It looked very much like the new season would be the same as the old season as Liverpool opened their Premier League campaign with a disappointing draw against Watford FC. Coming from behind to snatch the lead, the Reds dominated the second period after a sluggish start, but the Hornets followed up a first set-piece goal with a late second on the day to snatch a vital point and send the traveling Kop home with a familiar feeling.
“In football life, it makes sense to be really self-critical and that’s what we are of course, but in the end if you do everything on the first matchday, you cannot expect perfection,” explained Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, speaking to the club’s official website. “You have to fight for a result, you have to use the things you create and you have to accept a few things for this day, but to use it for the next game and try to work on it.”
Video courtesy of Football Analysis
Starting the season having to work on the problems of last season is slightly ominous, isn’t it? Good for a bout of deja vu, Watford forward Stefano Okaka punished some poor defending from a corner to open the scoring before Sadio Mane equalized with a sublime finish following good work from Emre Can to play the Senegalese attacker in to space. Abdoulaye Doucouré restored the Hornets lead before the break on the back of some comical defending, but Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah would send the Reds in front for the first time early in the second half only to have Uruguyan midfielder Miguel Britos pull out the draw right at the death.
Peak Liverpool? Indeed.
“That can happen on the first matchday, we have to adapt to these things,” mused Klopp, not sounding entirely convincing. “No direction in the game first half, much better second half. Yes, play football, good, but it led to nothing,” conceded the German manager. “We had our moments in the first half, three or four good chances, is that enough for an away game? I would say yes, we need to be happy with this,” added the Reds boss, sounding more like he’s trying to convince himself than the supporters. “Sometimes you have less and you need to be happy with it. We have one point and I wait for the moment when it will feel better. I saw a lot of good things and now we have to prepare for the next game.”