Battle of top four has reached its climax as Liverpool, both Manchester clubs and Arsenal are fighting for third and fourth spots (the other two places have already been secured by Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur) in order to achieve their Champions League dreams.
The defeat of Arsenal and draws of both Manchester clubs raised hopes for Liverpool ahead of their trip to Vicarage Road to face Watford. But the fixture was not at all a cakewalk for the Merseysiders considering their form against bottom half sides and a shambolic 3-0 defeat against the Hornets during previous campaign. However, the Reds managed to snatch a narrow 1-0 victory over the hosts banking on a spectacular bicycle kick goal from Emre Can and now holds a firmer grip on top four finish.
The match started with a major blow for the Reds as their star Brazilian Philippe Coutinho limped off the pitch with an injury. Adam Lallana, who spent a long spell in sidelines with thing injury, replaced him early into the game. The Englishman was unlucky though as his first time volley from outside the box struck the crossbar. Liverpool had clear dominance and they got their reward in an unexpected way when Emre Can picked up a beautiful cross from Lucas Leiva and finished it into the back of the net with a spectacular bicycle kick in added minutes. The first half ended 0-1 in favor of the visitors.
Watford opened the game up in second half and tried to use the width of the pitch with crosses. Simon Mignolet stood firm and did well with his outing. Heurelho Gomes, on the other sider, made a few majestic stops to deny Divock Origi and later Daniel Sturridge. Watford came close in added time of second half when Sebastian Prodl struck the woodwork with a thunderous strike. The game, however, ended 1-0 that takes Liverpool a step ahead in top four race.
Watford vs Liverpool Lineups:
Watford: Heurelho Gomes, Daryl Janmaat, Sebastian Prodl, Adrian Mariappa, Miguel Britos (Christian Kabasele 19′), Etienne Capoue (Isaac Success 72′) , Abdoulaye Doucouré, Tom Cleverley, Nordin Amrabat (Stefano Okaka 84′), , M’Baye Niang, Troy Deeney.
Liverpool: Simon Mignolet, Nathaniel Clyne, Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren, James Milner, Lucas Leiva, Emre Can, Georginio Wijnaldum, Philippe Coutinho (Adam Lallana 12′, Ragnar Klavan 86′), Roberto Firmino, Divock Origi (Daniel Sturridge 84′).
Watford vs Liverpool Highlights:
Watford vs Liverpool Match Stats:
|Shots on target||2||8|
|Fouls conceded (Bookings)||11(3)||9(1)|