Liverpool 6-1 Watford: Swarming home win sends Reds to the top

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We came into this weekend with three clubs level at the top of the Premier League table. We left it with one by itself.

Jurgen Klopp guided Liverpool to the top of the Premier League table with a comprehensive performance to pummel Watford 6-1 at Anfield behind goals from Saido Mane, Philippe Coutinho, and Emre Can in the first half, while Roberto Firmino and Gregorio Wijnaldum cashed in after the break.

Liverpool had a number of near-chances in the opening 15 minutes, but Watford’s defending was solid to start. The Reds came closest on 16 minutes when a corner fell to the feet of Lucas, but his point-blank shot was well smothered by Heurelho Gomez coming out of net.

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Philippe Coutinho should have scored with 20 minutes gone by, as he cut inside beautifully to escape Daryl Janmaat, but he skittered his shot just wide of the left post, leaving Jurgen Klopp to applaud the first touch despite the disappointing miss. The Reds pummeled Gomez’s goal, somehow kept out through 25 minutes. James Milner tried looping a ball in past Gomez, but it was cleared off the line by Younes Kaboul.

Finally, Liverpool went deservedly in front as Saido Mane expertly headed home a short corner, a fabulous strike off the back of his head while being pressured away from goal. That opened the floodgates, and the Reds hit again just minutes later on the half-hour mark. Roberto Firmino fed Coutinho, whose touch inside sprung him again, and this time he hammered it low past Gomez for a 2-0 lead.

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The in-form Gomez was forced off after the goal, clearly in heavy pain with trainers looking at his right leg. That forced a goalkeeper change for Watford, bringing on Costel Pantillimon. The Reds didn’t stop pulsing forward, and they got a third before halftime as Adam Lallana lofted a looping cross into the box and Can poked it home with his head.

The second half was just a formality, but Liverpool used it to add to the tally. Roberto Firmino got one just before the hour mark as a Lallana cross found him completely unmarked at the top of the six-yard box, and the Brazilian tapped it home. That wasn’t all, as Firmino grabbed a second, a similar looking tap-in from point-blank range thanks to a find from Mane on the right.

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Watford looked for a consolation, but Loris Karius kept out a strike from Etienne Capoue on 67 minutes as a corner was pinged to the Hornets midfielder outside the box and he ripped a low one looking for the far corner. They would get one at the end to ruin the clean sheet, as Nordin Amarabat shucked a defender and found Daryl Janmaat in the box, and the Dutchman passed it into the back of the net for his first Watford goal.

Daniel Sturridge came on for some minutes with the game clearly done, and he would hit the post with 13 minutes to go, as did Georgino Wijnaldum who almost bagged a stunner in the dying minutes, but would score in added time after a shot from Sturridge was saved, and the rebound fell right to Wijnaldum who was left with an easy tap-in.

The win for the Reds sends them clear at the top of the table, one above in-form Chelsea and two in front of both Arsenal and Manchester City who were held to draws this weekend. For Watford, they remain stuck on 15 points, dropping a place as Manchseter United jump them with their likely Sunday result.