Pre-Match Information and Lineups–
For Liverpool, much had been made about the poor performances from Christian Benteke in the last couple of matches and as a result of this Roberto Firmino started up top in a false-nine formation for Liverpool. Dejan Lovren had to be stretchered off with a bad knee injury in the last match, so Mamadou Sakho had to step in after being out for about a month with a knee injury. Lucas Leiva came in for the injured James Milner and Adam Bogdan came in for the injured Simon Mignolet.
For Watford, the striker pair, captain Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo, had been lighting up the Premier League in the past couple of weeks, and so they started up front for Watford. As for the rest of the side, there were no changes as manager Quique Flores looked to keep the good form going.
The match started with a bang as Watford had their first shot within two minutes. In his Premier League debut, Liverpool goalkeeper Adam Bogdan dropped the ensuing corner, allowing Nathan Ake to stab it in for his first ever professional goal. Within15 minutes, Watford doubled their lead as Troy Deeney played Odion Ighalo in over the top of the Liverpool defence. Ighalo outmuscled Martin Skrtel and finished it from a tight angle to make it 2-0. Liverpool were able to steady the ship a bit over the next half an hour, however they failed to make any meaningful chances in front of Watford’s goal. The link up play that had been lighting up the Premier League in matches against Manchester City and Chelsea was not coming together, and that left the Liverpool supporters frustrated. In the 40th minute, Martin Skrtel had to come off with a suspected hamstring injury, however instead of bringing on a defender for him, Klopp chose to bring on the striker Divock Origi. This instantly almost paid dividends as Origi added pace and strength to a Liverpool side that was lacking in any attacking threat over the half. However, the Watford defence stayed strong and stopped any rare Liverpool attack, which left the score 2-0 at halftime. The first 20 minutes of the second half showed promise for Liverpool as captain Jordan Henderson and Divock Origi were giving the Watford defence some problems, however Liverpool could not break the defence down. Watford had their chances as well, as Odion Ighalo had the opportunity to make it 3-0 after he was put through on goal, however Bogdan came up with a big save to keep Liverpool in the match. Liverpool kept pressing, however to no avail as Watford scored a great counter-attacking goal which saw Ighalo secure his brace and Watford secure the three points.
Jurgen Klopp: “If you watch the TV, you see Bogdan had the ball under control and both hands were on the ball.
“It should not be allowed but first of all he should not drop the ball. That is the mistake of the referee but the biggest mistake was our reaction.
“It was a deserved win for Watford. Not because of our faults, but more because of the reaction to our faults.” (BBC)
Quique Flores– “Of course we want to dream but we want to remain humble. This is our one advantage, because the Premier League is very tough.
“We have a lot of matches and we never underestimate the teams we play. We are completely happy with the performance. It was an amazing victory against an amazing team.” (BBC)Man of the Match–
Adam Bogdan– C-
Bogdan came up with one or two great saves, however his costly blunder at the beginning of the match meant that Liverpool were already down from the start.
Jordan Henderson– B-
Henderson was arguably Liverpool’s best player because he was the only one who was making meaningful runs in behind Watford’s defence and also tracked back to stop many dangerous attacks.
Philippe Coutinho– D+
The usually sprightly Brazilian was ineffective during the match as he could not find a way to break down the Watford defence and apart from one tame shot in the beginning of the match, hardly tested Watford keeper Heurelho Gomes.
Nathan Ake– B+
While Ake was a bit fortunate to get his first professional goal, his play in the defence was exceptional, which shows the potential that this young player has. He is one to watch for the future.
Almen Abdi– A-
Abdi, while a creative, attacking player, did a fantastic job when tracking back to stop Liverpool attacks and was still immense when it came to going forward. It was an all-round performance from him, which is what any manager would look for in their midfielders.Troy Deeney– A
Captain Deeney is the heart and soul of this Watford team and that was shown by his immense performance on Sunday. Not only did he provide the strength and desire up front for Watford, but he never let the Liverpool defence rest and assisted his partner Ighalo to a fantastic first goal. An all-round captain’s performance from the Watford skipper.
Odion Ighalo– A+
How could you forget the man of the match, Ighalo? His presence in the Liverpool defence set them all on their nerves, shown by Sakho’s frequent mistakes on the ball. Not only that, but his link up play with Deeney and other midfielders lead to two fantastic goals from him. There was no one else really in contention for the man of the match award with the way Ighalo played today. Be weary Watford, because some big clubs may come for him in the January transfer window.