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.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

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.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

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.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

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.

Lascelles admits Newcastle in for “long, tough season”

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Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles admits the players are prepared for a difficult campaign after dropping into the relegation zone early in the season.

After a third defeat in their first five Premier League matches, falling 3-1 to leaders Liverpool, the English defender labeled the upcoming match against Brighton & Hove Albion “our biggest game yet” and admitted this season could provide some trying times. “We have had a tough run at the start of the season, tough for any team. So it is going to be a long tough season. Ie have a good 11, a good squad and a lot of bodies. When we start finding the net we will get going.”

Newcastle will be buoyed by the knowledge that of those three losses, two came against Liverpool and Arsenal while the third came against a red-hot Norwich City side. The Magpies also topped Champions League finalists Spurs 1-0 and managed a draw against a struggling Watford side before falling to Liverpool last time out.

“We were in a decent position, a win against Spurs and draw against Watford,” Lascelles said after the Liverpool loss. “Now we need to push and get three points against Brighton. These games are six pointers at home to Brighton, we have to fancy ourselves. They will be big competition for us and Saturday is the right time to do that.”

Lascelles admitted that while the defensive form is a struggle at the moment having conceded eight goals through the first five matches with just one clean sheet – the win over Spurs – everyone is hoping to chip in up front as well, an attacking mentality that flows through the team. “We’re not happy conceding three against Norwich and Liverpool,” Lascelles said. “We are getting chances and creating a lot. When a couple of people start scoring the goals will be flowing and we have had a couple injured as well. It is important we all chip in with goals. I’d like to get a few. Fab [Schar] is a goal scoring centre half. He puts important points on the board. If we and midfielders can help out we will get to 40 points sooner than later.”

Lampard, players look to play down Chelsea penalty incident

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Chelsea manager Frank Lampard and his players have come together in hopes of playing down the incident at the end of the game that led up to Ross Barkley‘s fateful missed penalty late in the 1-0 Champions League loss to Valencia on Tuesday.

Barkley appeared to take the ball off a host of other Blues players who wished to take the penalty, with Willian and Jorginho looking the most vocal. Jorginho conceded rather quickly, but Willian was more insistent in his wish to take the spot-kick, pulling up his socks in front of Barkley before finally conceding.

[ Azpilicueta also backs Barkley ]

According to Lampard, Barkley was indeed the designated penalty taker and his assistance was within protocol. “Ross is the penalty taker,” Lampard said in the post-match press conference. “He was pre-season, scored a couple, has been when he started, and was today when he came on and he missed it, clear story.”

“I don’t know what the conversation was,” Lampard continued about the confrontation, “but Jorginho and Willian were penalty takers on the pitch, but when Ross comes on he’s the penalty taker, and he’s missed it.”

[ MORE: Recap, 3 things from Chelsea loss ]

Barkley confirmed this as well after the match. “We’ve got a lot of good penalty-takers in the squad,” said Barkley. “On a sheet in the changing room, it says I’m on penalties when I’m on the pitch, otherwise it’s Jorginho.”

Willian, who was far more demonstrative on the pitch about taking the penalty, said he was disappointed to miss out, but he stands behind his teammate. “I wanted to take it but he (Barkley) was confident to take it. This is football. He missed the penalty but it could be me that missed, or Jorginho or whoever. So football is like this. But when we win, we win together, and when we lose, we lose together.”

Chelsea needs to wait “48 hours” to assess Mount

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Mason Mount‘s move from the Championship to the Premier League has been nearly seamless.

His adjustment to the Champions League was cut down too quickly to get an understanding of whether it would be too big of a jump.

[ MORE: Match recap | Barkley drama ]

Mount, 20, was chopped down by Valencia’s Francis Coquelin, the former Arsenal man, and had to leave the game after just 16 minutes.

Here’s Frank Lampard, from

“He’s got an ankle injury but we don’t know how bad it is. We’ll have to assess it in the next 48 hours to see the scale of the injury. It was a shame because he started the game well and it meant we had to make the change early on.”

Mount scored nine times with four assists on loan under Lampard at Derby County last season, and has already chipped in three goals for Chelsea this season.

Lampard turned to Pedro off the bench on Tuesday, but any lengthy absence for Mount will spell more time for American youngster Christian Pulisic.

UEFA Champions League Wednesday preview: Man City, Spurs debut

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Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur begin their UEFA Champions League campaigns on very different results and with very different vibes.

City is coming off a stunning 3-2 loss to injury-hit Norwich City, and is set up in Ukraine to face Shakhtar Donetsk for the third-straight season, a side which beat Pep Guardiola once in four tries between 2017/18 and 2018/19 in the UCL.

[ MORE: UCL Tues. wrap ]

But on Wednesday, Guardiola’s men are going to carry a similar feel to one of his old Barcelona teams, as Pep seemingly will have Fernandinho pull a Javier Mascherano and drop into the back line.

Yes, Fernandinho and Nicolas Otamendi are Manchester City’s hopes at center back, now that John Stones has joined Aymeric Laporte on the shelf.

“For me as a manager it’s an incredible challenge,” said Pep Guardiola. “But I believe a lot, people don’t know the spirit and resolve to solve this problem. The players going to come back with Dinho, Eric Garcia, Taylor Harwood-Bellis. … It’s happened, but what we are not going to do is complain. We have to have 11 players on the pitch and I like it, to find a solution. For the players as well to find an incredible step forward.”

Spurs, meanwhile, will simply be trying to build on any momentum gained by a 4-0 demolition of Crystal Palace at the weekend, a win which came after manager Mauricio Pochettino begged his side to “re-focus” after a relatively poor start to the season.

Now a bit more relaxed, Spurs head to Greece as the clear favorites against stingy Olympiacos. These are, after all, the finalists of last season’s tournament.

Pochettino won’t be sleeping on the challenge, from The London Evening Standard:

“They have good players and if we are not focused and don’t take our best game we are going to suffer. But last season we played in the final of Champions League, so it’s normal people think before the game, Tottenham is one step above Olympiacos but in the end you need to show it on the pitch.”

Spurs are one of two early kickoffs on Tuesday.

Full UCL Wednesday schedule

12:55 p.m. ET
Club Brugge v. Galatasaray
Olympiacos v. Tottenham Hotspur

3 p.m. ET
Bayer Leverkusen v. Lokomotiv Moscow
Paris Saint-Germain v. Real Madrid
Atletico Madrid v. Juventus
Dinamo Zagreb v. Atalanta
Bayern Munich v. Red Star Belgrade
Shakhtar Donetsk v. Manchester City