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Watford 0 Liverpool 3 - Player Ratings

Another good three points on a day when very little came easy. It was a game of very few chances but three of them were converted and Big Virgil & co pitched another shut out.


Man City continue to steamroller everyone they face, but despite their near total dominance they can’t shake us off and it must be doing their head in.


The good


A clean sheet and a win at a difficult place coming off no preparation is great. We never came close to hitting top gear but this is exactly the kind of game that has tripped us up so many times over the years. Now we’re just routinely picking up three points, irrespective of whether we’re playing well or not. 


The bad


Hendo’s stupidity was the worst thing about the day, but Firmino playing as the ten, Shaqiri stuck out wide and Salah through the middle just isn’t doing it for me. Mo scored 44 goals last season, most of them from the right. Bobby bagged 30, most as a centre forward. It wasn’t broke so why try and fix it? Presumably to accommodate Shaqiri, but he’s wasted stuck out on the right too.    


Manager rating out of 10


Jurgen Klopp, 7 -- As stated above, the balance of the team didn’t look right and the performance was way below par. Yet he must have done something right if we can win 3-0 with only one day to prepare.


Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)


GK Alisson Becker, 6 -- Sloppy pass with his left foot to an under pressure Firmino could easily have punished with a goal, but he redeemed himself with a good save to deny Pereyra.


DF Trent Alexander-Arnold, 8 -- Decent performance, brilliant goal. Defensively sound for the most part and provided a good outlet. He’s been threatening to bury a free-kick for some time and this one was worth waiting for.


DF Dejan Lovren, 7 -- Rock solid. Whether or not he’d have started had Gomez been fit only Klopp knows, but whenever Lovren has played this year he’s been impressive and centre back is now a position of genuine strength. Can’t help but think he had a hand in Mo’s “Ramos” celebration too.


DF Virgil Van Dijk, 8 -- He’s just great. Rarely has to break sweat and just dominates every week. We’ve conceded 5 goals in 13 games. That’s the Van Dijk effect. No wonder Troy Deeney hates facing him.


DF Andy Robertson, 8 -- Lucky not to concede a penalty but otherwise put in a typical swashbuckling Andy Robbo performance, capped by the sensational late run that led to the third goal. He’s great, I love him.   


MF Jordan Henderson, 4 -- His first booking was a joke and should have been a free-kick in his favour, but after that it looked like he wanted to get sent off. He had a couple of fouls that tested the refs patience and then aimed a barrage of abuse at a linesman, earning him a final warning. A minute later he committed an obvious yellow card offence and was halfway down the tunnel before the ref could even produce his card. Complete lack of discipline, which is most unlike him.


MF Georginio Wijnaldum, 6.5 -- Showed some good body strength on the ball a few times, generally neat and tidy but not one of his more memorable performances. Not bad, not good, just a bit ‘meh’. Like most of his team-mates he was better in the second half.


FW Xherdan Shaqiri, 6.5 -- Some bright moments in the first half where he was able to play some dangerous passes in behind to runners, but couldn’t get into the game from his position on the right and was virtually anonymous in the second half before eventually being subbed for Milner.


FW Robert Firmino, 6.5 -- Played a key role in the opening goal and scored the third one, but he just doesn’t look comfortable in this role to me. He was coming eep and collecting the ball off the centre backs at times, and that's not where we want to see Bobby.


FW Sadio Mane, 6.5 -- Had a decent effort saved in the first half and did well to create the opener. Should have scored the third himself but his shot was too close to Foster. Thankfully Bobby put the rebound away so no harm done.


FW Mohamed Salah, 6.5 -- Generally well shackled by a Watford defence who were torched by him at Anfield last season. Playing centre forward makes him easier to mark and hopefully we’ll see him restored the right flank sooner rather than later.  




MF James Milner, NR -- Replaced Shaqiri and brought some stability to the midfield.


MF Fabinho, NR -- CBrought on as an insurance policy following the stupidity of Henderson. 


MF Joel Matip, NR -- Usual late cameo, don’t think he touched the ball.


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Hard to disagree with any of that.


We should line up with Firmino up top, Salah right, and Shaq between the lines as a 10. As you say, if it ain't broke don't fix it. And Hendo can fuck off to Cardiff, Stoke or somewhere else befitting his "talents".

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On the line about our persistence being a worry for City, I think that’s definitely the case. Guardiola followed up his revelation in the City documentary that he was worried about us (even though they were away to Everton) with another one that I read this week. He must’ve been asked about reading for pleasure for something aimed at kids but his reply was very telling. It was, “I love reading, but I don’t read. I start to read and then I think Liverpool, Klopp and I can’t focus”. 


The problem is that I don’t see him as a bloke who wilts under pressure. Equally though, I’m fucking delighted that we seem intent on making him do so. 

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