Mohamed Salah scored one of the goals of the season and Roberto Firmino scored a hat-trick as Liverpool hammered Watford 5-0 in Claudio Ranieri's first game in charge at Vicarage Road.
Receiving the ball just inside the box, Salah drew three defenders then drove towards the right by-line before turning back, leaving two players in his wake, and clipping a ball past Foster inside the far post.
Before this fourth goal Liverpool had long ended the game as a contest with Sadio Mane opening the scoring with a cool first time effort after Salah's fine through-ball and then Firmino hitting two tap-ins either side of half time. The first was created by Milner driving deep into the penalty area before unselfishly squaring the ball and the second after Craig Cathcart's despairing lunge at Andy Robertson's low cross. The Brazilian added a third in stoppage time after fine work from substitute Neco Williams.
While Watford could do little about Salah's genius, their effort over the course of the 90 minutes left a lot to be desired and their new manager under no illusions of the task ahead of him to keep the club in the Premier League.
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Claudio Ranieri could not have had a sterner examination to expose the limitations of his side than that posed by Jurgen Klopp's side. To say they were found wanting is an understatement. For most of the first half, the ball was only in Liverpool's territory when the Reds were passing the ball around the defence, as they averaged ten passes for every one of Watford's.
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The lack of desire from Watford's players to close down Liverpool players, especially in midfield was even more damning. Moussa Sissoko was often on a one-man mission racing from one the edge of his penalty area to the other trying to cover runs from the Liverpool midfield or Mo Salah, who Danny Rose at this stage of his career was nowhere near equipped to deal with the Morroccan. By the time, Milner raced forward to set up the second, Sissoko looked too exhausted to go with him.
It is astonishing to think there are five teams below the Hornets in the Premier League, but this number will soon dwindle if there is not a shift in attitude.
MAN OF THE MATCH - MOHAMED SALAH (LIVERPOOL)
As good as he was, it was not the Egyptian's best display. If he had been a little sharper in the first half he could have scored a couple from stylish through-balls from Trent Alexander-Arnold. That said, even if he had not scored the probable goal of the season his pass for Mane's opening goal would have been a contender for the best assist, inch-perfect with the outside of his boot curling around the Watford centre backs.
Sadio Mané célèbre avec Mohamed Salah son centième but en Premier League, le 16 ocotbre 2021 sur la pelouse de Watford.
Image credit: Getty Images
There was warning of what was to come moments before his coup de grace, as he forced Ben Foster to tip over the bar from his trademark curling effort from the right edge of the penalty area. The Hornets stopper had no chance when he did hit the target though, with an unerring finish which matched his sparkling skills which set up the chance.
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Watford: Foster 6; Femenia 5, Troost-Ekong 6, Cathcart 5, Rose 3; Sarr 5, Kucka 5, Sissoko 6, Masina 4; Hernandez 5, Dennis 5.
Subs: Cleverley 5, Ngakia 6, Pedro 6.
Liverpool: Kelleher 6, Alexander-Arnold 8, Matip 7, Van Dijk 7, Robertson 7, Milner 8, Henderson 7, Keïta 7, Salah 9*, Mane 8, Firmino 8.
Subs: Tsimikas 7, Oxlade-Chamberlain 6, Williams 7.
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9' GOAL FOR LIVERPOOL! It has been coming. A fantastic ball for Salah, after he eased Danny Rose out on the right flank, behind the Watford defence and Mane hit it first time with his right foot giving Ben Foster no chance.
37' GOAL FOR LIVERPOOL! A fine combination between Firmino and Mane, sees Milner through in the left hand side of the six-yard box and he squares for Firmino to tap into an empty net.
53' GOAL FOR LIVERPOOL! Firmino with another tap in. Robertson's low cross towards Salah was diverted by the sliding Cathcart to Foster's right and he could only parry the ball into the path of the Brazilian striker.
55' GOAL FOR LIVERPOOL! Salah with remarkable feet in the penalty area, getting the ball just inside the 18-yard box, he beat three players before dragging back on the edge of the six-yard box and scoring past Foster inside the far post.
90+1' GOAL FOR LIVERPOOL! Firmino has a third tap in after Williams beats Rose on the right wing and slides a ball across the six-yard box which gifts the Brazilian a hat-trick.