Liverpool 2-0 Watford
The visitors missed a golden chance in the fifth minute as an outstretched Troy Deeney failed to get on the end of an inviting ball into the box that evaded the whole of the Reds defence.
Watford’s approach to the game was clear from the off as they sat back with a rigid defensive shape and tried to frustrate the Reds, who dominated the ball in the opening stages.
Nigel Pearson’s side looked well-drilled and executed their game-plan to perfection, with Liverpool struggling to create many clear-cut chances against Watford’s deep defence.
Abdoulaye Doucoure had an excellent chance to put the Hornets 1-0 up after a pull-back from Étienne Capoue, however, the Frenchman scuffed his effort, with Watford paying for it less than a minute later.
A quick Liverpool counter-attack from a Watford corner saw Sadio Mane play Mohamed Salah through, with the Reds forward cutting back onto his right foot and scooping the ball into the back of the net to score the crucial break-through for Liverpool.
Watford could have scored a leveller just minutes later as the ball fell to an unmarked Ismaila Sarr in front of goal. The Senegalese looked odds on to convert from close-range but failed to get the right contact on the ball as the Reds breathed another sigh of relief.
Liverpool doubled their lead inside five minutes of the restart as Mane powerfully headed home from Shaqiri’s excellent cross into the box, only for VAR to intervene.
Initial replays appeared to show Mane in line with the Watford defence when Shaqiri sent in his cross, however, VAR controversially ruled the goal out for offside after redrawing the guidelines.
The visitors continued to threaten and could have equalised through Gerard Deulofeu after he got the better of Trent Alexander-Arnold, but Alisson was up to the task of keeping the Spaniard’s low effort out with a crucial save.
The crowd became increasingly anxious as the second half wore on with the nerves in the stands translating to the players on the pitch.
Liverpool avoided any late drama, however, as Salah netted his second goal after substitute Divock Origi’s miskick fell to the Egyptian, who cleverly flicked the ball into the back of the net to wrap up the game.
It wasn't as straightforward as the Reds may have wanted it to be, but they continue their surge and go eleven points clear at the top of the Premier League before second-placed Leicester face Norwich later in the day.
Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Milner, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Shaqiri, Salah, Mane, Firmino.
Liverpool vs Watford Highlights
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