Victory at Watford puts Liverpool closer to Champions League target
Emre Can scored an incredible winner to give Liverpool a 1-0 victory at Watford on Monday night, putting them closer to the Champions League target.
The team talk must have been made easier for Klopp after the excellent set of results at the weekend in the Premier League. With Man City and Man United both held to draws on Sunday.
Liverpool: Mignolet; Clyne, Matip, Lovren, Milner; Lucas, Can, Wijnaldum; Firmino, Coutinho (Lallana 13′, Klavan 87′); Origi (Sturridge 85′)
Subs not used: Karius, Moreno, Alexander-Arnold, Grujic
- Watford were looking to end the season strong.
- Victory at Vicarage Road was a must if Liverpool were serious about playing against Europes Elite next season.
- Klopp no changes to the side that lost 2-1 to Crystal Palace.
- Return of both Lallana and Sturridge.
- Liverpool were dealt an early blow as Coutinho was forced off with a thigh injury.
- Can scored with a sensational overhead scissor kick into the top corner on the charge.
Klopp will consider the victory as evidence that even the ugliest of contests can be transformed by one split second of jaw-dropping brilliance. There has never been a better time for Liverpool to win ugly. It really was a truly forgettable game, however no-one will ever forget the amazing match-winning moment.
Can’s fine match-winner ensures we are now (again) in control of our own destiny. Put simply; win our remaining three and we will make it into the Champions League next season.
The gap from fifth-placed Manchester United has been opened to four points Now. However after disappearing against Crystal Palace in their last game, everyone had fully expected Liverpool to be outside the top four before kick-off here. But that wasnt the case!
Umfortunatly losing Coutinho was a massive blow, especially with Sadio Mané already absent long term. Lallana took his place, making his first appearance after picking up a similar issue on England duty, entering a tense atmosphere.
The substitute’s quick feet and movement did allow Liverpool the opportunity to gain more of a foothold, but Watford still held firm and Liverpool struggled to create any meaningful openings.
Lallana almost broke the deadlock in sensational fashion with five minutes left to play in the first half, but the midfielder’s dipping, long-range volley crashed against the crossbar.
Can went one better just before the interval, however, with the German sending an overhead scissor kick into the top corner on the charge.
Boosted by that late opener, Liverpool emerged for the second half an improved outfit, looking to add a second to their tally and secure a priceless victory.
One of the most improved players after the break was Divock Origi, performing with more vibrancy and urgency, and the Belgian went close to adding Liverpool’s second, but was thwarted by Heurelho Gomes.
The Reds continued to hold onto their lead as Watford looked to threaten Simon Mignolet, with referee Craig Pawson certainly aiding their cause with a series of questionable decisions.
Klopp sensed the need for fresh legs as the game entered its closing stages, sending on Sturridge for Origi, hoping to stretch the game with the striker’s movement, while Ragnar Klavan replaced Lallana.
It was far from the most comfortable of evenings, but these two substitutions gave Liverpool more of a backbone as they held on for a significant win.
Jurgen Klopp’s thoughts;
Klopp was impressed with how his side handled the early loss of Coutinho to an injury to grind out a third straight away win.
“We had to change Phil, for us a very important player.”
“We had Adam Lallana on the bench but he had only trained two times after four weeks so it was not a perfect start.
“But we were patient, played our football and tried to create moments. The goal we scored was spectacular but also the pass.
“We wanted to use our wide men to push the full backs and then you get to this position to play this pass and the bicycle kick is really wonderful.”
“It is clear we had to work and that’s what we did. It was not easy for anyone to win here because Watford have really improved in the last few months.”