The news of Philippe Coutinho’s transfer request a day before Liverpool’s 2017-18 Premier League opener against Watford generated fans’ outrage, meltdown, and negativity everywhere and things looked hostile ahead of their tricky away trip to Vicarage Road. The Hornets, rejuvenated under new gaffer Marco Silva, were keen to capitalize on the distraction of Klopp’s Reds and secure a winning start to their new Premier League season.
The Saturday afternoon clash, however, ended in a six-goal thriller and despite the Reds coming back twice from behind and leading for the majority of the second half, a late equalizer ( which looked offside from replays) in added minutes snatched two certain points from the visitors.
Below are the Liverpool players rated from the fixture.
Simon Mignolet: 5
The custodian retained his place in the squad after impressing the gaffer in the second half of previous campaign, but he looked nervy from set-pieces and outings, was poor with his distribution as well.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 5.5
The teenager earned a start in place of injured Nathaniel Clyne. The Academy prodigy was at fault in Watford’s second goal as he failed to make a clearance. Looked decent from attacking aspect with his runs and crosses. Was replaced by Joe Gomez in added minutes of the second half.
Joel Matip: 5
Was unlucky not to find the back of the net, as his header hit the woodwork. But the former Schalke centre-back was far from impressive as he was poor while defending set-pieces and struggled physically to contain Stefano Okaka and Andre Gray.
Dejan Lovren: 5
He wrestled most of the time against Watford’s physicality, but the Croatian was vulnerable while defending set-pieces and poor at positioning.
Alberto Moreno: 6
Moreno, who was apparently handed a fresh start after impressing the gaffer in pre-season, was impressive going forward. But he lacked defensive composure and was at fault while Watford scored their second. Had a much improved second half, but failed to defend the lead.
Jordan Henderson: 5.5
The skipper had a first-team return following a lengthy absence due to injury concerns. But the midfielder struggled initially with his passing and pressing; improved in the second half.
Emre Can: 6.5
The German played a key part in Mane’s goal and worked hard in midfield. Screened his defence and participated in attacking movements with his tireless efforts.
Georginio Wijnaldum: 5
Wijnaldum kept the midfield fluid but was not at his best this afternoon. Missed a golden opportunity towards the end that would have sealed the game for the Reds. Was at fault for Watford’s late equalizer as he failed to deal with the corner despite guarding the first post.
Mohamed Salah: 6.5
The Egyptian earned a penalty and scored a goal on his debut, but he missed a few golden opportunities and could have easily scored a hat-trick. Was replaced by James Milner in the closing minutes.
Roberto Firmino: 6.5
Had a poor first half. But the Brazilian had a much-improved display since half-time and netted a spot-kick as well as setting a goal for Mo Salah in quick succession. Was replaced by Divock Origi in closing minutes.
Sadio Mane: 6.5
The Senegalese wingman found the back of the net in first half and troubled the Hornets’ back-line with his pace, one-twos, and dribbling.
Divock Origi: 5
Made no impact since coming on as a substitute.
James Milner: NA
Played too little to warrant a rating.
Joe Gomez: NA
Did not help his side to defend the lead as his unnecessary foul earned Watford a free-kick and an eventual corner guided the Hornets to register a late equalizer.
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