It might have been a bit of a workman like performance, but you won’t hear too many complaints coming from the Liverpool faithful as a much changed Reds side downed Watford FC at Anfield earlier today.
Christian Benteke and Joe Allen combined to open the scoring with some route one football just past the half hour with the Welshman sliding home after the big Belgian nodded the ball into his path and Roberto Firmino, replacing compatriot Philippe Coutinho on the hour, smashed home from 20-yards with a strike that Hornets ‘keeper and fellow Brazilian Heurelho Gomes really should have been able to keep out. The visitors, for their part, were decent on the day, but the pronounced lack of quality in Quique S?nchez Flores side was evident as they failed to follow through on their threats.
That, of course, will do Klopp just fine; it’s been a good week for Liverpool. After following up their loss in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final with Villarreal CF with a terrible display against Swansea City in Wales, the Reds put three unanswered goals past the Spanish side in the return leg to set-up a meeting with Sevilla in the Europa League final — and, today, they played like a team that was focused on Europe.
Watford, in turn, responded by playing like a team that already had their top flight status for next season assured. Swansea needed a point last Sunday to make themselves safe from the drop and it showed in every pass and every tackle; there was none of that urgency from the Hornets. Neither Odion Ighalo or club captain Troy Deeney could trouble Liverpool ‘keeper Simon Mignolet despite being presented with a number of chances and when that pair isn’t scoring, unfortunately for Flores, he doesn’t really have much of a Plan B — own goals are the third top scorer at the club this season.
The Anfield outfit, on the other hand, could have had quite a few more, but Benteke can’t seem to buy a goal and Jordon Ibe’s decision making in the final third remains suspect at best. With that being said, having made eight changes to the team that sunk the Yellow Submarine on Thursday, there’d be absolutely no reason for Klopp not to be happy with what he saw on the pitch today. Kevin Stewart, who had a shocker against Swansea, dictated much of what happened out there today, Jon Flanagan put in a solid 90-minutes and the youngest of the youngsters in Sheyi Ojo again showed that he’s taking the leap to the first time in stride.
After a draining European fixture and heading into our last home match of the season — against Chelsea no less — that’s exactly the kind of result you want. The more you win, the more you expect to win and with the way that Klopp has this team playing, I don’t think we’ll be too upset if we expect a lot…