Relentless Liverpool beginning to believe after 6-1 thumping of Watford

Liverpool 6 Watford 1

Relentless Liverpool beginning to believe after 6-1 thumping of Watford

Whatever questions are asked of Klopp’s side at the moment, they come up with the answers.

Watford arrived at Anfield on the back of three clean sheets and under gnarled chain-smoking Walter Mazzarri were primed not to give an inch.

Not that you would think it given the manner with which Liverpool systematically ripped Watford to shreds in two halves of scintillating football.

Klopp’s Liverpool are the real deal.

Watford’s defenders endured such a torrid afternoon that you half expected them to take their white shirts off and wave them above their heads at one point.

If Chelsea’s 5-0 demolition of Everton on Saturday was a statement of intent, Klopp’s men provided the kind of riposte which indicates they possess the inner steel for the challenges ahead.

Klopp was measured afterwards, urging caution despite the fervour whipped up after such a result.

“If somebody thinks being one point ahead after 11 matchdays is a big sign for the rest of the season, I can’t help this person, so sorry,” said the German.

“We stay cool, it’s the best position I can imagine, nothing else happened. Stay cool, take the things like they are, play your best football and win football games. That’s the only thing you can do.”

‘Liverpool top of the league’ proclaimed the supporters as they drifted out of the Kop at full-time. This was the first time since May 2014 — 916 days ago — that they had been able to say that.

On that occasion, Liverpool, propelled by the brilliance of Luis Suarez and the heart of Steven Gerrard, went oh so close to the holy grail of the league title.

There is a distinctly different feel about this Liverpool team — less reliant on individuals but of greater collective strength.

They are three points better off than that Liverpool side were at the same stage of the campaign.

A 1-1 draw in the North London derby offered Klopp’s side the opportunity to head into the international break top of the pile, although it was a result the Liverpool manager revealed had “not been spoken about” in the dressing room before kick-off.

Liverpool brimmed with energy, purposefulness and zest as they scored six times for the first time since September 2009. The attacking triumvirate of Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane were relentless and all deservedly got on the scoresheet, but barely a player in a red shirt put a foot wrong.

Mane put Liverpool ahead when he glanced a header from Coutinho’s cross following a short corner, before the latter added a second with a low drive from the edge of the box. Coutinho has now had a hand in eight goals in his last seven league appearances for Liverpool with three goals and five assists.

Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes limped out to be replaced by Costel Pantilimon, but the Romanian’s entrance did not spark a change of fortune for the visitors.

Indeed, Emre Can ensured the game as a contest was over at half-time when he headed in from close range following a superb cross by Adam Lallana.

If Watford hoped for some respite in the second half, it was not forthcoming as Liverpool continued their aggressive gegenpressing. Firmino tapped in his second from Lallana’s low cross before he turned provider for Mane to stroke the ball home from close range Watford were able to give their supporters something to cheer when Daryl Janmaat arrowed a low shot into the net from the corner of the box.

The last word was Liverpool’s, though, as Daniel Sturridge saw his shot parried by Pantilimon and fellow substitute Gino Wijnaldum passed the rebound into the net.

Watford have played Arsenal, Chelsea, and Manchester United, this season but Mazzarri was adamant where Liverpool are in the pecking order for Premier League title challengers.

“From the teams we have played against, there is no doubt they are the team I am most impressed with,” said the Watford manager.

“If they continue like this, they are number one in my list for winning the Premier League.”

After 26 years Liverpool supporters will desperately hope the erudite Italian’s assessment proves entirely accurate come May. For the moment, they dare to dream.

LIVERPOOL (4-3-3): Karius 7; Clyne 6 Lucas 7, Matip 7, Milner 6; Lallana 8 (Sturridge 71; 7), Henderson 7, Can 6; Mane 8 (Wijnaldum 63; 6), Firmino 8, Coutinho 8 (Ejaria 87; 6)

Subs not used: Mignolet, Klavan, Moreno, Origi

WATFORD: (4-4-2): Gomes 5 (Pantimilion 33; 5); Janmaat 5, Kaboul 5, Britos 6, Holebas 4; Amrabat 5, Behrami 6 (Watson 61; 6), Capoue 7, Pereyra 6 (Zuniga 86; 5); Deeney 65 Ighalo 5

Subs not used: Mariappa, Kabasele, Guedioura, Sinclair.

Referee: Michael Oliver

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