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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

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Liverpool go top of the Premier League for the first time since December

Liverpool top of the league, Liverpool Liverpool top of the league.

That was the tune that echoed around the stadium from the supporters after Fabinho hammered home the penalty which wrapped the game up Liverpool in the 89th minute.

Manchester City could very well go back top if they beat Burnley at three o’clock but nevertheless it was a massive win for Jurgen Klopp’s side.

It was far from a stellar performance from The Reds but that’s what title winners do they win ugly.

The game in the first half was shaped in 44 seconds.

Juraj Kucka went through on goal and Alisson yet again made a monumental save to deny him.

A moment later Joe Gomez was crossing the ball onto Diogo Jota’s head to give Liverpool the lead, that’s how deadly this side in red are.

The second half was controlled expertly by Liverpool with Watford only getting one chance through Joao Pedro which looked like it was offside anyway.

Kucka in the last minutes of the game decided to start playing rugby as from a corner he grappled Jota to the ground.

Fabinho stepped up and put any nerves to bed by firing the ball in the top corner.

It felt big because it was big, every single game in the league for Liverpool is now a cup final.

So there is now eight to go with the next one being at The Etihad stadium.

Before that there is a small task of a Champions League quarter-final.

Player ratings:

Alisson Becker: 9

Without him Liverpool simply wouldn’t be in a title race. The amount of big moments he has is ludicrous and his one on save against Kucka today turned the game on its head.

Joe Gomez: 7

Showed some great crossing ability for the assist as he placed the ball on Jota’s head immaculately. Also had another couple of great crosses to Robertson but the Scot couldn’t get him another assist. Solid days’ work for Gomez.

Joel Matip: 7

Was as solid as ever didn’t have too much trouble and kept the highline throughout.

Virgil Van Dijk: 6

Didn’t look at his best early on in the game but he didn’t really need to be given how routine the victory was. Had a free header in the second half which he should have got on target.

Andy Robertson: 5

Lost possession one too many times today with sloppy passing. An attacking threat bombing up the left hand side but just wasn’t on it today. Solid defensively as always.

Jordan Henderson: 5

Kept the midfield ticking over and kept the defensive shape. Was on set-pieces at times due to no Trent Alexander-Arnold and put in a good few deliveries.

Thiago: 8

He is a joke. Some of his passes were out of this world and the fact he can be so aesthetically pleasing with the ball yet get down and dirty with the nitty and gritty stuff is fantastic.

Curtis Jones: 4

Struggled to make an impact in an attacking third with two wayward shots when passes would have been the better option proving that point.

Mohamed Salah: 4

Could be his most ineffective game of the season. Watford’s left-back Hassane Kamara had him in his pocket so much that Saah didn’t even have a shot on target.

Roberto Firmino: 7

Made the half-space between the midfield and defence his own. Never stopped working hard and was one of Liverpool’s main creative forces. A joy to watch when you know his role in this side.

Diogo Jota: 7

Should have had a hat-trick but the one he did get was pivotal as it gave Liverpool the lead. Could be the smallest target man football has ever seen as another head means he has now scored the most header in the league this season.

Substitutions:

Fabinho (Curtis Jones 62): 6

Came on controlled the midfield and smashed home a penalty. Not too bad.

Sadio Mane (Mohamed Salah 69): 3

Didn’t really make too much of an impact when he replaced Salah.

James Milner (Thiago 90): n/a

Touched the ball five times.

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