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    Liverpool 6-1 Watford Match Report

    Liverpool produced their most emphatic performance so far this season against an in-form Watford team to move to the top of the Premier League table for the first time since May 2014.

    A goal after 27 minutes from Sadio Mane helped to open the floodgates for Jurgen Klopp's side and the match was over as a contest prior to half-time with further strikes from Philippe Coutinho and Emre Can.

    Watford had no answer to Liverpool's pace and fluency in the final third of the field as the home team ran out 6-1 winners with substitute Georginio Wijnaldum netting his first goal for the club in stoppage time.

    The performance will be seen as a signal of intent to Liverpool's title rivals after Chelsea went top of the league with an equally-clinical 5-0 demolition of Everton just 24 hours earlier, while Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham all dropped points.

    The Reds welcomed back James Milner to their starting line-up after he missed the victory over Crystal Palace through illness, while Lucas deputised for Dejan Lovren in central defence after the Croatian succumbed to a virus.

    Watford went into the match in search of a fourth successive clean sheet but would have to do so without the services of Sebastian Prodl, who picked up an abductor injury in the win over Hull and was replaced by Daryl Janmaat.

    The Hornets may have coped better with the defensive leadership of Prodl during a one-sided first-half where the home side laid siege to the Watford goal early on but a combination of wasteful finishing and an inspired Heurelho Gomes kept them at bay.

    Brazilian international Lucas Leiva should have given his side the lead after 15 minutes when his side-footed effort from close-range was smothered at full-stretch by his fellow countryman Gomes.

    Philippe Coutinho, who was in dazzling form throughout the match, should have also broken the deadlock minutes later when he weaved inside Janmaat before drilling a ferocious effort into the side netting.

    Watford were afforded little respite by a rampant home team with Firmino the next to try his luck when he was played through by Coutinho's perfectly-weighted pass but the former Hoffenheim forward badly miscued when he only had Gomes to beat.

    Gomes was in excellent form in the opening half-hour and he spread himself once again, this time at the feet of James Milner to deny Liverpool from making a deserved breakthrough and Jose Holebas was on hand to clear the danger.

    From the resulting corner, there was nothing that Gomes or Watford could do to keep out a determined home team as Sadio Mane gave The Reds a deserved first-half lead with his fifth goal of the season.

    Philippe Coutinho's floated cross was met by an an acrobatic Mane whose well-directed header flew past Gomes into the back of the net to break the deadlock after 27 minutes.

    Having initially struggled to break down resolute opposition, it wasn't long before Jurgen Klopp's side doubled their lead through Coutinho's drilled effort from 20 yards, which nutmegged Younes Kaboul and had the pace to beat Gomes.

    Gomes sustained an injury in his forlorn attempts to save his countryman's effort and was replaced on the half-hour mark by the former Manchester City and Sunderland goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon.

    If Watford had any ambitions of finding a way back into the match, those hopes were dealt a further blow two minutes before half-time when Emre Can's cushioned header from Adam Lallana's delicate cross found the corner of the net to all-but seal the contest.

    The Reds' dominance did not show any sign of waning after the break as Adam Lallana's left-footed cross picked out Firmino's well-timed run and the Brazilian tapped home from close-range for his sixth goal of the season.

    Liverpool's front-four were in mesmerising form throughout the match and the visitors were unable to cope with the quartet's clever movement or their ability to carve out opportunities for each other almost at will.

    Four minutes later it was Firmino's chance to turn provider, this time the Brazilian's inch-perfect pass for Mane took out three Watford defenders before the Senegalese international deftly chipped the ball over Pantilimon from six yards.

    Watford did not throw in the towel to their credit and enjoyed their most productive period of the match with Etienne Capoue striking through a crowd of Liverpool players midway through the half but he was unable to beat the full-stretch dive of Loris Karius.

    The visitors' greater ambition after the break was rewarded when Nordin Amrabat turned past Milner on the right-wing before setting-up Daryl Janmaat to place a left-footed effort into the bottom corner of the goal.

    Watford's mini-revival proved to be short-lived with Daniel Sturridge hitting the crossbar as he went on an all-out assault to prove to his manager that he is worthy of a first-team start after entering the fray with 20 minutes remaining.

    Costel Pantilimon denied Sturridge three times in as many minutes in the dying embers of the match, firstly when he tipped the 27-year-old's effort onto the crossbar and later when he kept out a right-footed strike that was heading for the near-post.

    A minute into stoppage time, Sturridge side-footed effort was once again saved by the six-foot eight-inch goalkeeper but this time Georginio Wijnaldum was on hand to convert the rebound to score his side's sixth goal of the afternoon.

    It rounded off a dazzling display from Jurgen Klopp's team who moved to the top of the Premier League for the first time this season having now scored 40 goals from 14 matches in all competitions this campaign.

    The movement, pace and link-up play that Liverpool produced gave themselves so many options all over the pitch that it was only a matter of time before the visitors' bamboozled defence finally caved in to a tidal wave of pressure.

    The only black mark on an otherwise impeccable performance for the 18-time Champions was the club's failure to keep a clean sheet, which has only been achieved once in their opening 11 league games of the season.

    The Reds return to action on November 19 against Southampton at St Mary's where two goals from Sadio Mane, the second four minutes from time, enabled his former side prevail 3-2 in March 2016.

    Walter Mazzarri's Watford side enjoyed a good spell in the game just after the hour-mark but were otherwise outplayed in all areas of the pitch although their task was made more difficult when Heurelho Gomes was forced to hobble off after 33 minutes.

    The only consolation for the visitors after their heaviest defeat of the season is that they don't have to face Liverpool again until April 2017, while their position of eighth in the table is still a sign of how far they have progressed in the past few years.

    The Hornets return from the international break on November 19 when they face Champions Leicester City at Vicarage Road where they lost 1-0 last season to a Riyad Mahrez goal.
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    Item Reviewed: Liverpool 6-1 Watford Match Report Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Richard Tufft
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