Mohamed Salah scored on his debut as Liverpool conceded a late equaliser in a dramatic 3-3 draw against Watford in the opening game of the season.
Team News: The big news in Liverpool’s starting line-up was a start for Alberto Moreno, preferred to Andy Robertson and James Milner at left-back.
With Coutinho and Lallana injured Emre Can and Gini Wijnaldum both started, and an enticing front three of Mane, Firmino and Salah was chosen with Sturridge also missing.
Liverpool XI: Mignolet, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Lovren, Moreno, Henderson, Can, Wijnaldum, Salah, Firmino, Mane
Subs used: Origi, Milner, Gomez
Where to begin? Liverpool’s Premier League season began with a breathtaking 3-3 draw with Watford at Vicarage Road, courtesy of a last minute equaliser from Britos for the home side.
Liverpool were awful for long spells, but turned the game around in the second half, only for old defensive frailties to take over.
Liverpool started badly, and that was emphasised by Stefan Okaka’s early header. Having beaten both Henderson and Matip, Okaka freed Pereyra whose shot was blocked by Lovren.
But off the resulting corner, Okaka got a run on Firmino, nobody in red dealt with it and he slammed his header past Simon Mignolet.
And it was Watford who looked the more likely to score against as Liverpool continued to look shaky, before Sadio Mane equalised just before the half hour mark, after being set away in the channel by a fantastic touch from Emre Can.
Sadly, Liverpool continued to be unable to defend, allowing Watford to go back in front before half time, as just two minutes after Mane’s goal, Doucoure was able to slam home from close range after Moreno missed a tackle.
Nobody tracked the overlapping run and Alexander-Arnold’s clearance slammed into Matip and dropped to the Watford midfielder.
But Liverpool didn’t go away and even if they struggled to play well, two golden chances dropped to Salah before half-time.
First he was set away by Holebas and toe-poked over, before Henderson picked him up after a cleared set piece, only for his right foot to slash wide.
But it was Salah who turned the tide in the second half, along with Bobby Firmino. The latter found the former inside the box, Salah rounded Watford keeper Gomes, and went down under a poor challenge.
It was a stonewall penalty, and Firmino stepped up to level the score. And it was Firmino to Salah again for the third goal, as Lovren’s long pass freed the Brazilian and his chip was bundled over the line by Liverpool’s Egyptian record signing.
With the Reds in front, the game became stretched, and Liverpool had multiple chances to extend their lead. With Trent Alexander-Arnold on corners, it turned out to be a masterstroke, as he picked out first Matip and then Lovren with headed chances from corners.
Matip’s flicked header hit the bar, and Lovren was denied by Gomes. From open play, Moreno’s dipping left-footed volley was tipped over.
But even as Salah’s debut goal looked to be the winner, the final sting in the tail was coming, and it came from a corner again.
Britos’ stinging shot was only palmed behind by Mignolet and Watford equalised as Wijnaldum failed to clear, and Mignolet flapped Richarlison’s shot onto the head of Britos, a yard out.
The sense of frustration from the Reds was clear, as Britos was clearly offside, and a poor corner was allowed to turn into a goal when Wijnaldum had every opportunity simply to head clear.
Nevertheless, there are plenty of positives to take from a rather mixed performance.
Overall, the Reds did not play particularly well, and despite turning in what will hopefully be one of their worst performances of the season, they still scored three goals, and but for a shocking decision from the linesman, they would have won the game.
There are many questions that Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool still have to answer, but this was far from a disastrous start. That said, improvements need to be made. And fast.
Man of the Match: Mo Salah