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Dublin: 6 °C Thursday 13 December, 2018


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Good evening and welcome.

Ireland’s Grand Slam glory might hog most of the headlines but there’s still plenty of sporting action to enjoy on this St Patrick’s Day, starting with the evening kick-off in the Premier League.

It’s Liverpool v Watford, and it’s live at 5.30.

Stay with us.

Liverpool v Watford - Premier League Source: Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA

The snow is falling in Anfield. We’re getting cold just looking at that photo.

TEAM NEWS: Four changes for Liverpool – Gomez, Henderson, Wijnaldum and Matip all start.

Liverpool: Karius, Gomez, Matip, van Dijk, Robertson, Can, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Salah, Firmino, Mane.

TEAM NEWS: Only one change to the Watford team which lost to Arsenal; Miguel Britos replaces Darryl Janmaat.

Watford: Karnezis, Britos, Prodl, Mariappa, Holebas, Doucoure, Capoue, Femenia, Richarlison, Pereyra, Deeney.

The snow is really whipping across the pitch as Anfield stands for a minute’s applause in memory of the late John Molyneux before kick-off.


KICK OFF: Anthony Taylor’s whistle gets us underway, with Watford attacking the Kop end in the first half.

Flag 4Mins

GOAL! Liverpool 1-0 Watford (Salah 4′)

Well, that didn’t take long! We were just getting settled in to take the temperature of these opening few minutes, and Mo Salah already has Liverpool in the lead.

It’s a lovely pass by Sadio Mane which has the Watford defence on the back foot. Salah cuts back inside Britos, and finishes smartly.

So far, so Salah. Liverpool lead inside the opening four minutes.


A half of a half-chance for Watford — so more of a quarter-chance, really. Femenia crosses, Pereyra heads, but he can’t find the target.


Watford seem happy to sit back and let Liverpool enjoy a lot of uncontested possession at the moment. It might be prudent so that they don’t fall any further behind, but it’s unlikely to make for exciting viewing. Gomez whips in a cross from the right but it’s easy for Karnezis.


As per usual, it’s Mo Salah who’s doing most of the damage for Liverpool.

Liverpool v Watford - Premier League Source: Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA


Dangerous ball into the Watford box and Holebas has to head it behind before Firmino can turn it into something more meaningful.


Salah whips in a corner towards Mane. He steps over it at the front post, but it ricochets off a Watford leg, and bounces clear.


An early, enforced, change for Liverpool as Emre Can limps off holding the small of his back; James Milner is on in his place.


Snifter of a chance for Watford as they win a free kick in the Liverpool half which allows them to bring their big men up from the back. Liverpool’s defence holds a very high line and it catches Watford out. Offside.


NUTS! A Match of the Day moment for Pereyra who nutmegs a bewildered Mane as he cuts back inside with a backheel. Beautiful bit of play, although his attempt to pick out a team-mate in the box is cut out.


That might be Watford’s best chance yet – and the first time that Karius has really been called into action in the Liverpool goal. Pereyra crosses but Richarlison’s header is easy to deal with.

Still, Watford have grown into the game in the last 10 minutes.


CHANCE! Roberto Firmino should score – but the best he can do is sting the palms of Karnezis.

It’s a lightning counter, started by a clever out ball from Milner to Mane. Mane slides an inviting pass in behind the retreating defence, Firmino shows great awareness and a great touch to cut back inside, but his shot is at a nice height for the Watford keeper who is able to turn it behind for a corner without too much trouble.

Flag 43Mins

GOAL! Liverpool 2-0 Watford (Salah, 43′)

It’s a second for Liverpool… and yep, you guessed it, it’s Mo Salah again.

It’s a lovely team move that coaxes Watford just far enough out of their shell to punish them. Robertson lays the ball off to Mane in midfield, and as Watford push out on him, he dissects the defence and plays Robertson in behind the defence.

His low cross is devastatingly accurate; Salah’s finish is simple. Liverpool are purring.


SECOND HALF: Back underway at Anfield. Can Watford make something of this game?

Flag 49Mins

GOAL! Liverpool 3-0 Watford (Firmino 49′)

In answer to the above, that’ll be a pretty conclusive ‘No’ so.


This time, Salah turns provider – and in an attempt to steal some of the spotlight, Roberto Firmino finishes with an obnoxious flick. Salah whipped the ball towards the back post, Firmino jumped and flicked it off the inside of his heel into the far corner. Beautiful.


Holebas has a go from outside the box to try and kick-start a Watford comeback. Karius is scrambling across his line to cover, but it’s into the side-netting.


CROSSBAR! Pereyra has a free-kick at the corner of the box, and he can go to the front post or the back. He chooses back, looping a shot which drops and drops, and hits the top of the bar before bouncing behind. Very close.


This will give you some idea of the flick for Firmino’s goal. Worth setting the box to record Match of the Day tonight.

Liverpool v Watford - Premier League Source: Jan Kruger


Penalty shout for Liverpool – Firmino’s cross bounces up onto Mariappa’s hand but his claims are waved away.


Watford sub: Will Hughes comes on to replace Richarlison.


Liverpool sub: Gini Wijnaldum off; Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on.

Other than that, there hasn’t been much to report in the last few minutes.


A quick reminder of what this will mean in the context of the league, however temporarily: Liverpool will move back up into third place on 63 points, two behind Manchester United and two ahead of Tottenham, although with a game more played than both of their rivals.


Oxlade-Chamberlain takes on a shot from outside the box but Karnezis gets down to save.

Flag 77Mins

GOAL! Liverpool 4-0 Watford (Salah, 77′)

You better believe that it’s the Mo Salah show – he’s just scored his first Liverpool hattrick, putting a bow on it with a lovely-taken goal in front of the Kop.

With no fewer that four yellow jerseys scrambling to block him, Salah turns left, then right, then left again, patiently waiting for the smallest of gaps to open up so that he can jab the ball into the far corner.

He’s in a league of his own at the moment.


Liverpool sub: Firmino — the goalscorer not known as Mo Salah — is replaced by Danny Ings.


Danny Ings hasn’t scored since 2015, but he’s come annoyingly close here, doing little wrong but still denied by a good save from Karnezis.

Flag 85Mins

GOAL! Liverpool 5-0 Watford (Salah, 85′)

It’s a Fab Four for Mo Salah — goal number 36 of the season, for those who are still counting.

To his credit, this one comes about when he tries to set up Danny Ings with a perfectly-weighted pass. When Ings digs it out of his feet, his shot is stopped by Karnezis, but the rebound spills to Salah who smashes into the net.

It has been an incredible individual display.


And the Mo Salah award for man of the match goes to… Mo Salah.

Well, that was impressive. Liverpool remain in the hunt in the race for second and cement their position in the top four.

But really, it’s all about that man Mo Salah who has taken a huge step towards winning the Premier League golden boot, moving four clear of Harry Kane, and also done his Player of the Year credentials no harm at all.

Not bad for an evening’s work.

That’s all from me for this evening but if you’re so inclined, you can join my colleague Ryan Bailey here for live coverage of Manchester United v Brighton in the FA Cup quarter-finals.

Thanks for reading and for commenting.

About the author:

Niall Kelly


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