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Watford v Liverpool Live Commentary, 12/08/2017

FT
3 - 3
WAT
LIV
S. Okaka (8)
A. Doucouré (32)
M. Britos (90+3)
S. Mané (29)
Roberto Firmino (55 pen)
Mohamed Salah (57)
Vicarage Road

Commentary

As for Watford, they showed plenty of promise, despite a slightly tough second half in which they were largely on the back foot. They showed good spirit to get back into the game, however, with Richarlison looking particularly bright after coming off the bench.
Despite looking as if they were heading for an opening day defeat, Watford have managed to scrape a draw in their first game under Marco Silva. Liverpool really should have held on to claim all three points, but, as was the case throughout the game, their defending let them down and they conceded with mere minutes remaining. It's an issue that really needs to be sorted out if they're to challenge for a top four finish once again this campaign.
FULL-TIME: WATFORD 3-3 LIVERPOOL
90' + 8' The ball bounces around dangerously on the edge of the Watford box before Wijnaldum is finally able to get a shot away, but he snatches at his effort and sends it comfortably wide of the target.
90' + 6' After receiving medical attention for a couple of minutes, Richarlison is eventually able to get back to his feet after being bandaged up. The referee should add a little bit more time on for that delay.
90' + 4' And now Richarlison goes close! Watford quickly push forward down the right flank before a curling cross flies into the box and towards Richarlison, who rises high and sends a header wide of the goal before being caught on the side of the head from Matip. That looked painful.
M. Britos
Goal
Watford
90' + 3' GOAL! Watford have equalised late on! Another corner isn't dealt with by the Liverpool defence, allowing Richarlison to toe-poke a shot towards goal. It beats Mignolet and bounces off the woodwork, but Britos is there to nod the ball over the line from a few inches out.
90' + 3' Thumping strike from Britos! Liverpool can't fully clear the danger and allow Britos to unleash a rocket of a shot from 25 yards out that Mignolet pushes behind for a late corner.
90' + 2' Gomez immediately gets involved in the thick of the action, but, unfortunately for the youngster, he ends up giving away a free-kick out wide. It's flung into the box and finds Kaboul, who then causes problems with a looping header up into the air.
J. Gomez
T. Alexander-Arnold
Liverpool
90' + 1' Alexander-Arnold receives a rousing reception from the away fans as he's replaced by Joe Gomez.
90' The fourth official has indicated that there will be five minutes of added time.
89' Watford continue pushing forward as they desperately try to find a late equaliser, but they're unable to find a way through the sea of red in front of them. Liverpool then counter quickly through Mane, who is dispossessed by Holebas before he can penetrate the penalty area.
S. Mignolet
Yellow Card
Liverpool
88' Mignolet takes slightly too long taking a goal-kick and becomes the latest player to receive a first booking of the season.
J. Milner
Mohamed Salah
Liverpool
86' Liverpool have made another late change, with James Milner coming on to replace Salah.
85' Another Watford attack fails to come to anything and allows Liverpool to counter quickly. Salah sets up Mane to dart down the left wing and set up Wijnaldum, who then fires his first-time strike well wide of the far post.
84' Watford are starting to see more of the ball now, but they're struggling to do much with it. Cleverley fires a hopeful pass into the box and towards Gray, but Mignolet is easily able to collect the ball before the striker can get a head on it.
82' Can lifts a lovely pass over the top of the Watford defence and towards Salah, who is in a good position on the edge of the penalty area. He sprints towards the ball, but Gomes is there to cut out the danger at the vital moment.
D. Origi
Roberto Firmino
Liverpool
81' Liverpool have made their first alteration of the afternoon, with Firmino making way for Divock Origi.
79' Kaboul gets back to his feet and the game gets underway once again. The defender doesn't look to be moving entirely well but will have to try and soldier on for the remaining 11 minutes.
78' More injury problems for Watford, as Kaboul is the latest player to go down off the ball. He doesn't look at all comfortable, which could cause problems for his side as they've already used all three of their substitutes.
77' Salah, who has looked really sharp today, darts into the right-hand side of the Watford penalty area on a great run before testing Gomes. His low shot manages to beat the Brazilian but nestles into the side-netting instead of the goal.
75' Richarlison does really well to keep the ball from bouncing out of play over on the left wing. His cross is just about dealt with by the Liverpool defence before Holebas gets a shot away from 25 yards out, but Mignolet can watch it bounce comfortably wide of the far post.
73' Chants for Graham Taylor are belted out around the stadium as Watford push forward on a rare attack. Doucoure eventually fires a lofted pass into the box, where it isn't dealt with at all convicingly by Mignolet, who seems to get into a bit of a mix-up with Lovren.
72' And now Salah almost makes it 4-2! Moreno chips a lovely cross over to Salah on the right-hand side of the Watford box. He brings the ball down well and shoots, and his thumping effort sails just a yard or so over the top of the crossbar.
70' Lovren goes close! Another impressive corner from Alexander-Arnold picks out a player in front of goal, but Lovren's downward header is well pushed away by Gomes and fails to put Liverpool two goals in front.
69' Can does really well to kick-start a quick counter-attack before winning a free-kick for Liverpool in an equally dangerous area of the pitch. This one is swung into the heart of the penalty area, where Kaboul is able to head the ball behind for a corner.
68' Holebas holds up the ball really well deep down the left flank before being clattered into by Salah, resulting in a free-kick for Watford in a very promising position. The set-piece is flung into the box and almost finds Miguel Britos, but it's well defended by the visitors.
66' Vital interception by Matip! A Liverpool attacking move breaks down and allows Watford to hit them on a swift counter-attack, but Matip dives in the way to stop Gray from finding a way into the penalty area.
65' Matip hits the crossbar! A swinging corner from Alexander-Arnold flies towards the near post and picks out Matip, who rises high but can only hit the woodwork with his close-range effort.
A. Gray
S. Okaka
Watford
63' Another new Watford signing has come on to make his competitive debut. This time it's Andre Gray who replaces Okaka.
T. Alexander-Arnold
Yellow Card
Liverpool
61' Alexander-Arnold catches Richarlison from behind as he lunges into the forward, leaving the referee with little choice but to show him a yellow card.
60' Salah is almost in once again after darting into the right-hand side of the Watford penalty area, but Gomes is just about able to rush out and deal with the danger before the Egyptian can get a shot away.
59' Amrabat manages to get himself into a pocket of space over on the right flank and quickly curls a cross into the heart of the penalty area, but it's sent too near to Mignolet and is easily collected by the goalkeeper.
Mohamed Salah
Goal
Liverpool
57' GOAL! Salah puts Liverpool in front for the first time! Lovren knocks a long ball over the top of the Watford back line and towards Firmino. The Brazilian darts into the box, brings the ball down and then chips it over to the far post, where Salah is easily able to tap it into the back of the net from a few yards out.
Roberto Firmino
Assist
Liverpool
57' That was a lovely piece of play by Firmino to pick out Salah, but the Watford defence really should have done a lot better. They weren't mobile enough and allowed both Liverpool players to get the better of them far too easily.
Roberto Firmino
Penalty Goal
Liverpool
55' GOAL! Firmino steps up and comfortably slots a lovely shot into the left-hand corner of the net to equalise for Liverpool. Gomes wasn't going to stop that!
54' PENALTY! Salah darts into the Watford box on a great run before latching onto the ball, but as soon as he does so he's clattered into by Gomes. The referee takes a moment to think, and he eventually points to the spot, much to the annoyance of the home fans.
53' A sloppy sideways pass from Amrabat fails to find Femenia and is instead picked up by Mane, but the Senegalese attacking midfielder can't take advantage of the error and sends his cross high over the top of the crossbar.
52' Femenia swings a dangerous cross in from the right flank that picks out Richarlison in a promising position inside the penalty area, but the Brazilian is penalised from climbing on Alexander-Arnold just as he sends a headed effort into the hands of Mignolet.
50' Richarlison is almost presented with an immediate opportunity to fire Watford into a two-goal lead, but his run into the box is slightly mistimed and he's flagged offside before he can test Mignolet.
49' Salah gets himself into a good position on the edge of the Watford penalty area and takes a quick touch before shooting, but his swinging effort doesn't have enough curl behind it and bounces comfortably wide of the far post.
Richarlison
R. Pereyra
Watford
49' Richarlison does indeed come on to replace the injured Pereyra.
48' Pereyra has headed off the pitch and straight down the tunnel, and it looks as if Richarlison is going to come on to make his Watford debut in place of the Argentine.
47' There are more injury concerns for Watford, as Pereyra's now gone down off the ball. He seemed to pull up at the start of the second half, and he can clearly feel something's not quite right.
46' We're underway once again!
The two teams are making their way back out onto the pitch. Neither side have made any substitutions during the half-time break.
As for the Reds, they equalised thanks to a lovely piece of play by Can and Mane but have struggled either side of that. They've looked poor defensively and have found it difficult to get Firmino and Salah into the game, with both not doing well enough when presented with the ball.
The Marco Silva era is set to get off to a great start, as it's they who have been by far the better of the two sides so far. They've remaind solid and compact in the middle, which has frustrated Liverpool, and they've continually caused problems for their opponents with impressive play on the counter-attack.
HALF-TIME: WATFORD 2-1 LIVERPOOL
45' + 4' Mane is caught by an oustretched foot by Okaka just inside the Watford half of the pitch, but there isn't enough time for Liverpool to take the free-kick as the referee almost immediately blows his whistle to bring an end to the first half.
45' + 3' Mane goes close! A curling cross from Alexander-Arnold causes problems for Kaboul, who is just about able to head the ball out for a corner. The resulting set-piece is swung in and picks out Mane perfectly, and his downward header then bounces just wide of the far post after beating Gomes.
45' + 2' A looping pass is fired into the Watford box and finds Salah over on the right-hand side. The Egyptian is in a good position, but he can't hit a decent cross with his weaker right foot and sends it sailing behind for a goal-kick.
45' + 1' A poor pass from Matip can only find Doucoure, who then tries to kick-start a quick counter-attack. He swiftly moves the ball up to Okaka on the halfway line, but the striker is quickly closed down by a group of red shirts and loses out.
45' The fourth official has indicated that there will be four minutes of added time.
44' Doucoure and Amrabat link up well over on the right flank before the latter spins and chips a pass into the path of Femenia. The Spaniard charges towards the ball but, despite his best efforts, can't stop it from rolling behind for a goal-kick.
42' Liverpool immediately lose possession and allow Watford to come forward once again, but Kaboul can't get the better of Alberto Moreno out wide and gives away a throw-in before he can unleash a cross.
41' Holebas darts deep into the Liverpool half of the pitch and towards the left-hand side of the box, where he's closed down by Henderson and does well to win the hosts a corner. The set-piece is swung in and almost finds a yellow shirt, but Mignolet is there to cut out the danger.
39' Poor miss by Salah! The Egyptian darts into the right-hand side of the Watford penalty area on a great run before taking on Gomes, but he somehow manages to toe-poke his close-range effort over the top of the crossbar instead of past the Brazilian goalkeeper.
S. Mané
Yellow Card
Liverpool
37' The referee then comes back to Mane and shows the goalscorer a yellow card whilst Doucoure remains in quite a bit of discomfort on the ground beside them.
36' Doucoure is caught by Mane in the middle of the pitch, but the referee decides to play on after the ball is picked up by Nathaniel Chalobah. The midfielder quickly tries to take Mignolet by surprise with an audacious effort from the halfway line, but it's sent several yards wide of the goal.
34' Can commits a clumsy foul midway inside his own half of the pitch, resulting in a free-kick for Watford in a promising position. It's fired into the penalty area and towards Kaboul, who rises high and meets the ball well before sending a headed effort straight into Mignolet's hands.
A. Doucouré
Goal
Watford
32' GOAL! Watford are back in front! Tom Cleverley is left all alone over on the right-hand side of the Liverpool penalty area, allowing him to fizz a pass across the face of goal. It isn't dealt with well enough by Alexander-Arnold, who knocks the ball out to Abdoulaye Doucoure to tap into the back of the net from close range.
31' Liverpool quickly win the ball back and push forward on another swift attacking move, but Salah is unable to get the better of two Watford players and is dispossessed before he can cause too many problems for the home side.
E. Can
Assist
Liverpool
29' That was excellent play by Can, who picked out Mane perfectly with his deft flick. The Watford defence remained static and couldn't deal with the latter's run into the penalty area from the left.
S. Mané
Goal
Liverpool
29' GOAL! Liverpool have equalised! Mane links up beautifully with Can on the edge of the Watford penalty area before latching onto a delightful flick from the German, setting up the Senegal international to beat Gomes with a curling shot into the top right-hand corner of the net.
28' Liverpool are starting to dominate possession now, and their passing is looking more precise and purposeful that it was earlier in the game. Mane and Salah are starting to make good runs in from out wide, whilst Can and Wijnaldum are pushing further towards the Watford box.
26' Firmino drops deep as he tries to get more involved in the action. He's finally able to pick up the ball midway inside the Watford half of the pitch and then lifts a chipped pass up to Mane, who can't control the ball and clumsily knocks it away from his body.
24' Almost a chance for Okaka to make it 2-0! Amrabat swings a great cross into the heart of the Liverpool box and towards Okaka, but before the big striker can make contact with the ball, Mignolet comes rushing out to knock the ball away from danger with an outstretched leg.
22' Georginio Wijnaldum gets the better of Holebas as he spins round the defender near to the touchline. He then knocks a clever pass down the right flank and towards Salah, who runs onto it but is flagged offside as soon as he makes contact with the ball.
21' Mohamed Salah puts Holebas under pressure deep down the right wing, forcing the Greek defender into playing the ball out for a throw-in. It's sent short and worked over to Alexander-Arnold, who is then forced into knocking a long pass all the way back to the halfway line.
19' A long pass forward from Lovren isn't fully dealt with by Kaboul, allowing it to bounce down to Mane. The Senegalese attacking midfielder immediately tries to get the better of Femenia over on the left wing, but the Spaniard comes out on top before being fouled.
Kiko Femenía
D. Janmaat
Watford
18' Janmaat angrily stomps off the pitch after failing to shake off his injury, and it's new signing Kiko Femenia who has come on to take his place.
17' Alexander-Arnold battles hard on the edge of the Watford penalty area before spinning and teeing up Jordan Henderson. The midfielder takes a quick touch and then curls a cross into the box, where it's well defended by Younes Kaboul under pressure.
16' The game gets back underway as Janmaat continues to receive medical treatment on the touchline. The ball bounces around midway inside the Watford half of the pitch as the hosts try to get it under control, but they're unable to and Liverpool come away with possession.
15' Things don't look good for Janmaat, who has gone down by the dugout after limping for the last minute or so. He seems to be struggling with what could be an injury that brings his game to an early end.
13' More good play by Watford in the middle of the pitch seems to set up Nordin Amrabat to swing in a cross from the right flank, but his run forward is slightly mistimed and he's flagged offside before he can do so.
12' A long throw is launched into the Liverpool penalty area, where it bounces around dangerously. The ball eventually rolls out to Nathaniel Chalobah, who then tries to poke a pass through to Okaka, but it's slightly overhit and is just about dealt with by Mignolet.
10' Liverpool immediately try to push forward from the restart as they attempt to carve out a chance on goal, but they're put under good pressure out wide on the left and Watford easily deal with the danger.
J. Holebas
Assist
Watford
8' Holebas did really well to pick out Okaka with his curling cross, but Liverpool's defending was truly woeful. Everyone remained static, allowing Okaka to rise high above all of them.
S. Okaka
Goal
Watford
8' GOAL! Watford take an early lead! The resulting corner is whipped in by Jose Holebas and picks out Okaka, who charges towards the near post before beating Simon Mignolet with a bullet header from close range.
7' Great chance for Pereyra! Stefano Okaka muscles his way through the middle of the pitch on a great run before teeing up Pereyra with an even better pass. The Argentine sprints towards the edge of the box, gets the better of Dejan Lovren and sends a deflected shot agonisingly wide of the far post.
5' Mane is put under good pressure by Janmaat inside his own half of the pitch, resulting in him losing the ball in a dangerous position. The Dutchman then whips a looping cross into the middle of the penalty area, where Joel Matip is about to get a head on the ball just before Roberto Pereyra can.
4' Trent Alexander-Arnold gets himself into a good position over on the right flank before chipping a deft pass into the Watford box. It bounces towards the near post and into the path of Roberto Firmino, but, despite his best efforts, the Brazilian can't reach the ball ahead of Heurelho Gomes.
3' After a patient start to the game from Liverpool, they win a free-kick over on the left wing after Sadio Mane is clipped from behind by Daryl Janmaat. It's sent short and worked over to Roberto Firmino, who twists and turns on the edge of the penalty area but can't get past a group of yellow shirts.
1' We're off! Watford get us underway, attacking from right to left.
The two sides are making their way out onto the pitch, with just a few minutes to go until kick-off.
Meanwhile, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has handed a first competitive start for Mohamed Salah, who will feature in a strong front three alongside Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane. Dominic Solanke, signed from Chelsea, has earned a place on the bench, whilst, interestingly, the German manager has decided to field Alberto Moreno instead of James Milner at left-back.
As expected, Marco Silva has decided to go with his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation, with new signing Nathaniel Chalobah being placed alongside Abdoulaye Doucoure in the heart of midfield. Fellow new faces Kiko Femenia, Richarlison and Andre Gray have all been named on the substitutes’ bench and could feature at some point later on.
Liverpool substitutes: Karius, Klavan, Milner, Grujic, Gomez, Solanke, Origi.
Liverpool XI (4-3-3): Mignolet; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Lovren, Moreno; Can, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Mane, Roberto Firmino, Salah.
Watford substitutes: Pantilimon, Prodl, Femenia, Watson, Capoue, Richarlison, Gray.
Watford XI (4-2-3-1): Gomes; Janmaat, Kaboul, Britos, Holebas; Chalobah, Doucoure; Amrabat, Cleverley, Pereyra; Okaka.
There’s just over 15 minutes left to go until kick-off, so let’s have a look at how the two teams will be lining up this afternoon…
Featuring in the Champions League runs the risk of negatively impacting Liverpool’s domestic form, as was the case the last time they qualified for Europe’s top competition. The club have wisely brought in several new players in an attempt to add some depth to their squad, with Mohamed Salah, who is set to start today, looking the best of the bunch during pre-season.
Liverpool supporters will be feeling equally excited about the return of Champions League football to Anfield, so they will also be wanting to start the new campaign with a win as they try to push on from last season’s fourth-place finish. That represented only the second time the Reds had finished in the top four in the last eight seasons, showcasing the impressive job Jurgen Klopp has done since joining the club two years ago.
The impressive job Silva did at Hull has filled plenty of Watford fans with excitement, and it’s no wonder why. The Hertfordshire club have invested wisely this summer, with exciting young talents Richarlison, Will Hughes and Nathaniel Chalobah joining former Burnley striker Andre Gray in heading to Vicarage Road, and they’ll be looking to put down an early marker with a positive result against a strong Liverpool side.
For the third year in a row, Watford will start the season with a new manager in the dugout. After almost managing to save Hull City from the drop after just four months in the job, Marco Silva earned a well-deserved switch to the Hornets, who showed no hesitation in sacking Walter Mazzarri after the Italian could only guide his side to a disappointing 17th-place finish in his only campaign in charge.
Good afternoon and welcome to our live text commentary of today’s Premier League game between Watford and Liverpool at Vicarage Road.