Watford 0-5 Liverpool: player ratings, man of match, heroes and villains as Reds move top of Premier League

The Reds were rampant but were helped out by some poor defending from the home side.

Sadio Mane celebrates his goal with Mo Salah. Picture: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Liverpool moved back to the Premier League summit as they cruised to a 5-0 victory over Watford at Vicarage Road.

The Reds opened the scoring after nine minutes when Sadio Mane swept home Mo Salah’s sumptuous through ball.

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Then Jurgen Klopp’s side doubled their lead through Roberto Firmino’s prodded finish on 37 minutes.

Firmino then put the game to rest five minutes into the second half when he profited from Watford defender Craig Cathcart’s clearance that was pushed out by Ben Foster.

Salah then got a deserved goal by leaving three Hornets defenders for dead before curling a finish into the far corner.

Firmino then wrapped up his hat-trick in stoppage-time to put the gloss on an emphatic success for Liverpool.

The heroes

- Mo Salah: fans are starting to run out of superlatives to describe the winger. His pass with the outside of his boot to put Mane on a plate was pure genius. However, Salah produced an even better piece of brilliance for his goal when he tricked his way past three defenders before curling home. Even better than his goal against Man City. He’s the best in the world at the moment. Man of the match.

Mo Salah celebrates scoring for Liverpool against Watford. Picture: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

- Sadio Mane: so much is being talked about Salah’s contract - but sorting Mane’s future is almost as crucial. After somewhat of a stuttering start to the season, the Senegalese is nearing his best again. Salah got all the credit for the opener but don’t underestimate the composure Mane displayed to apply the finish.

- Roberto Firmino: the striker wasn’t involved in things all that much. But on three occassions, he was in the right place at the right time. Taps in are all the same when you look at goal tallies.

The villians

- Claudio Ranieri: the Italian will find himself following predecessor Xisco Munoz out of the Vicarage Road exit door soon if things don’t quickly improve. There was no new-manager bounce provided from Ranieri but instead puzzling tactics that allowed Liverpool to dominate. A strange approach to the game and he has put himself under early pressure.

Watford boss Claudio Ranieri. Picture: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

- The Watford defence: you can’t pick just one of them who was poor - they all were. As a collective, the Hornets’ rearguard was all over the show and persistently left gaps that Liverpool exploited. They’ll be immediately dropping back down to the Championship should they continue in the same manner.

- Ismaila Sarr: a chance for the forward to impress against the side who once coveted his signature. Instead, Saar struggled during rare Watford forays, giving the ball away too cheaply at times.

Player ratings

Watford (3-4-3): Foster 6, Rose 3, Masina 3 (Cleverley 46; 4), Cathcart 4, Ekong 4, Sissoko 5, Femenia 4 (Ngakia 56; 50), Kucka 4, Sarr 4, Dennis 4 (Pedro 69; 5), Hernandez 5.

Liverpool (4-3-3): Kelleher 7, Alexander-Arnold 8 (Oxlade-Chamberlain 64; 6), Matip 7, van Dijk 7, Robertson 7 (Tsimikas 64; 6), Henderson 7, Keita 7, Milner 7 (Williams 82), Mane 8, Salah 9, Firmino 8.

What’s next for Liverpool

The Reds have a big week approaching.

They travel to Atletico Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday before making the trip to Manchester United on Sunday in the Premier League.