Liverpool FC kicked off a crucial month with a win on Saturday, taking hold of the top of the league as of the final whistle for the first time since December 4, 2021.
The Reds welcomed Watford to the fortress of Anfield and sent them home empty-handed after taking a 2-0 victory over their visitors.
The scoring opened about 20 minutes in with Diogo Jota scoring his 20th goal of the season in all competitions. Joe Gomez, starting at right-back in place of Trent Alexander-Arnold, was given a bit of space down the right-wing and used it perfectly, sending in an aerial cross to find the head of Diogo Jota to take the lead. It was an Alexander-Arnold-level cross, finished perfectly by Jota.
Watford had a number of chances in the first half off counterattacks that kept slipping through the Liverpool defensive line, but Jurgen Klopp’s squad held on with the help of Alisson Becker to enter the break with the one goal lead and the clean sheet intact.
A level of quietness fell over Anfield in the middle of the second half as Watford were keeping Liverpool attacks at bay and thwarting any attempt at a second goal for the Reds. Thiago and Sadio Mane came on for Curtis Jones and Mohamed Salah, respectively, who both struggled on the ball on Saturday. For most of the second half, it looked like the second goal would never come as the Reds progressively began playing sloppier and sloppier.
Then, Watford gifted Liverpool with a penalty kick via a rugby-style tackle in the box to Diogo Jota during a corner kick. Fabinho slammed the ball into the top inside netting to finally score a second for Liverpool and allow Anfield a sigh of relief.
Manchester City face Burnley later on Saturday with a chance to retake the lead in the league, but, for now, Liverpool are at the top of the league.
Alisson – 7
Alisson was called upon a handful of times in the first half off Watford counterattacks that seemed to keep being able to slip through the Liverpool defense but came up big each time. He finished with two saves and good distribution.
Joe Gomez – 8
Gomez looked to make the most of his start in place of Alexander-Arnold. When he was finally gifted a bit of space down the right-wing, he sent a Trent-level aerial cross to Jota to head in at close range for the assist. He had four tackles, an interception, and four crosses. He was booked at the end of the first half for a foul on Joao Pedro.
Joel Matip – 7
Looked comfortable on the ball when he had a few runs of possession, and contributed well defensively. He won six aerials, had two tackles, one interception, and one clearance.
Virgil van Dijk – 7
Van Dijk was in his usual fantastic defensive form, heading away from a number of attempted Watford attacks and just generally leading the backline as per usual. He finished the match with six aerial wins, an interception, and a header pulled off-target on Saturday.
Andy Robertson – 7
Robertson found a lot of room to roam and be productive down the left side. He had an 86% pass accuracy, a key pass, and one shot off target offensively. Defensively, he had two tackles, one interception, and one clearance.