Watford 3-0 Liverpool: Rating the Reds as their invincible dreams come crashing down | Premier League 2019-20
- We rate each of the Liverpool players who ended up on the losing side for the first time this term in the Premier League.
On arguably the most unforeseen day in football this season, Watford thrashed Liverpool and their dreams of an unprecedented invincible title as they scored three past the Reds. Ismaila Sarr, for the first time in his brief career was involved in three goals, scoring the first two before creating another ever-so-selflessly for the Hornets' cult hero - Troy Deeney.
After the early rise in form under Nigel Pearson, Watford started to stumble a bit in their quest for survival. The situation worsened since January, as they only mustered a point from five outings prior to this game.
As for Liverpool, they lost all three points in a Premier League fixture for the first time in 45 outings. And they only have themselves to blame, owing to the lack of attentiveness and promptness at the back.
The hosts fashioned majority of the chances early on, with Gerard Deulofeu and Sarr himself, getting on the end of a couple of big opportunities that they eventually squandered. Adam Lallana came closest to finding a remote lifeline, striking the post from distance with a well-timed left footed effort.
But besides, Jurgen Klopp's charges were far from their best; but as they've done so often this season, Liverpool failed to forge a comeback after trailing.
On that note, we rate each of the Liverpool players who ended up on the losing side for the first time this term.
Alisson Becker - 6/10
Alisson thwarted a couple of shots early on to keep his side in the game, but could hardly do much about the goals. He did extremely well to keep out strikes from Sarr and Deeney, but statistically, it was his worst game since joining Liverpool as he had never been guilty of conceding three prior to today's defeat.
Trent Alexander-Arnold - 3/10
Twice in the space of a week, Trent Alexander-Arnold's weaknesses have been exploited. He wasn't at his expressive best against Atletico Madrid the other day, neither was he today when plotted against Deulofeu.
The former Barcelona winger whizzed and weaved through Alexander-Arnold's defensive zone as many as three times till he stayed on the pitch, underlining the full back's potential frailties against tricky wingers who combine with inverted full backs.
The youngster wasn't great in the attacking third either, and an absent-minded back pass to Ismaila Sarr that led to the third summed up his evening.
Virgil van Dijk - 5/10
The Reds conceded two or more goals for the first time in consecutive Premier League games since Virgil van Dijk's purchase from Southampton. Not necessarily a form of concern with the title just four wins away, but the star defender and his side finally showed they too, are mortal.
van Dijk was clearly off his best; sometimes too casual and safe in his approach. He enjoyed a good evening with the ball as he always does against a sporadic high press, but without it, it clearly looked like the Dutchman was way off the pace.
It could be a matter of work load, but take for instance the third goal - van Dijk was on par with Sarr, but just as the ball was played in, uncharacteristically, he was battered in the foot race.
Dejan Lovren - 2/10
Lovren was clearly shorn of confidence in his first league start since the first week of December, portraying an element of panic against the tricky duo of Pereyra and Sarr upfront. He failed to track runs to his right, while also struggling to match the sparkling pace of the Watford wingers, who exchanged some serious spells of intent with Doucoure as the number 10.
Andrew Robertson - 4/10
Much like the rest of his colleagues, Robertson was way off colour. He was caught napping number of times, most notably when Sarr got beyond him ever so smartly and placed the ball into the back of the net.
Up front as well, Robertson barely mustered real goal-scoring opportunities. The gaps and acres of space he left behind his back was sincerely exploited by the Hornets.
Fabinho - 6/10
Completed a total of 74 passes - more than any of his team's midfielders or forwards. Fabinho was reliable in possession, spraying passes all across the pitch and demanding geometrical aptness from the ones around him. However, he too, struggled to match the number of Watford bodies that marauded forwarded with an advanced Doucoure.
Georginio Wijnaldum - 4/10
Wijnaldum is a key piece in Jurgen Klopp's jigsaw, who runs the pace of play, occupies fine pockets of space in the inner channels and monitors the second defensive line. He had a quiet game, and that certainly cast its imprint on the result.
The Dutchman was outdone by Etienne Capoue, who screened his spaces more often than not, and the rest of the Watford midfield that clearly outplayed Liverpool.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - 6/10
Oxlade-Chamberlain was highly effective in various stages of the game. He was lively down the inside right, fabricating solid interlinks with the wingers and full backs. Perhaps, he was Liverpool's best midfielder.
Mohamed Salah - 3/10
Liverpool were extremely passive in the first half, managing just the solitary effort on target. Their talismanic winger hardly found space down the right. And from whatever he could arrange for himself, the Egyptian let himself and his teammates down as he took one touch too many before being mopped up.
Salah swatted two efforts on goal, with neither of them testing a certain Ben Foster. One could say he was the least involved player on the pitch, as there were spells where we wouldn't see Salah even in the frame of possession.
Roberto Firmino - 4/10
The Reds have been patient all season for their goals, with the belief that patient, unexpected yet effective build-up or a serial counter is certain to result in a goal. It's worked for them every single time but this one. They were far too pedestrian in the onset, failing to grow into their stride before Watford assembled a couple of sucker punches in quick succession.
Firmino, in such circumstances, was forced to drop deeper and deeper. Tactically outclassed one would say, because the Brazilian was disallowed to turn, or launch passes, or combine fruitfully with his fellow forwards.
Sadio Mane - 3/10
Mane was far from his usual best, just as any other teammate of his. He spent a lot of his energy chasing loose balls, as there were not too many bursts of pace from the European champions. An evening to forget.
Adam Lallana - 5/10
Extremely sound in possession, highly industrious with his range of passing. Lallana ran the races and certainly injected some vibrancy and energy in midfield, but at 31 without much of regular first-team action, one wouldn't expect him to revive the creativity from his Southampton days.
He did play a part in some of the big chances however, while also getting on the end of one of them that unfortunately struck the frame of goal.
Divock Origi - 4/10
Origi remained well checked by the packed Watford defence that stood its ground and masterfully shielded the goal in the final stages. Origi was pushed wider and disallowed to break through the flanks or lash in crosses.
Takumi Minamino - N/A
Minamino came on for Firmino, but hardly influenced proceedings in any manner.
Published 01 Mar 2020, 02:48 IST