounce Back

After the disappointing loss last week at Old Trafford, it is more important than ever to play well and pick up a win.

Last night it was announced that Manchester City will be Liverpool’s opponent in the Champions League quarter-finals, and that the games will fall either side of the Merseyside Derby.

Now is the time to rebuild form and pick up as many points in the league as possible, particularly against mid-table teams.


Team News and Predicted Lineup


Nathaniel Clyne won’t be match fit, but everyone else should be available for tonight’s match.

Jordan Henderson will probably come back into the team, as could Gini Wijnaldum at the expense of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Joel Matip and Joe Gomez could also be options to replace Dejan Lovren and Trent Alexander-Arnold after their poor showings against Manchester United.


Team News and Predicted Lineup


Conversely, Watford have been plagued by injuries and absences lately, and will be without many key players.

Gerard Deulofeu, Nathaniel Calabah, Tom Cleverley, Younes Kaboul and Christian Kabasele are just a few names that continue to be sidelined.

On the other hand though, the likes of Will Hughes and Heurelho Gomes could return and the tactics and formation could thereby be tweaked.


This game will ultimately boil down to which unit can get the better of the other between Liverpool’s attack and Watford’s defence.

If Watford can frustrate Liverpool, they also have goalscorers in the team that could cause an upset including Troy Deeney, Richarlison and Abdoulaye Doucoure.

Mo Salah and Sadio Mane will be itching to put in an improved display after lacklustre performances against United.


Despite the disappointing performance last week, Liverpool should have no problems turning Watford over at Anfield.

If Liverpool start well, then Watford could again lose convincingly on the road as they did against Arsenal last week.

Liverpool will roll on with a 3-0 victory.


You’ll Never Walk Alone


Cieren O’Dea


Red Or Dead – Liverpool FC Football Blog – 17/03/2018.