Watford v Liverpool Review: Salah stars once again

Roberto Firmino got his second career Premier league hat-trick for Liverpool, while Mohammed Salah was largely influential in the game and provided a wonderful assist for Sadio Mane while also scoring a sensational solo goal.

It was Claudio Ranieri’s first game in charge of Watford and it ended in heavy defeat for the former Leicester City Manager. It will not be a day he will soon forget as Salah stole the show.

Salah, who has been in amazing form, was the first person to unlock a shaky and lackadaisical Watford defense with a stunning pass to Mane who wasted no chance in being absolutely clinical with a one time finish. Ben Foster had no chance.

Ranieri made a significant mistake by handing Danny Rose the left center back position in his first game in charge, as the ex Tottenham player was an easy target for Liverpool’s lethal front three.

Salah, being the poacher he is, recognized the massive gap Rose left behind and also saw Mane’s run and made a superb one-time pass with the outside boot of his left feet weighted past two players and into the path of his teammate.

It was a skill pleasing to the eyes and Mane made sure to reward that with a clinical finish. Jurgen Klopp will be very pleased with his team, with the satisfying knowledge that that he hasn’t seen it all from his players even after years of coaching the side.

Watford would have been three goals down after 20 minutes if Liverpool opponents had capitalized on their chances, but Firmino doubled the lead in the 37th minute. After Naby Keita detected an underlapping run by the always lively James Milner and then cooked an accurate ball to Firmino, who made no mistake in finishing it nicely, it was a simple finish from point blank range.

By half time, Ranieri’s Watford only had 18% of the ball and any hope of the gaffer getting his to back into the game were getting slimmer. As he might have suspected, his players looked  worried, but he had a job to do which was to ensure that the result didn’t end up being extremely humiliating.

Salah scored Liverpool’s fourth goal with a bewitching solo effort that bore similarities to his strike against Manchester City 13 days ago. The sequence that followed struck a reminder but to some extent this goal looked so much better.

Four defenders stood between Salah and the goal but after seeing two of them off by feinting and rolling his foot over the ball, he left Craig Cathcart on the floor as he moved on to his left foot. Now he had a half-chance and he took it masterfully, bending an angled finish across a helpless Ben Foster. The effort a fortnight ago owed more to his speed and ball control. This was a mind-boggling lesson in the mastery of tight spaces and body mechanics with a stroke of ingenuity. 

It was until the 55th minute Watford had their first shot which was taken by Juraj Kucka, even though it was comfortably saved by Caoimhin Kelleher, the fans made an ironic cheer to encourage Watford’s players to keep pushing even though they were 4 goals down.

The home side really tried everything they possibly could. Their new manager visibly attempted to make some tweaks during half time, but all had no effects.

“Come on, who is better than him?” Klopp said about Salah after the game. “We don’t have to talk about what Messi and Ronaldo have done for world football and their dominance but, right now, he is the best. His performance was massive. The pass for the first goal was great and the second goal was special. He is [a] top [player], we all see it.”

Once again Salah was magnificent and he has been in scintillating form since the start of the game already registering 7 goals and 4 assists in 8 league games. Even though Roberto Firmino claimed the match ball, Mohamed Salah chants were all over the pitch after his beautiful performance against Watford.

On every other day, Firmino should have received all praises by pundits but they can just help but give it all to Salah. Now the question is should Mohamed Salah be getting Balon d’or shouts with his excellent and consistent performances?

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