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Salah double stings Hornets as Liverpool labour to hard-fought win

An injury to Georginio Wijnaldum gives the Reds reason for concern.

Georginio Wijnaldum receives treatment after being injured against Watford.
Georginio Wijnaldum receives treatment after being injured against Watford.

LIVERPOOL MADE HARD work of beating rock-bottom Watford 2-0 in the Premier League this afternoon and also suffered another injury blow as Georginio Wijnaldum limped off ahead his side’s Club World Cup trip.

A day on from manager Jurgen Klopp signing a contract extension to 2024, the runaway leaders were well below their brilliant best but nevertheless claimed victory through two goals from Mohamed Salah, the second coming in the 90th minute.

Abdoulaye Doucoure and Ismaila Sarr were guilty of horrible misses for Watford either side of Salah’s first strike seven minutes before half-time and there were several other presentable chances for Watford in their first game under Nigel Pearson.

However, Liverpool – who also had a goal ruled out by VAR - ultimately did enough to claim victory and will now hope for a positive update on Wijnaldum as they prepare for a Club World Cup semi-final on Wednesday.

What does it mean? Ugly win no problem amid hectic schedule

Liverpool may not have been particularly impressive, but Klopp is unlikely to mind one bit. December is an intense month for the league leaders and securing another win – their 16th from 17 league games – was essentially all that matters.

Deulofeu’s efforts go unrewarded

So much of Watford’s best play came down the flanks, with Deulofeu particularly influential. The tricky winger should have crowned an impressive performance with a second-half goal, but failed to beat Alisson after being put through one-on-one.

Sarr has a shocker

If Doucoure’s spurned chance was clumsy, the midfielder failing to make clean contact when unmarked by the penalty spot, Sarr’s subsequent mis-kick was a real shocker. Alisson palmed a Deulofeu cross straight into the winger’s path, but Sarr almost missed the ball completely having had time to settle himself. The effort summed up Sarr’s general lack of quality in the final third as he wasted a host of promising opportunities.

What’s next?

Liverpool’s senior squad now head to the Club World Cup in Qatar as their youngsters face Aston Villa in the EFL Cup. The Reds’ next Premier League meeting is a tantalising Stephen’s Day clash at second-placed Leicester, while Watford host Manchester United next Sunday.

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