WATFORD 3-3 LIVERPOOL
Liverpool’s first Premier League game of the season ended in a draw. An away fixture travelling to Watford saw the Reds only claim one single point by full time.
Liverpool’s manager had been using a variety of options in the pre-season games which led to major speculation over just who might make the starting 11 in our first official Premier League fixture of the season. Simon Mignolet would keep his spot as “first choice” goalkeeper while Alexander Arnold would make the team ahead of Joe Gomez. Milner wouldn’t be the first choice left back (Moreno came in for that role) and with Jordan Henderson back after months of injury, we have our captain back in the middle of the field again. Jurgen Klopp made full use of his new signing Mohammed Salah. Even at this early stage in the season, Liverpool have an injury list which includes Sturridge and Coutinho, making way for other players in their same positions to start pushing through and claiming places in the side.
Liverpool started well, with Salah getting a few chances that were close but not close enough to give us a goal. Watford would eventually be the first to take a lead after a corner in the 8th minute saw Mignolet attempt to collect but not secure the ball, which was struck by Okaka’s head from what had to be a single yard away from the net. Watford 1-0 Liverpool.
Liverpool struggled against Watford’s defence, they seemed very organised and we just keep pushing through but often were denied even space enough to shoot. Our attackers had to physically force their way past Watford defenders at times, just to get our opportunities for scoring.
Liverpool kept on going despite the difficulty and found themselves back on level terms in the 29th minute when Emre Can’s sensational flick picked out Mane, who curled the ball into the top corner. This was a special goal, very accurately placed into the net and it was just a shame that while Liverpool fans were still celebrating drawing 1-1, Watford would very quickly race down the other end and get their second goal. Less than three minutes went by between Mané’s goal and Doucoure’s finish which gave Watford the lead once more. Poor defending from Alexander Arnold was a key reason why we’d concede. He didn’t cover enough space in front of the goalkeeper, leaving an open position for Doucoure to sneak into and try his luck from close-range. Watford 2-1 Liverpool would remain the score by half time
Despite trailing by a goal, I still felt optimistic at this point. Both Mané and Salah had shown good form and taken goal scoring opportunities.
About 10 minutes into the next half, Salah attacked yet again and was brought down in the penalty area by Watford’s goalkeeper, Heurelho Gomes. Firmino would be chosen to take the penalty kick and he would calmly shoot left while Gomes had dived to Firmino’s right. It was never going to be saved. Watford 2-2 Liverpool
Liverpool continued to press more and more in the 2nd half, showing intent and determination to continue attacking and scoring.
Liverpool completed the comeback from behind just three minutes later. Dejan Lovren’s long ball picked out Firmino, who lifted the ball over Gomes, leaving Salah to jump into the air and head home the ball from close range to secure a Premier League debut goal. Watford 2-3 Liverpool
Liverpool went close to extending their lead even further when Matip’s header cannoned back off the crossbar and Salah’s shot smashed into the side netting, but missed chances came back to haunt the Reds deep into injury time. We’d looked winners from the 57th minute when Salah had scored but after a half hour of domination, Watford got lucky very late into the game.
Set pieces had been a sore point for Liverpool in this game with Simon Mignolet showing bad form on at least two corners which both provided goals for Watford. Deep into injury time Mignolet parried Richarlison’s shot onto the bar but the ball dropped to Britos, who couldn’t really miss when the ball which had not been safely collected by Mignolet was gifted to him. Watford 3-3 Liverpool.
At this point, I wouldn’t mind if Loris Karius was chosen to replace Mignolet as first choice goalkeeper, for an opportunity to prove himself better than the poor performance we’d seen from Mignolet.
Man of The Match
Mohammed Salah showed the most initiative and promise, even from before Mané had scored his goal. He spent both halves attacking and attempting to increase Liverpool’s lead, even when we were losing or drawing. A determined player under pressure with a desire to win is what we saw. I feel bad his debut which had seen him score did not provide a victory for him but we all have lots to look forward to with Salah in the lineup for Liverpool.
Well, that’s all for now. We’ll be back as our season will continue and will soon also be including Champions League football this month. You keep on walking with hope in your hearts, Anfield Family. You’ll Never Walk Alone.
[written by] Stuart Drewery.
I’m an Englishman (born and raised in Liverpool in the 80s). My whole family including my parents and grandparents were Liverpool fans so I was born into being a red.
I’ve seen Liverpool win the league (more than 25 years ago) and I’ve been 100% loyal and committed while supporting the Reds through all the good times AND the bad times since the 80s