Premier League
Liverpool6Watford1

Liverpool 6-1 Watford

Liverpool players celebrate
Liverpool were last top of the table in May 2014 - the season they narrowly missed out on the title to Manchester City

Liverpool went top of the Premier League for the first time under manager Jurgen Klopp with an emphatic victory over Watford at Anfield.

Sadio Mane's acrobatic header finally put the Reds ahead after a host of missed chances, before Philippe Coutinho drilled in a second from 20 yards three minutes later.

Adam Lallana crossed for Emre Can to nod home before half-time and underline the home side's clear superiority - and the story was much the same after the break.

Watford were abject and Liverpool masterful as Roberto Firmino tapped in a Lallana cut-back before the Brazilian turned provider and Mane slotted in a fifth amid slack defending.

Georginio Wijnaldum completed the scoring in the 91st minute with his first goal for the club, after substitute Daniel Sturridge had struck the bar twice.

It is the fifth time Liverpool have scored four goals or more in the league this season, and made them the top flight's highest scorers with 30 goals from their 11 matches.

But Watford's consolation through Daryl Janmaat means Klopp's side have only kept one clean sheet in the league this season.

Pressure? What pressure?

After Manchester City slipped up at home to Middlesbrough and Arsenal were held by Tottenham, Liverpool's players knew victory would send them a point clear of Chelsea at the top of the league.

If there was pressure following the Blues' statement win - they defeated Everton 5-0 on Saturday - Liverpool certainly did not show any signs of suffering from it.

Rarely will the home fans have seen their side perform so dominantly. The fluid play of Coutinho, Lallana, Mane and Firmino carved out chance after chance, and while Watford were at times sloppy in possession, there was little they might have done better to resist Liverpool's 28 attempts on goal.

With the speed of the home side's passing and the slick interchanging of positions in attack, Watford simply could not live with Liverpool. Five different players scored in a ruthless performance full of confidence, rhythm and flair.

Premier League table

So who needs a striker?

Sturridge was without a goal in his past nine league games and, having come on to replace the excellent Lallana, the England international played as if he had a point to prove.

But no matter what he did, the ball just would not go in.

Twice he struck the woodwork, once with a fierce left-footed drive that crashed against the bar as he drove in on goal from the left, later with a dipping strike from outside the box that Costel Pantilimon brilliantly tipped on to the bar.

Sturridge should then have done better when cutting on to his left and firing straight at the keeper, but Klopp will have been impressed with his forward's performance in the 20 minutes he was allowed.

The German was clearly very angry about one thing though - how Watford's Janmaat was allowed to ghost into the box and slot home Nordin Amrabat's pass.

Even with his side coasting towards victory Klopp was barking instructions to his players. The message seemed to be: more pressure high up the pitch, more movement off the ball in possession. They were the key attributes in this impressive win.

Man of the match - Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool)

Coutinho
Firmino scored to take his tally to five goals from seven games, but this has to go to Coutinho, who was brilliant again

Even though he missed what Klopp might have described as a perfect goal just before he was taken off to a standing ovation with three minutes to play, Coutinho was the outstanding performer in a stellar cast.

The Brazilian skied wildly over after Nathaniel Clyne launched himself into an interception on the halfway line, played a one-two with Firmino and cut back from the edge of the area.

That finish was lacking but of the minds and feet at work in front of the weary Watford defence, his were by far the quickest.

The stats you need to know

  • Sadio Mane has scored five goals in his five Premier League appearances at Anfield for Liverpool.
  • Philippe Coutinho has had a hand in eight goals in his past seven league appearances for Liverpool (three goals, five assists).
  • Roberto Firmino has scored five times and assisted three goals in his past seven league games for Liverpool.
  • Watford have conceded more goals today v Liverpool than they had in their past six PL games combined (5).
  • Adam Lallana has five league assists this season, with only Kevin de Bruyne providing more (6).
  • This is Watford's joint-heaviest defeat in the Premier League, matched by a 5-0 loss to Wimbledon in December 1999.

Analysis

BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty

Liverpool have hit the Premier League summit and there can be no doubt whatsoever - Jurgen Klopp's team are real live title contenders.

The fact that there were five different goalscorers in Sunday's 6-1 win against Watford at Anfield sums up the strength and potency of a Liverpool side that has hit a red hot streak since that surprise 2-0 loss at Burnley in their second game.

Sadio Mane, Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana have the pace, movement and threat to pose a danger to any side while captain Jordan Henderson has been a revelation this season.

Yes, questions remain about the quality of their defence and new goalkeeper Loris Karius but this current Liverpool teams carries a level of menace that has echoes of the Luis Suarez-inspired side that almost won the title in 2013/14.

And one more factor in the title equation.

Liverpool's shots on target
Liverpool had 17 shots on target - the highest total by a Premier League team since statisticians Opta began their records in 2003

Liverpool have already played title rivals Arsenal, Spurs and Chelsea away from home, claiming seven points with victories at Emirates Stadium and Stamford Bridge. No wonder confidence is high at Anfield.

Former Blackburn striker Chris Sutton on BBC Radio 5 live

It was a stunning display from Liverpool. It could have ended up double figures. They blew Watford away, and have blown away most teams this season.

They look like they're going to go close. The fact they have no European football and can recover between matches will help, too.

Former Liverpool keeper Chris Kirkland

There is a different feeling now at Anfield. The expectation is back and the players are proving that is justified with their performances - week in, week out.

Former Leicester midfielder Robbie Savage

Liverpool, wow. The movement in those front players was incredible. They could have scored 10.

What they said

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, speaking to BBC Sport: "When the result gives you the impression that it is easy there is a lot of hard work behind that. The result is wonderful and the performance is terrific.

Media playback is not supported on this device

Klopp 'really happy' with 'wonderful' win

"But Chelsea yesterday were not bad, Manchester City against Barcelona not bad, Arsenal great movement and Tottenham - oh my god. We need to be good.

"Good results and performances help confidence. We will send the players all around the world and hopefully they come back healthy for the big challenge of Southampton.

"There is nothing to celebrate in the moment - this is our responsibility to play well when you put on the red of Liverpool. It is all good until now."

Watford manager Walter Mazzarri: "You can lose at the home of Liverpool but we should not have lost like that.

Media playback is not supported on this device

Liverpool 6-1 Watford: Reds can win title - Mazzarri

"It has been a lesson for the future. This game has taught me many things, like the 2-0 defeat by Burnley.

"We will get better for next time and we will see a different performance after the international break."

On the injury suffered by keeper Heurelho Gomes, who was replaced by Pantilimon: "It is his knee, but I am not sure yet [how serious]. I am not sure if it's a twist or just a knock."

What's next?

Liverpool visit Southampton after the international break, on Saturday, 19 November. Watford host Leicester on the same day.

Line-ups

Liverpool

  • 1Karius
  • 2Clyne
  • 32Matip
  • 21Leiva
  • 7Milner
  • 20LallanaSubstituted forSturridgeat 71'minutes
  • 14Henderson
  • 23Can
  • 19ManéSubstituted forWijnaldumat 63'minutesBooked at 88mins
  • 11Roberto Firmino
  • 10CoutinhoSubstituted forEjariaat 87'minutes

Substitutes

  • 5Wijnaldum
  • 15Sturridge
  • 17Klavan
  • 18Moreno
  • 22Mignolet
  • 27Origi
  • 53Ejaria

Watford

  • 1GomesSubstituted forPantilimonat 33'minutes
  • 22Janmaat
  • 4Kaboul
  • 3BritosBooked at 80mins
  • 25HolebasBooked at 56mins
  • 7N Amrabat
  • 11BehramiSubstituted forWatsonat 61'minutes
  • 29Capoue
  • 37PereyraSubstituted forZuñigaat 86'minutes
  • 24Ighalo
  • 9Deeney

Substitutes

  • 6Mariappa
  • 17Guédioura
  • 18Zuñiga
  • 19Sinclair
  • 23Watson
  • 27Kabasele
  • 30Pantilimon
Referee:
Michael Oliver
Attendance:
53,163

Match Stats

Home TeamLiverpoolAway TeamWatford
Possession
Home60%
Away40%
Shots
Home28
Away11
Shots on Target
Home17
Away8
Corners
Home6
Away3
Fouls
Home14
Away10

Live Text

Match ends, Liverpool 6, Watford 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Liverpool 6, Watford 1.

Attempt blocked. James Milner (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Georginio Wijnaldum.

Attempt blocked. Troy Deeney (Watford) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Juan Zuñiga with a headed pass.

Goal!

Goal! Liverpool 6, Watford 1. Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner following a corner.

Attempt saved. Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Roberto Firmino.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Costel Pantilimon.

Attempt saved. Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Jordan Henderson.

Offside, Watford. Nordin Amrabat tries a through ball, but Troy Deeney is caught offside.

Hand ball by Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool).

Booking

Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool).

Juan Zuñiga (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt saved. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Attempt saved. Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Georginio Wijnaldum.

Substitution

Substitution, Liverpool. Ovie Ejaria replaces Philippe Coutinho.

Substitution

Substitution, Watford. Juan Zuñiga replaces Roberto Pereyra.

Attempt missed. Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Nathaniel Clyne.

Lucas Leiva (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Odion Ighalo (Watford).

Foul by Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool).

Younes Kaboul (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt saved. Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Jordan Henderson.

Booking

Miguel Britos (Watford) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Emre Can (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Miguel Britos (Watford).

Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool) hits the bar with a left footed shot from the left side of the box. Assisted by Philippe Coutinho.

Attempt saved. Odion Ighalo (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Etienne Capoue.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Miguel Britos.

Goal!

Goal! Liverpool 5, Watford 1. Daryl Janmaat (Watford) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Nordin Amrabat.

Attempt saved. Etienne Capoue (Watford) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Troy Deeney with a through ball.

Substitution

Substitution, Liverpool. Daniel Sturridge replaces Adam Lallana.

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Loris Karius.

Attempt saved. Miguel Britos (Watford) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by José Holebas with a cross.

Corner, Watford. Conceded by James Milner.

Attempt saved. Etienne Capoue (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Lucas Leiva.

Foul by Lucas Leiva (Liverpool).

Troy Deeney (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Substitution

Substitution, Liverpool. Georginio Wijnaldum replaces Sadio Mané.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Liverpool1182130141626
2Chelsea118122691725
3Man City1173125101524
4Arsenal1173124111324
5Tottenham11560156921
6Man Utd115331613318
7Everton115331513218
8Watford114341519-415
9Burnley114251115-414
10Southampton113441212013
11West Brom113441215-313
12Stoke113441318-513
13Bournemouth113351316-312
14Leicester113351318-512
15Middlesbrough112541012-211
16Crystal Palace113261619-311
17West Ham113261120-911
18Hull113171024-1410
19Swansea111281021-115
20Sunderland11128921-125
View full Premier League table

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