Football Features

Watford 3-0 Liverpool: Every player rated as Premier League witnesses shocking result

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 19:40, 29 February 2020

Watford produced the biggest shock of this Premier League season by running out 3-0 winners against champions-elect Liverpool.

Nigel Pearson’s men, who are in a real battle to maintain their top-flight status, were greatly inspired this evening with Ismaïla Sarr grabbing a brace.

Troy Deeney added Watford’s third but could have scored twice himself. As for the Reds it was an off-day, they’ll miss out on completing an unbeaten season, but are still on course to ending a 30-year championship drought.

Here’s how the players rated at Vicarage Road:

Watford

Ben Foster – 8 – He couldn’t have foreseen keeping a cleansheet against the runaway league leaders, but in truth Foster was seldom troubled, and when called upon he did so like the top class ‘keeper he is.

Kiko Femenía – 8 – Playing at right-back, where before under Pearson he was stationed on the opposite flank, Femenía gave a real good account of himself — after missing Watford’s last six Premier League outings — notably making four interceptions just when Liverpool seemed to have got in behind.

Christian Kabasele – 8 – No defender in the league is keen to face Liverpool at this moment in time. You could forgive Christian Kabasele, who saw Man Utd put three past him last time out, for being nervous. He did, though, put in a much better performance this weekend and made 13 important clearances.

Craig Cathcart – 8 – Always on alert Cathcart handled whatever aerial threat Liverpool imposed and made a number of key interventions as Klopp’s men came straight out of the blocks in the second half.

Adam Masina – 8 – Had to be at the top of his game and combative when up against Liverpool’s right flank and the Moroccoan full-back did just that by producing five tackles.

Will Hughes – 7 – His energy was the cornerstone behind Watford’s success this evening, Hughes — a firm fan favourite at Vicarage Road — seamlessly transitioned from being on the backfoot to joining the Hornets attack.

Étienne Capoue – 8 – Pearson knew if Watford were to get anything from this game they needed to compete in midfield, Capoue rose to the challenge, winning two of his three attempted tackles subsequently giving the hosts a platform to play from.

Ismaïla Sarr – 9 – In their last meeting Sarr was guilty of missing gilt edged chances, this was an opportunity to make amends, and the Senegal forward did just that and then some; firstly nudging in Doucouré’s ball following a throw-in before finding himself one-on-one with Alisson and then chipping him in style.

Abdoulaye Doucouré – 8 – Playing in this new free role behind Deeney, the French midfielder found himself on numerous occasions bearing down on Liverpool’s goal, but was unable to find that cutting edge to punish the runaway Premier League leaders.

Gerard Deulofeu – 7 – Really took the fight to the league’s best right-back. Gerard Deulofeu attempted two strikes on Liverpool’s goal, on both occasions he had Trent Alexander-Arnold pinned back, no one until now has made the Liverpudian full-back this uncomfortable. Unfortunately had to go off before half-time after sustaining a worryingly looking knee injury.

Troy Deeney – 9 – What an opportunity in first-half stoppage time. Deeny, never one to give up on a lost cause, found himself with possession after a rare Alisson spillage but the Hornets captain was unable to divert the loose ball into the net. But he made amends freeing Sarr to double Watford’s lead before incredibly adding a third.

Substitutes: 

Roberto Pereyra (for Deulofeu 37) – 6 – Continued where Deulofeu left off much to his manager’s delight.

Ignacio Pussetto (for Sarr 82) – N/A – A late sub.

Nathaniel Chalobah (for Doucouré 89) – N/A – A late sub.

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Liverpool

Alisson – 5 – Statistically his worst performance in a Liverpool jersey, never before had he conceded three goals in a single Premier League game. 

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 5 – Due to Deulofeu’s persistence and irresistible dribbling, Alexander-Arnold wasn’t exclusively stationed in Watford’s half where he could have done incredible damage, instead we saw the defensive side of his game on show this evening. That being said, a sloppy backpass late on ultimately saw Watford go 3-0 up.

Dejan Lovren – 4 – Starting his first league game since early December, this was an opportunity for the Croatian centre-back to impress and cement a regular starting berth alongside Van Dijk, was shaky this evening and seemed to be shorne of confidence which led to unnecessary errors.

Virgil van Dijk – 6 – A shaky start from the Reds saw their imperious Dutch centre-back be more vocal than normal. Starting for a 76th consecutive Premier League game this evening, Van Dijk would have been kicking himself for not doing better in the build-up to Watford’s opener.

Andrew Robertson – 6 – Robertson, like opposite number Alexander-Arnold, was being kept honest but that didn’t stop him from making those familiar bursts forward. The marauding Scot — who was too late to prevent Sarr from putting Watford ahead — remained one of Liverpool’s most likely sources for a goal to be created from.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 6 – Coming in for the absent Jordan Henderson there was no chance of Oxlade-Chamberlain letting his manager down. The multifunctional England international was the most lively of Liverpool’s midfielders and covered plenty of ground as they chased three more points.

Fabinho – 6 – Sitting in front of the league’s best defence, Fabinho was also tasked with keeping an eye on Doucouré, in possession none of Liverpool’s front-six made more passes (74) than the Brazilian international.

Georginio Wijnaldum – 5 – A seemingly quiet game for the versatile Dutchman, but that’s par for the course, Wijnadulm — a key component to Liverpool’s system under Klopp — does his best work unnoticed. He kept the ball ticking whilst making late runs but was largely ineffective.

Mohamed Salah – 5 – A spectator for large swathes of this game, the ball wouldn’t stick for the Reds leading marksman this season, he’d nonetheless produce two shots on goal but was never troubling Foster.

Roberto Firmino – 6 – Started the game full of vigour and had Watford’s backline on notice but as the hosts grew in confidence Liverpool’s away day specialist faded into the background.

Sadio Mané – 5 – The one Senegalese forward most would have been confident of getting on the scoresheet this evening, Mane wasn’t his usual self and often ended up chasing lost causes.

Substitutes:

Adam Lallana (for Wijnaldum 61) – 6 – Came on with the Reds two goals down and subsequently pulled off a spectacular volley that struck Ben Foster’s post.

Divock Origi (for Oxlade-Chamberlain 65) – X – Struggled to get into the game with Liverpool chasing a way back in.

Takumi Minamino (for Firmino 79) – N/A – A late sub.

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