The inception of a brand new Premier League campaign was not at all joyous for Liverpool as Philippe Coutinho, their star midfielder, handed in a transfer request yesterday within hours of club’s official statement of keeping the Brazilian beyond 31st August rejecting a couple of bids from Barcelona.
Amidst fans’ outrage, the Reds’ traveled to Vicarage Road in their season opener against Watford who looked like a rejuvenated force under new boss Marco Silva. However, the afternoon fixture witnessed a six-goal thriller that ended up in a 3-3 draw.
The home side drew the first blood as Stefano Okaka headed home from Jose Holebas corner in early minutes. Liverpool defense looked vulnerable from set-pieces once more as the big Italian was left unmarked when he netted with a strong header. The Reds equalized with their imposing attacking flair and Sadio Mane scored after linking up beautifully with Emre Can. But it took two minutes to regain the lead as the Hornets utilized Liverpool’s catastrophic defending and Abdoulaye Doucouré slotted from close range. First half ended 2-1 in favor of the hosts.
Liverpool came back strong in the second half as they netted twice in quick succession. Mohamed Salah was fouled inside the box by Watford custodian Gomes and Roberto Firmino, the new ‘number 9’, made no mistake to convert the resulting spot-kick. The Egyptian, however, scored a couple of minutes later in his official debut for the Reds as he tapped in from close range after picking up Firmino’s effort.
The Reds kept on making chances to extend the lead, but the likes of Wijnaldum and Salah missed a few golden opportunities, Matip’s header struck the woodwork, Lovren and Moreno’s efforts were saved by the Hornet custodian. Liverpool paid their price once again from a set-piece as Miguel Britos sent it into the back of the net in the added minutes of second half. The Reds were unlucky to concede so late and Britos looked off-side from the replays.
The game, thus, ended all square and Liverpool dropped two crucial points due to vulnerable defending and controversial referring.
Watford vs Liverpool Lineups:
Watford: Heurelho Gomes, Daryl Janmaat ( Kiko Femenía 18′), Younes Kaboul, Miguel Britos, Jose Holebas, Abdoulaye Doucouré, Tom Cleverley, Nathaniel Chalobah, Nordin Amrabat, Stefano Okaka ( Andre Gray 63′), Roberto Pereyra ( Richarlison 49′).
Liverpool: Simon Mignolet, Trent Alexander-Arnold ( Joe Gomez 90′ +), Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren, James Milner, Emre Can, Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum, Mohamed Salah ( James Milner 86′), Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino ( Divock Origi 81′).
Watford vs Liverpool Match Highlights:
Watford vs Liverpool Match Stats:
|Shots (on Target)||9(4)||14 (5)|
|Fouls conceded (Bookings)||14(0)||8(3)|