Mohamed Salah netted a brace against Watford as Liverpool continued their stunning run of form and further cemented their status at the top of the table.
Liverpool needed a win to go 11 points clear in their last Premier League match before they depart for the World Club Cup in Qatar. Nigel Pearson was taking charge of Watford for the first time.
The home side had rested Andrew Robertson and brought Xherdan Shaqiri into the starting line-up as they anticipated a busy period.
It was Salah who broke the deadlock after being released by Sadio Mane, and the Egyptian curled into an empty net.
In the second half, Mane’s header looked to have made it two before it was ruled offside on review, which provoked a wave of Liverpool pressure interrupted briefly as Gerard Deulofeu almost beat Alisson.
Ultimately the game was won when Liverpool were able to resist a late surge from Watford, despite Deulofeu hitting the post, and Salah's second in stoppage time confirmed the three points.
Talking point - Liverpool leave the title race in control
Eleven points clear after their win against Watford, they will now contest the League Cup with a second-string side before competing in the World Club Cup. They should use the break as a chance to rest, as Georginio Wijnaldum’s injury proved that they could find themselves short of bodies going into a busy period.
Man of the match - Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)
This was far from a classic performance from Liverpool, and Christian Kabasele stood out for Watford with his defensive contribution, but Alexander-Arnold remained a constant threat while nullifying any attacks coming down his flank.
Liverpool: Alisson 7, Alexander-Arnold 7, Gomez 6, Van Dijk 7, Milner 6, Henderson 6, Wijnaldum 6, Shaqiri 5, Mane 7, Salah 7, Firmino 6. Subs: Oxlade-Chamberlain 6, Robertson 6, Origi 6.
Watford: Foster 6, Femenia 6, Cathcart 6, Kabasele 7, Mariappa 6, Capoue 6, Doucoure 5, Deulofeu 6, Hughes 6, Sarr 5, Deeney 6. Subs: Gray 6, Quina 6.
Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
Image credit: Getty Images
38’ - GOAL! Liverpool 1-0 Watford. Salah scores - Mane picks out Salah behind the defence and he cuts onto his right foot in the box, and curls a shot into the top corner past Foster.
42’ - WATFORD MISS - Deulofeu drives a shot at a tight angle that Alisson palms away. It's into the path of Sarr, who can volley it home, and he misses the connection almost entirely!
50’ - GOAL! Liverpool 2-0 Watford. Sane scores - A cross from the left is met by Sane - just played onside by Cathcart's foot - is glanced high and past Foster. NO! VAR checks again and rules it offside.
54’ - ALISSON SAVE - Deulofeu in behind the defence, and he attempts to life a shot past Alisson before it's slapped away.
81’ - DEULOFEU CORNER - Deulofeu hits the post direct from a corner!
90’ - GOAL! Liverpool 2-0 Watford. Salah scores - Mane gets behind the defence down the right. It comes to Origi, who scuffs it wide, but it allows Salah to sweep the shot past a prone Foster.
This is Liverpool’s first home clean sheet in the league this season.