Liverpool started the 2017/18 Premier League season with a 3-3 draw with Watford at Vicerage Road. The game was full of ups and downs with some smart finishes and some dreadful defending. Like always with Liverpool, there was frustration, drama and late goals.
Liverpool Starting Line Up
Trent Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Lovren, Moreno
Wijnaldum, Henderson, Emre Can
Salah, Firmino, Mane
Liverpool went behind early in the 8th minute with a header from Okaka from a corner. This brought back memories of last season where the Reds failed to deal with set pieces time and time again. The lack of leaders at the back was clear to see. The equaliser came through Sadio Mane mid way through the first half. Some clever link up play with Moreno and Can allowed Sadio to go through on goal and he slotted the shot past the goalkeeper.
Three minutes later Watford found the net again after some more woeful defending. The ball was played across the goal and after some pinball in the box Doucoure found himself with the simple task of firing the ball into an empty goal.
In the second half Liverpool took control and in the 55th minute Gomez brought down Mo Salah to give the Reds a penalty. Firmino stepped up and slotted home the spot kick with ease. Things got even better two minutes later when Firmino beat the offside trap to run through on goal. He chipped the ball over the goalkeeper and Salah bundled the ball over the line to put Liverpool 3-2 up.
The game seemed to be slipping away from Watford at this stage and the Reds looked confident to see the game out. In the 93rd minute Watford got a corner. Again Liverpool failed to clear the ball and after a comedy of errors involving Wijnaldum and Mignolet, Britos was there to nod the ball over the line from close range.
Although Liverpool were behind twice in the game, it felt like 2 points dropped. We had commanded the second half and got our noses in front, only to throw it away in the last minute. It’s very clear that more defenders are needed before the transfer window closes at the end of August. Set pieces are constantly letting us down and something needs to be done about it. Whether Virgil van Dijk coming in will change that remains to be seen.
There were some positives to take from the game. Liverpool scored three goals away from home. Sadio Mane is back and scoring once more. Mo Salah scored on his debut which means he is off and running in a Red shirt. Moreno had a decent game at left back which suggests we have another option in that position.
After the game Jurgen Klopp said:
“The first half I wasn’t too happy with. We passed but couldn’t see what we actually wanted.
“The second half was a lot better. We forgot to close the game. We defended a little deep. We have to push up. Both teams struggled with 90 minutes, it’s the first game. That’s normal.”
Man of the Match: Mohamed Salah
Next PL fixture: Crystal Palace (H)