An agonising stoppage time equaliser from Miguel Britos meant Liverpool had to settle for a point in a chaotic Premier League opener against Watford at Vicarage Road, with the final score ending 3-3.
Key Talking Points
Front Three Show Electrifying Talent
Even without Phillipe Coutinho, Liverpool’s new look front three demonstrated that the Reds will score loads of goals this season, even when not playing well.
Salah, Mane and Firmino all looked way off their best and yet all three netted, a clinical finish from Mane, a penalty from Firmino, and Salah’s predatory instincts kicking in as he got into the position to finish from a couple of yards.
If this is how good they are when playing badly, imagine how good they’ll look when we play well.
Defensive Shambles Runs Deeper Than The Players
Whilst there’s no doubt that Gini Wijnaldum, Simon Mignolet, Bobby Firmino and others all made critical individual errors for the shambolic three goals that Liverpool conceded – each more shambolic than the last – the buck stops with Jurgen Klopp.
Systematically, Liverpool were all over the place and looked panicked time and again in defence. To concede off two set pieces, even with the third goal offside, simply isn’t good enough.
Midfield Magic Missing
Liverpool’s midfield three of Emre Can, Georginio Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson were accused of lacking creativity before the game started.
But whilst that is a fair criticism, and both Adam Lallana and Phillipe Coutinho were badly missed, the bigger problem was the lack of a performance from both Wijnaldum and Henderson.
Both players are more than capable of making things happen, but both were a shambles, both on and off the ball. Klopp wants another midfielder, but it would help if the ones we had turned up to the party.
Simon Mignolet – 5/10: Conceding three goals wasn’t wholly his fault, but that third goal is entirely on Mignolet, who punched the ball backwards and gave Britos a tap in from a yard. Not how he would have wanted to start the season.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 7/10: Looked very good. His crossing, particularly from corners, was immense. Defensively he had a few shaky moments but looked reasonably solid. Unlucky with his clearance for the second goal.
Joel Matip – 5/10: Not good. All over the place defensively, missed several key tackles and just didn’t command the defence. His passing on the ball wasn’t great either. Unlucky not to score but needs to show more.
Dejan Lovren – 7/10: One of our best players. Defensively he played pretty well, although could have done better with the first goal. Wonderful pass to set up Firmino for the third goal. Wasn’t the issue today, unlucky not to score.
Alberto Moreno – 6/10: Some good stuff and some bad stuff. Looked decent coming forwards but defensively he just didn’t look at the races. Needed to do more, particularly for the second goal.
Jordan Henderson – 5/10: Absolutely abysmal in the first half. Missed too many crucial tackles, his passing was all over the place with a passing accuracy below 70%. Better in the second half but not good enough over 90 minutes.
Emre Can – 7/10: Two or three really, really good pieces of play. Looked very good for the first goal with a delightful flick. Strong, aggressive, and sharp. One or two errors but nothing on the level of his teammates.
Georginio Wijnaldum – 4/10: Wretched. Offered nothing on the ball, nothing off the ball, and actively detrimental to Liverpool’s play. Missed a decent chance late on and all over the place for the third goal. Nowhere near his best.
Mo Salah – 7/10: Showed what he brings to the table. Didn’t play particularly well and missed two good chances in the first half, and yet won a penalty and scored what looked to be the winner. When he gets going he will be frightening, but he is a gamechanger.
Roberto Firmino – 7/10: Awful in the first half, and should have done better for the first Watford goal. But in the second half he was excellent, playing some intelligent football, scoring from the spot and made a great run and touch for Salah’s goal.
Sadio Mane – 7/10: Another player nowhere near his best but still had a critical impact. Wonderful goal, a couple of really great passes but he looked a few yards short of the pace.
Divock Origi – N/A: Barely touched the ball when he came on. Not given a chance.
James Milner – N/A: Came on later than Origi and also didn’t get much of chance to show what he brings.
Joe Gomez – N/A: Came on too late to do anything at all.