PHEW! Liverpool’s insistence on never having a two-goal cushion is a controversial one, but if it leads to enough points to get us over the Champions League line then I’ll take another three games of not being able to sit down. Three points closer. Get in!
Here’s the match ratings. Please vehemently disagree with them on Twitter.
Simon Mignolet: 8
A clean sheet. We love those. Dominated his box well, held onto loads of their route one nonsense and didn’t let that Kwik-Save Diego Costa, Troy Deeney, get to him, even after that snide kick. Loses maybe half a point for nearly letting Daryl Janmaat beat him at his near post.
Nathaniel Clyne: 7
It’s gone a bit off the radar recently how much his form has fallen off a cliff, but thought he was mostly back to his best tonight. Dealt with his defensive duties well and although he’ll never be that useful at the other end, did at least join in attacks more than he has of late.
Joel Matip: 8
A rock. Found M’Baye Niang and Deeney as easy to deal with as anyone this season. Mopped up lots of potentially tricky efforts at finding them, was calm in possession, played plenty of good balls into the midfield, as well as a superb through ball to set up a Divock Origi chance, and even ventured forward to have a shot in the Watford six-yard box with five minutes to go. I couldn’t have been the only one screaming “Get f*cking back, Joel!”
Dejan Lovren: 7
Similar to Matip. Much improved from the debacle against Crystal Palace. Hopefully with his new contract he’ll feel the need to push on and make sure these kind of performances become the norm. Dealt with Deeney as well as he did with Romelu Lukaku a few weeks ago. Loses a point for needing to be saved by an incorrect offside decision when he stayed too deep on a Watford long ball in the second half.
James Milner: 6
I’m starting to feel sorry for ‘Millie’. He looks too right-footed and just too knackered to be what we need in that position. His reluctance to use his left foot stops so many attacks and means the opposition allow him to have as much of the ball as he wants. Did some nice things to be fair, especially to waste time late on, but I’m becoming a bit concerned about the noises that he may continue to be our first-choice left-back next season.
Lucas Leiva: 7
Was just a Lucas performance. Was where he needed to be almost all the time, got in the way of lots, was boss in the air and filled in well for Matip and Ragnar Klavan late on when they for some reason decided we were 2-1 down and needed a goal. Amazing that he’s reinvented himself as David Silva on the sly, with three assists in his last five. Though clearly taken a bit from Marcus Rashford as well with that first half attempt at ‘deceiving’. Gets a 9.5 for that one.
Emre Can: 9
Had clearly decided he’d heard enough of people deifying Sebastian Coates after ‘that’ goal at QPR and decided he wanted in on that action. WHAT. A. FUCKING. GOAL. Was also unlucky with a left-foot effort that a normal Heurelho Gomes would have let in. His overall game was good too, starting plenty of attacks, getting involved in the mucky stuff and almost getting an assist for Adam Lallana. Wish his celebration had been to run over to the bench and sign the new contract on Albie Moreno’s back.
Gini Wijnaldum: 6
Like Milner, not necessarily a bad performance but not one to remember. Didn’t get involved as much as I would have liked. Seemed to just pop up at random points where more often than not he gave the ball away. You can tell he’s trying to get more involved, especially in attacking moments, but it’s not quite happening for him at the moment. Shame as I want to see that smile back soon.
Philippe Coutinho: N/A
Only on for 12 minutes and spent a lot of that limping around after Adrian Mariappa deliberately did him in. Hopefully it is just a dead leg and he can recover in time for next Sunday.
Roberto Firmino: 7
Was on the periphery of the game a lot but always popped up in a moment where pressure needed relieving and he’d just nip the ball away and back into red possession. Wish he’d turned around and chinned Deeney at the end after the Watford shithouse barged him in the back by the corner, and the incompetent official decided it was perfectly fine to do so. Maybe he’s not a fan of Bobby’s hair either.
Divock Origi: 7
Could go either way, this one. I’m sure there’ll be plenty who thought he was poor, but I felt he offered a valuable outlet all night and while some of his attempts to get past defenders didn’t always work, he held the ball up really well on multiple occasions. Should have finished better off that Matip ball but the run to make the chance was excellent and what we need to see more of.
Adam Lallana: 7
Sensational considering he came on about 60 minutes earlier than he was probably scheduled to. A few iffy touches but largely settled into the game from the off. His neat turns and deft touches added something we’ve been missing for a while and helped relieve pressure, and was tremendously unlucky with that volley off the bar. Loses a point for that mis-control on the counter attack, though. 2-0 there would have saved us all that extra 10 minutes or so of cardiac punishment.
Daniel Sturridge: 7
Also looked like he hadn’t missed a beat. Was so unlucky with another shot that normal service Gomes lets in, though I was cursing his name when he didn’t put Wijnaldum in at the end. Forgave him shortly after when he was fouled and the final whistle went.
Ragnar Klavan: N/A
Didn’t do anything wrong (other than for some reason try to attack at the end).
The Crossbar: 8
Wanted to demand its instant removal after it denied Lallana in the first half, but the way it redeemed itself at the end by pushing away Seb Prodl’s effort was fantastic. I’d very much like to buy it a pint.