Reds inch closer to Champions League

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A 1-0 win at Watford takes Liverpool within touching distance of a return to the Champions League...

Another away game, and another win for Liverpool. Following the shock defeat against a resurgent Crystal Palace side last week, Jürgen Klopp’s men turned things around with a 1-0 win at Vicarage Road against Watford.

A solitary goal it might have been, but it was one worthy winner. Lucas Leiva’s hopeful lob into the box found German midfielder Emre Can. Instead of bringing it under control, the 23-year-old unleashed an acrobatic bicycle-kick that had the ball sail over a helpless Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes to give the visitors the lead, just at the stroke of half-time.

The win over Watford was the second time, under Klopp, that Liverpool had scored three successive away wins.

Boasting as much as 60 per cent possession, the Reds got 752 touches on the ball compared to Watford’s 552. But the Reds went into the fixture as favourites. After all, Liverpool have now won 11 of their last 13 meetings against the Hornets in all competitions – the reverse fixture ended in a 6-1 thumping Liverpool’s way at Anfield.

The 1-0 scoreline now gives the Reds a tally of six clean sheets in the last eight matches against Watford in the League and Cup. It is also the first time in four home games in the Premier League, since losing 3-4 to Southampton at Vicarage Road on March 4th, that Watford conceded a goal.

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On the night, there was optimism on the Liverpool bench with the return of Adam Lallana from injury. It was assumed that Klopp would give the English attacker a run-in later in the second half, but the early injury to Liverpool’s talisman Philippe Coutinho saw him returning earlier than expected. The Brazilian tried to run off the pain of a collision in the fourth minute, but hobbled off the pitch after just 13 minutes.

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In terms of the impact the result has on the race for the top four, Liverpool now sit pretty in third position. The Anfield-club were dealt a lifeline when the Manchester derby ended in a goalless stalemate, and that both City and United went further to draw their next matches against Middlesbrough and Swansea respectively. It brought Liverpool and City level on points at the end of 34 games, with United trailing by a single point.

A solid 1-0 at Watford now puts them one more step into the Champions League for the upcoming term.

 

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