Liverpool 2-0 Watford | Player ratings

Shaqiri
The points just keep rolling in and another three yesterday were very welcome. At first viewing I felt our performance was a touch underwhelming and against bottom of the league Watford we all hoped for better. Having re-watched, we weren't that bad. A mixed bag seems the best description. Some of our players did better than others though and so let's take a look at their ratings.

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Alisson - (8) Watford were pretty woeful in front of goal but a number of good saves were required and Alisson duly obliged. Solid distribution as well, one second half ball out in particular was hit the entire length of the pitch straight to Salah who perhaps should have scored with it. An all round good game from Alisson, worthy of his first clean sheet at Anfield this season.

Alexander-Arnold - (7.5) Trent's often labelled as good in attack but not so good in defence which I think is a bit unfair. He's actually very good at both and against Watford put in a solid display in defence, largely nullifying the threat from Deulofeu. Also played some nice crosses and generally did well in attack as always. Along with others however he made life more difficult than it needed to be in the later stages of the game by fouling the aforementioned Deulofeu twice, with both the resulting free kicks leading to chances for Watford. Overall though Trent had a pretty decent game.

Gomez - (7.5) Really impressed with Gomez in this game, thought he looked close to being back to his best and partnered up very well with VVD. For virtually the whole match didn't put a foot wrong. Played some nice passes including long range ones to start attacks and read the game well resulting in good positioning and tackles in defence. Just past the eighty minute mark however Gomez was another player who made things difficult with a misplaced header which put Watford through on goal and had to be dealt with by VVD.....

Van Dijk - (7.5) For the most part Virgil had a good game, impressing with the same qualities he does week in, week out. Was pivotal in us keeping a clean sheet and although Watford can't shoot for toffee, I still would have rated him an eight, if it wasn't for his error during the last ten minutes. After mopping up Gomez's described cock-up, Virgil then miss hit what should have been a simple pass back to Alisson straight out of play. That gave Watford a corner from which they hit our near post. Alisson looked to have it covered but this was another example of us failing to properly shut up shop and with just a one goal lead wasn't ideal.

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Milner - (7) During the first half Milner was okay-ish playing at left back but not close to the normal high level we're used to from Robertson. He was fairly solid defensively but we missed some fluency and sharpness when we tried to go forward. Robertson links up with our other players so well on the move, at speed and Milner just doesn't have that same snap to his play. Nor is it fair for us to expect such when he's playing a covering role which isn't his main position. When Gini went off injured, Robbo came on and Milner was returned to midfield where he played much better.

Henderson - (7) As with many of our players Hendo had a changeable day. In the first half I counted five unforced errors from him. Not sure if they would be recorded as such officially but to my eyes they were - misplaced passes straight out of play or simply way off target and giving away possession. He did some good work as he always does but overall not his best. In the second half he was far better. The errors stopped and his forward play and passing were much improved while still doing a job defensively.

Wijnaldum - (6.5) Played slightly less than an hour before coming off injured, news today of his inclusion in our Club World Cup squad suggests it's thankfully not too serious. Up till that point Gini played okay but was far from stellar. Was involved in clearing the danger twice in our area in quick succession and did a fair amount of defensive work which shouldn't be undervalued. There's always a feeling that he could do more though and we know he's very capable of doing.

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Shaqiri - (7) A fair to middling performance from Shaq. I felt he played some nice angled passes, generally kept possession well and worked his way into some good spaces. Played a fantastic ball into Mane which he headed home equally fantastically only for VAR to controversially rule it offside. Overall I think it reasonable for us to expect to see Shaqiri make more of a nuisance of himself in attack. He's not long back from injury though so some patience is merited.

Firmino - (6.5) (7) I was leaning toward a seven for Bobby as he did a fair amount of good in the game but he was also clumsy in his touch and passing at times. We expect more from players we know can excel than merely 'good' We need to see exceptional and that just wasn't the case. He put a shift in defensively as always and was a nuisance for Watford to deal with in attack but never managed to quite hook things up. Looks a bit jaded and perhaps in need of a rest. Edit: reading my notes back I've marked down Bobby as starting the move which led to our first goal so a seven it is.

Mane - (7.5) Far from Mane's best game but he did contribute. After receiving the just mentioned quality long ball from Firmino, he in turn played a nice pass to Salah who then scored a very good goal to get us off the mark. Mane was arguably unfortunate to have his own goal ruled out by VAR but regardless it was a superbly taken header. Credit to him for then reacting well as rather than sulking he immediately turned to our fans and urged them to raise the roof in support as he became more determined to get the game won. Later picked out a good pass to Origi which resulted in our second.

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Salah - (8.5) Another good game for Mo who pleasingly has rediscovered some good form. Often (fairly) criticised for poor touch and control, in this game he played some lovely football including lots of nifty footwork. A really nice and skilfully aimed first goal and an audacious and cheeky second one. A fine game overall but perhaps could and should have scored more. He was in good positions to do so several times. In part due to good defending from Watford but also in part due to not great play from Mo he didn't make the most of those situations. Still MOTM for me.

Subs

Robertson - (7) Came on for Gini with half an hour to go. Played well and we improved on the left versus when Milner was there but I didn't think Robbo was all that involved in the match for it's remainder. Not through being poor but just naturally how the game went. Did everything asked of him to his normal high standards though.

Oxlade-Chamberlain - (7) Just twenty minutes left when The Ox came on in place of Shaqiri and a very similar story to Robbo's - Ox wasn't all that involved in the match. It was probably the story of the game really in the latter part not a whole lot was happening.

Origi - (6.5) Replaced Firmino with just two minutes of normal time left. Time wasting substitution and I can't credit him for wildly miss hitting a shot which Mane set up. Mo can be credited for finishing it when the miss struck ball randomly found him but our normally super sub not so much. I did however give him half a point extra for at least getting into a position to receive that ball.

The Gaffa



Klopp - (7) Pretty decent from Jurgen, we won two nil so he obviously got things about right but I'm not certain our starting eleven was perfect or if it was then maybe our tactics weren't. The wind had been both strong and gusting in the UK, fifty miles per hour and more, yet it didn't seem like we'd made allowance for it. We started the game like normal trying to play long lofted balls. Some of them promptly went with the wind and could have landed at Goodison but maybe I'm being too keen to make allowances for our at times poor play.

One thing I'm certain of is that Watford played very well. Much better than their league standing suggested they would. The commentator said he felt they were trying to bypass our press via balls over the top but I disagree. What I saw, especially in the early parts of the game was some very sharp and decent on the deck passing from Watford who in those passages out played us and got themselves into some decent shooting positions as a result. Thankfully they then did show why they're bottom of the league by totally lashing those chances up.

We were poor in patches and good in others hence my opening mixed bag description which applied to most of our players. At one end though we had a fine game throughout from Mo and at the other we had the same from Alisson. For me that's what made the difference. Now games come at a silly rate of knots and fingers crossed we win the whole dog damn lot of 'em.

YNWA
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