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    Liverpool 2-0 Watford: Reds keep up hopes of a top-six finish

    By Alex Easley
    Joe Allan celebrates Liverpool's opener in their 2-0 win over Watford.
    A very much changed Liverpool team beat Watford 2-0 at Anfield on Sunday afternoon to keep their hopes of a finish in the top-six alive.

    The hosts led at the break after a rare Joe Allan goal, just his second in the league this season, before Roberto Firmino came off the bench to secure the victory with his 11th goal of the campaign with 14 minutes to go.

    Although they remained in eighth place in the standings, the win sees Jurgen Klopp’s men close the gap on Southampton to just two points with a game in hand, while defeat for Watford means they stay 13th.

    However, unlike in last weekend's 3-1 loss at Swansea, when Klopp also made a whole raft of changes with European commitments in mind, Liverpool produced a far more cohesive display at a sun kissed Anfield.

    The hosts found it hard to carve out any real openings in the first half though, that is until they took the lead 10 minutes before half-time with their first shot on target in the game.

    Allen was fouled midway in Watford's half, with Kevin Stewart quickly playing the ball to Philippe Coutinho, who in turn picked out Christian Benteke on the edge of the area.

    The Belgian striker, making a rare start in attack for the Reds, then did well to cushion a lovely header right into the path of Allen, with the unmarked midfielder keeping his cool to easily slide the ball past Heurelho Gomes.

    The visitors' greatest danger came from top-scorer Odion Ighalo, who while on the fringes of play before the break, really came to prominence in the second period with his side's best two chances.

    However, on each occasion the Nigeria international was denied by the brilliance of Mignolet, who was only playing after back-up goalkeeper Danny Ward suffered a knee injury prior to the match.

    The goalkeeper's first impressive stop came 10 minutes after the interval after Ighalo had somehow managed to wriggle free on the edge of Liverpool's box, only for Mignolet to get fingertips to his shot.

    Then with time running out, Mignolet was again on hand to turn Ighalo's well-struck effort from a tight angle against the outside of the post.

    By that stage, Liverpool had already doubled their lead thanks to Firmino's 76th-minute strike, although in contrast to Mignolet's impressive stops, Watford No 1 Gomes will be disappointed with his part in the goal.

    The visitors gifted Firmino possession with a stray pass across their own half, with the Brazil forward then driving at the Watford back four before beating Gomes with a low shot that somehow made its way through his compatriot.
    Roberto Firmino (left) celebrates Liverpool's second goal.
    TEAM LINE-UPS

    Liverpool: Mignolet, Flanagan, Skrtel, Lucas, Moreno, Allen, Stewart, Ojo, Coutinho, Ibe, Benteke

    Subs used: Firmino, Brannagan, Randall

    Watford: Gomes, Prodl, Cathcart, Britos, Anya, Abdi, Mario Suarez, Watson, Jurado, Ighalo, Deeney

    Subs used: Amrabat, Guedioura, Berghuis


    MAN OF THE MATCH: Joe Allen                
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    Item Reviewed: Liverpool 2-0 Watford: Reds keep up hopes of a top-six finish Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Alex Easley
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