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Football News: Liverpool v Watford - A Liverpool Perspective

Liverpool v Watford - A Liverpool Perspective
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Liverpool v Watford A Liverpool Perspective

 


An excellent team performance against a team that came out to play and just found themselves utterly unable to cope with Liverpool's attack. Like most people seem to have been lately, Watford were lulled into a false sense of security by Liverpool's recent performances, without looking at the context of those performances. Yes, Liverpool have struggled to produce their usual free flowing attacking play, but that is because every team has sat in deep and concentrated on stopping Liverpool.

The Hornets came out to play, they did not double and triple up on Salah, as most have done, they tried to go head-to-head with Liverpool, no doubt fuelled by optimism from their recent run. What they found is a Liverpool side that was just better in every area of the pitch and overran them, ripping holes in a defence that could not cope with the pace and energy they faced.

The result was a great answer to the recent criticisms the Liverpool team have taken, proof that it is not the pressure that was getting to Liverpool but instead it was just teams were purely trying to stifle them and, in large part, succeeding. Given a chance to take the game to an opponent willing to go for a win, rather than hold on for a draw, and Liverpool ripped them to shreds.

 

Gracia - got it completely, utterly and hopelessly wrong. No doubling up on the wingers, no extra cover in the defence and tried to leave men up to attack. It failed miserably, but it was good to see someone actually tried to make a game of it. Rating: 1.

 

Foster - while he did not help with getting caught on the ball early and his poor distribution, overall there is little blame attached to him for the result. Rating: 5.

 

Janmaat - struggled badly. Never got to grips with playing against Origi and offered almost nothing going forward. Rating: 1.5.

 

Mariappa - lacks concentration and is very easily caught out ball watching, as he was on both Mane's goals. Never really did anything to halt the flow of attacks. Not a game he will look back fondly on. Rating: 1.

 

Cathcart - no better than his centre back partner but without the pace. Rating: 1.

 

Masina - poor guy got absolutely destroyed by Salah, over and over again. By the end of the game even his blood will have knots in it today. He was given no help at all and was utterly unable to cope with Salah on his own. Rating: 0.

 

Doucoure - for such a good player he had a surprisingly poor game, being overrun time after time. Rating: 2.

 

Capoue - tried to make things happen, played a couple of good passes but was also overrun. Rating: 2.5.

 

Hughes - was never able to get on the ball enough to make a difference going forward and offered too little help to his full back defensively. Rating: 2.

 

Pereyra - another one who did not do enough defensively and offered little in the attacking sense. Rating: 2.5.

 

Deeney - gave his all but the service he received was appalling and he quite often ended up facing up against van Dijk, who had him on a plate. Rating: 1.

 

Deulofeu - if he had made any kind of attempt to stay on his feet when anyone got within touching distance, he might have impacted on the game. He had chances to make things happen but his end product was zero. Rating: 1.

 

Subs:

Gray - replaced Deeney in the 73rd minute. Made a much better fist of it that Deeney managed, using his pace to unsettle the defence. On another day against a less alert keeper he would have had a goal. Rating: 6.

Cleverley - took the place of Deulofeu in the 73rd minute. Offered nothing to the game at all. Only reason he did not get a lower rating is because he was not on the pitch long enough to impact either way. Rating: 4.

Sema - brought on in the 84th minute to replace Pereyra. Finally made Alexander-Arnold have to do some defensive work and caused him a bit of a problem with his running. Rating: 6.

 


Klopp - got it spot on, even the decision on Origi, to not just choose him over Sturridge but then play him on the left paid off. The early goal helped but it was one of those nights when it all went his way and all his choices performed. Rating: 8.

 

Alisson - despite having very little to do, when it mattered he was there, as usual. Rating: 7.

 

Alexander-Arnold - possibly his best performance so far. It was the kind of game he is made for, with the freedom to charge forward and deliver the ball at will. Added to that, his delivery was first class all game. Only downer was his weak defending when Sema first came on. He got himself set all wrong and allowed the sub to ghost past him far too easily first time around. Rating: 9.

 

Matip - struggled when Watford did get past Fabinho's screening, caught ball watching a couple of times, at least, added to his panic attacks in the box which saw him give up a chance and nearly score an own goal. However, there were big signs of improvement, he was more physical than usual, actually pro-actively going after the ball and putting physical pressure on the Watford forwards. Rating: 7.

 

van Dijk - got caught ball watching once, possibly just because he was so shocked that Watford managed to get past Fabinho for a change, other than that he was faultless and even scored a brace. Dominated the aerial battle all game long. Rating: 9.

 

Robertson - much more like it from Robertson, was able to attack at will and showed some good link up play as well as delivering some excellent quality balls into the box. As always his workrate was exemplary as well. Rating: 9.

 

Wijnaldum - once again had a good game, but he needs to be a little more decisive on the edge of the box. Was part of the excellent team performance. Rating: 8.

 

Fabinho - did an excellent job front screening the centre backs, as well as breaking up play in midfield and picked out some lovely passes. His work cutting out aerial balls in to Matip's area was particularly key as it stopped Deeney being able to really attack Matip in the air. It forced Deeney to play more over van Dijk's side, where he was unable to get on the end of anything. Rating: 9.

 

Milner - almost back to the level of the early season Milner, when he was probably the outstanding Premier League player, certainly the best LFC player for a period. He gets everywhere, harrying and worrying defenders, midfielders, the goalkeeper and still is able to get back and help out in defence when needed. Rating: 8.5.

 

Mane - excellent performance as a centre forward. His movement was superb, enabling him to get between the defenders to score, despite being inches shorter. Really did a good job there, and not just because of surprise value with him being central rather than either Salah or Origi. And that backheeled second goal was a fantastic finish. Rating: 9.

 

Salah - poor Masina will be lucky to ever recover from the chasing he got. Salah ran him absolutely ragged. I doubt he will ever play as well again without scoring at least one. Rating: 9.

 

Origi - did really well, the pressure was not on him to lead the line and he was able to isolate the full-back and attack him as well as adding a goal himself. Rating: 8.

 

Subs:

Henderson - replaced Milner in the 70th minute. Came on and helped see the game out, allowing Milner to have a rest for the weekend. Rating: 7.

Lallana - was brought on instead of Mane in the 78th minute. Surprisingly he also played through the middle and did well. His workrate is never in doubt but his legs are going, in the middle as a false 9 a lack of pace is not an issue, unlike in wider areas. Rating: 7.

Keita - came on in place of Wijnaldum in the 84th minute. Did not really get much of a chance to get into the game. Rating: 5.5.

 

Just to explain my ratings. I have gone for what I believe is more simple than the usual of totting up points. I have decided to go with 5 as having no effect on the game other than being a body on the pitch. Anything below 5 is a player who had a negative effect on his team and anything above 5 as a positive effect. So a goal scored would be a positive effect and add to the rating, whereas giving away a penalty with a needless challenge would take away from it.

Written by Tris Burke March 01 2019 09:48:28

 

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