PLAYER RATINGS: Watford 3-3 Liverpool

PLAYER RATINGS: Watford 3-3 Liverpool
Aug 12, 2017

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Miguel Britos’ last minute equaliser meant Watford began life under Marco Silva in one of the best ways possible following a thrilling 3-3 draw against Liverpool at Vicarage Road. Most of the pre-match talk was dominated regarding the future of Philippe Coutinho – who had submitted a transfer request on Friday afternoon.

Liverpool needed to put it to one side though on Saturday lunchtime. They didn’t, though. Jürgen Klopp’s side began poorly – Stefano Okaka put the home side ahead after 8 minutes after heading home from a set-piece, only for Sadio Mané to equalise 21 minutes later with a well taken goal after a fine passing move.

The game only remained level for three minutes in the second half though, when Abdoulaye Doucouré restored the Hornets’ lead after finishing from close-range.

Liverpool showed more creativity going forward in the second half, and were rewarded when Roberto Firmino’s penalty made the scores level again. 2 minutes later, new signing Mohamed Salah tapped in from close-range to give the away side the lead for the first time in the match.

Klopp & co thought they had won it – only for Miguel Britos’ controversial headed equaliser to level in injury time and deny the German a win in his 100th game as manager of the Anfield side. Here’s how the players fared.

WATFORD:              

Heurelho Gomes: 7

Gomes was culpable for Liverpool’s penalty after hauling down Mohamed Salah, but otherwise, the Brazilian goalkeeper was very solid when called upon, making a fantastic fingertip save from Alberto Moreno and denying Dejan Lovren from a set-piece.

Daryl Janmaat: 6

Was having a solid game until he was forced off in the 18th minute due to a leg injury. Offered a lot of thrust going forward.

Younes Kaboul:  6

Caused a few problems from set-pieces, but struggled when up against the pace of Mané, Firmino and Salah.

Miguel Britos: 7

Held his own in the opening stages, but struggled as Liverpool ran rampant at times going forward in the second half. Scored the equaliser though. What more could you want? An authoritative figure in the centre of defence.

José Holebas: 6

Fairly solid display, and looked confident when up against Sadio Mané in the first half. His fine delivery lead to Okaka’s opener

Nathaniel Chalobah: 7

The new signing impressed in midfield with some lovely, tidy long range passing. He was overrun though on several occasions in the second half.

Abdoulaye Doucouré: 7.5

Like Chalobah, he looked assuring in possession and rarely lost the ball cheaply. Took his goal well to put Watford 2-1 up.

Tom Cleverley: 7

Fine assist for Doucoure’s strike and recovered well on several occasions after losing possession. His work rate could not be questioned.

Roberto Pereyra: 6

Was forced off with injury yet again after missing 8 months last season, but during his spell on the field, he teased Alberto Moreno on several occasions with his strength & tenacity.

Nordin Amrabat: 5

The Spanish winger didn’t have as much of an impact as he hoped, but he still worked hard to cause Alexander-Arnold a few problems.

Stefano Okaka: 8

His physicality caused the Reds several problems and bagged the opener after pouncing on some awful defending from a set-piece yet again.

Substitutes:

Kiko Femenia: 6.5

Struggled against the pace & threat of Mané throughout, improved going forward.

Richarlison: 6.5

Nearly bagged the winner late on with a header, but nothing else of note to trouble Liverpool’s back four.

Andre Gray: 6

Didn’t have the influence he would’ve hoped; was somewhat marshalled by the strength of Joel Matip throughout.

LIVERPOOL:

Simon Mignolet: 5

Mignolet didn’t do anything noticeably wrong – he was hardly helped by static defending at a set-piece for the hosts’ opener. However, he could’ve arguably done more to keep out Stefano Okaka’s header.

Trent Alexander Arnold: 7

With first-choice Nathaniel Clyne out injured, Alexander-Arnold was given a start as he looked to build on a promising season with the U18s. He initially struggled when confronted against Nordin Amrabat. The local lad improved though after the break, impressing with his deliveries & began to look more assured defensively.

Joël Matip: 4

Matip, on paper, is probably the more capable defensively out of the Reds’ back four, but he struggled along with fellow centre-back partner Dejan Lovren at Vicarage Road. Despite usually being very accurate with the ball at his feet, the Cameroonian was guilty of losing the ball too often.

Dejan Lovren: 4

Many fans were hoping Lovren would never feature in the first team for Klopp’s side after 2016/17, but they were out of luck. The German remained adamant that the current crop of centre-backs was good enough to start the new season, therefore the Croatian again featured at centre-back.

It may be a new season, but it was very much a case of it being the same old Dejan Lovren. He was at sixes and sevens defensively, bullied by the physicality of Okaka and was far too static in the zone for the opening & the equaliser from Marco Silva’s side. A good pass over the top though leading up to Salah’s goal.

Alberto Moreno: 6

If you’d told any Liverpool fan last season that Alberto Moreno would be starting the opening game, many would’ve been rife with outrage. The Spaniard impressed with his attacking nous during pre-season, and reaped the rewards with Jurgen Klopp rewarding with a surprise start ahead of new face Andy Robertson at left-back.

However, he failed to turn around his detractors with another somewhat shaky display defensively, where he was sent tumbling to the turf in the build up to Watford’s second. By no means the worst performer out of the back four, though.

Jordan Henderson: 5

If Saturday’s encounter taught us anything, it was that a midfield pivot of Henderson-Can-Wijnaldum simply cannot operate. Not only was it lacking in balance, but it was shorn of any creativity with the absence of little magician, Philippe Coutinho. Henderson’s work ethic remained great though, and a few long range passes caught the eye.

Emre Can: 6.5

Can was strangely off the pace in the first half, although he could’ve done with a creative influence alongside him. Had more of an influence in the second half though, and one magnificent touch was simply stunning from the German.

Georginio Wijnaldum: 4

Many were hoping that this season Wijnaldum could have more of an influence in games like these against weaker opposition.

Unfortunately, the 26-year old couldn’t stamp his authority on the game and was guilty of being far too conservative both on and off the ball. Disappointing performance from the central midfielder. Arguably at fault for the last ditch leveller as well.

Mohamed Salah: 8

The winger was brought in from AS Roma in the summer for a fee of about £36.9million. Pundits had tipped him to link up with Firmino and Mané superbly this season – and he showed Liverpool supporters signs of promise after an impressive pre-season.

He squandered a great opportunity to equalise in the first half, being guilty of some erratic finishing. Salah added that extra dimension to the Reds’ play in the second half though, winning the penalty that led to Firmino’s equaliser before tapping in from close range to put the away side 3-2 up.

Roberto Firmino: 7

The Brazilian looked a little off-colour in the first 45, bar a lovely assist for Mané’s equaliser. but he began to show more desire and energy in the second half. A very reliable penalty taker as it seems; he coolly slotted home from 12 yards into the bottom left corner.

Sadio Mané: 8

Mané was very peripheral at times, kept quiet by Watford full-back Jose Holebas. However, the Senegalese showed the clinical side to his game by drilling home for the equaliser, finishing off a flowing, passing move. His pace caused the Hornets problems in the second half too.

Substitutes:

Divock Origi: 5

Probably shouldn’t have been brought on in hindsight, and struggled to make runs in behind the defence.

James Milner: 5

Little time to make an impact.

Joe Gomez: 5

Little time to make an impact.

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