Player ratings: Watford 0-3 Liverpool

Shaqiri-and-Salah-celebrate-Salah-goal
Okay then that was a slightly bizarre game in which we played rubbish and excellent, and good and bad and indifferent, and superbly, all in the space of ninety five minutes.

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On paper a fantastic result. In actuality a fantastic result. So, all is suitably rose-tinted in the LFC garden then? Umm no. Not yet in my view. I think we have an ongoing issue in our attacking play, or more specifically the balance between attacking and defensive play and when to lean one way or the other during a match.

Today I think it's fair to say the overwhelming majority who share a similar view were hoping to see us display a lot more blood, guts and thunder than we have been doing, and for virtually the entire first half we were left extremely disappointed.

Having set us up in the 4-2-3-1 we'd been calling for and fielded what looked to be an attack minded side, Jurgen seemed to have instructed said side and formation to dawdle along at a snail's pace with no real desire or intent to take hold of the game. That was reflected by us reaching nearly the forty minute mark running at 71% possession and ZERO shots. And that's any types of shot. On target or off, we literally made not a single one and that's simply not good enough.

For the last few minutes of the first half though we did then decide that we might like to try and win the match and managed to rattle off three decent efforts in quick succession. Why on earth could we not have been having those passages of play since the start of the game? There's no valid reason why not, it's exactly what should have been happening and thankfully did then happen throughout the second half. As such both players and manager dug themselves out of what could have been extremely low ratings.

Alisson: 6 Made one very good save in the first half which had he not have done, could have put a whole different outlook on the game so credit where it's due. However he was also decidedly dodgy at times while playing the ball out and had a moment which was equally poor as the save was good. We were lucky not to concede as a result and he needs to buck his ideas up.

Alexander-Arnold: 8.5 A better game from TAA today capped off by a superb free kick which he buried in the back of Watford's net. Chuffed to see that because he's been close on many occasion and I think he deserved to see his efforts rewarded. I also hope it may be the catalyst to his game going up another level/him maintaining a bit more consistency.

I'm not sure there was a single clear stand out player today and you could make a case for man of the match for quite a few of them but for the quality moment of magic he provided us in scoring a crucial second goal, TAA is my pick for MOTM.

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Lovren: 8 Really solid performance from Dejan today. For the bulk of the first half we had zero attacking threat and I think that puts more pressure on our defence. They held up well though and Dejan was integral to that.

Van Dijk: 8 Similarly to Lovren, VVD was superb. You almost don't notice him at times because he seems to do his job so effortlessly. He is a Rolls Royce of a player - even when running flat out, playing pin point accurate long balls or winning heavy challenges, he never looks flustered and instead looks like he's barely even breaking a sweat. Fantastic player.

Robertson: 7.5 I would have scored Andy an eight as well because his general play was just as supreme as always. He whipped in many a decent cross including the one at the end which led to our third goal but he was also lucky not to have a penalty awarded against him earlier in the game, and so loses half a point for that.

Overall our defence were once more sublime and as a result they've set a new Club record. Never before have we conceded as few as just 5 goals after playing 13 games in a season.

Henderson: 5 I thought Henderson played well and for 82 minutes was solid and disciplined. There has always been a question of whether he is quite good enough though and today I felt he showed that he may just be lacking that extra bit of offensive quality. Otherwise he did his job well, along with Gini he largely blocked off Watford's attacking threat and recycled the ball nicely. Albeit in my opinion a bit too slowly and a bit too defensively minded but I believe that is more down to our manager than our players. As such I'm not blaming Jordan for that side of things but I am throwing the book at him for the needless red card.

Wijnaldum: 7.5 The same as Henderson - played well, just as he always does. Maybe lacks a tiny bit in attack but that is not a facet which is overly expected of him in the role he's tasked with. The same as well, I felt our midfield play, including by Gini, was a little pedestrian and negative minded in the opening forty odd minutes but again I blame Jurgen for that not the players.

Shaqiri: 7.5 Probably our best player in the first half. Certainly the best of our attacking quartet and  was unlucky not to have his efforts rewarded by an assist when he played a ball over Watford's defence which Salah probably should have scored with. Just as our central midfield was though, I feel he and all our attacking players were hampered by a seemingly intentional, overly slow paced start.

Firmino: 8 Much more like it from Bobby. Worked hard throughout, dropping deep to pick up the ball just like normal but today he also re-found his shooting boots. He was integral to our first goal and in the right place at the right time to head home the third. I thought he looked much sharper all round.

Mane: 8 Exactly the same for Sadio who I feel had a far better game than has recently been the case. Yes he still was perhaps a tiny bit wasteful but he assisted Salah for our first goal and it was his parried shot which Firmino pounced on for the third. If he continues in today's mould then hopefully he'll soon be back to his very best.

Salah: 8 It may appear lazy of me to score the last three players the same but I genuinely believe they all showed similarly good improvement vs previous games. Shaqiri as well would have got an eight if he'd gotten himself on the score or assist sheet. Overall though in a game where we score three goals our attackers have done their jobs well. Salah got us started today with the first goal and I thought he looked like he had a few more in him. That's a marked improvement and hopefully he too will continue a return to top form.

Subs

Milner: 7 A solid enough performance from Milner and when we went down to ten men it was good to have the assured footing he provides us on the pitch. In fact we did better in that period than just see out the game we even scored a third, but playing little more than fifteen minutes means it's difficult to rate much more than a seven.

Fabinho: 5 A halfway house score but solely down to the fact Fabinho played less than ten minutes rather than anything he did wrong.

Matip: 5 Ditto the reasoning for Fabinho's score though Matip played even fewer minutes.

Manager

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Klopp: 7.5 Difficult to score the gaffa too lowly in a game which we win 0-3 but just the same as with all of our players, I want us to hurry up and reach a point where they're meriting nines, tens and elevens. In my view that is not only what we should be striving for but where our performance levels will need to reach if we're to see silverware this season.

All in all, three more vital points today and some genuinely encouraging signs of improvement. Despite that, at times in the first half I was really starting to lose some hope for how the season may progress. Football and fans being a fickle thing though, that changed on a dime as the game unfolded and now I believe that we can and will further improve things; including the balance between defence and attack and that the result can and hopefully will, yield a trophy or three.
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