Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Reds Drop 2 Points In PL Opener

Sports - Football - Premier League - WFC 3:3 LFC

Liverpool's all too familiar defensive frailties showed as they dropped two points in an entertaining 3-3 draw at Watford in the early kick-off on Saturday.

Manager Marco Silva will have been very happy seeing his side fight out a draw with some great stamina and character in his debut match at Vicarage Road.

The home side took an early lead after eight minutes thanks to Italian striker Stefano Okaka's header and the Reds' non-existent defence.

Red forward Sadio Mané levelled the score with just under half an hour gone, a moment of brilliance, a fantastic diagonal finish from inside the box into the top right corner of the net.

But not even three minutes later, youngster Trent Alexander-Arnold was unable to clear and French midfielder Abdoulaye Doucouré put the Hornets ahead again ruthlessly.

Man of the match Roberto Firmino's penalty kick levelled the score again shortly after the break, sending the keeper the wrong way to make it 2-2.

And it was debutant Mohamed Salah again, minutes after winning the penalty, who pounced and tapped one in to give Jürgen Klopp's men the lead for the first time, 2-3.

The visitors pushed and dominated from there, Joel Matip hit the bar and Dejan Lovren forced a good save out of Heurelho Gomes, before Simon Mignolet made a crucial save, conceding a corner late on.

And it was that set piece that broke Liverpool once again, headed over the line by Uruguayan defender Miguel Britos after the Red keeper had gloved it, making it 3-3 in the 93rd minute.

Thoughts: Clumsy, cringy goals, but they all count!

Some argued the latter two Watford goals should have been flagged and disallowed offside.

I feel it still doesn't cover how Liverpool were torn to bits at the back, Mignolet just left picking up the pieces.

The Reds have a great, hungry, dangerous attack at the front, but are all worthless and cracked to bits with the defence unable to do their job.

No one covered the opposition players, they were left free to roam.

By the time any one even just thought of intervening, it was too late.

Familiar failings by the Reds, even Klopp didn't show any reaction at the late enqualiser.

And of course Philippe Coutinho was the hot topic after his transfer request was rejected on Friday, not even 24 hours before kick-off.

Will he stay? Will he go? Yes or no, before or after, the Reds knew before and know after which positions need filling and strengthening... And the transfer window is open till end of the month... So... A lot can still happen...!!!

Anyhow, anyway, this was a faire result for Silva and Co, who worked hard and didn't deserve to lose, denying the Reds their fifth consecutive season opening win!

And there is not much rest for the Reds, as they face Hoffenheim in their Champions League qualifier on Tuesday.

Watford Goals: Okaka 8', Doucouré 32', Britos 90'+3.

Liverpool Goals: Mané 29', Firmino pen 55', Salah 57'.

Watford Team: 1 Gomes, 2 Janmaat (21 Femenía Far 18'), 4 Kaboul, 3 Britos, 25 Holebas, 8 Cleverley, 16 Doucouré, 14 Chalobah, 7 Amrabat, 33 Okaka (18 Gray 63'), 37 Pereyra (11 de Andrade 49').
Subs not used: 5 Prödl, 23 Watson, 29 Capoue, 30 Pantilimon.

Liverpool Team: 22 Mignolet (booked 88'), 66 Alexander-Arnold (booked 61') (12 Gomez 90+1'), 32 Matip, 6 Lovren, 18 Moreno, 23 Can, 14 Henderson, 5 Wijnaldum, 11 Salah (7 Milner 86'), 9 Firmino (27 Origi 81'), 19 Mané (booked 37').
Subs not used: 1 Karius, 16 Grujic, 17 Klavan, 29 Solanke.

Match Stats: WFC 3-3 LFC
Possession: 46%-54%
Shots: 9-14
On target: 4-5
Corners: 3-3
Fouls: 14-8
Yellow cards: 0-3

Referee: Anthony Taylor
Man of the match: Roberto Firmino
Ground: Vicarage Road
Attendance: 20,407

Click here to read my previous LFC match report.

Pictures, facts and stats taken from the MOTD coverage and BBC match report.

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