March 17, 2018
This is getting ridiculous. Mohamed Salah scored four goals as Liverpool crushed Watford and the Egyptian must be the only person in the country who does not want this extended winter to ever end. The closer we get to the end of the season, the closer Salah gets to concluding a dreamlike campaign that is threatening to redefine what goalscoring means at Anfield. His four goals were all wonderful in their own way and Salah is simply unstoppable at the moment.
Mohamed Salah hits awesome four as Liverpool romp past Watford
In their bid to forget last weekend’s clumsy loss at Old Trafford, Liverpool could scarcely have asked for a more compliant opposition than Watford, a side that had lost seven of their past eight away fixtures in the Premier League. Javi Gracia has done a fine job since his appointment in January but Watford’s resurgence has been extremely home-centric, to say the least.
Although the forthcoming Champions League quarter-final against Manchester City has eaten up a lot of attention at Anfield this past few days, Jürgen Klopp was insistent ahead of this contest that Watford were the priority and that the City game could take care of itself for the time being. They were wise, watchful words and his team, in particular Salah, certainly heeded them early on.
This occasion was played in the sort of conditions that made a mockery of the calendar: a freezing occasion with a breeze that bit to the bone. Yet Liverpool’s fans did not have to wait long to warm up. There was barely three minutes on the clock when Salah’s 33rd goal of the campaign cut Watford to shreds.
Salah’s season mirabilis began with a goal against Watford on the opening day and it continued with stunning aplomb here as he latched on to a ball from Sadio Mané, bamboozled Miguel Britos, who eventually fell over, and calmly threaded past Orestis Karnezis. The goal meant Watford’s parsimonious gameplan lay in tatters.
Yet to their credit, they did then manage to keep Liverpool relatively quiet for most of the first half, although Roberto Firmino was denied one of the goals of the season when his 20-yard shot was superbly stopped by Karnezis. In the build-up Mané and Salah had combined beautifully to take Liverpool the length of the pitch before Salah’s cross found Firmino, who wrongfooted his marker with one touch but failed to beat the Watford keeper.
It was, though, further evidence of Liverpool’s attacking joie de vivre, something demonstrated again by yet another Salah goal just before the interval. Again, Liverpool attacked from nowhere and in a heartbeat, and when the effervescent Andy Robertson delivered a pinpoint cross to Salah in the middle of the six-yard box, the Egyptian could not miss.
The most frightening thing for opposition defences must be how easy Salah is making the game look at the moment. There’s not a hair out of place or a bead of perspiration to be seen – he is currently playing with the childlike ease of the truly talented. That continued after the restart as Liverpool’s attacking prowess moved from industrious to inspirational, never more so than when Firmino wonderfully backheeled in a cross from close range to make it 3-0 straight after the break. And who provided the cross? It seems academic to even ask. Salah is the answer to virtually every question at the moment. Here his difficult afternoon in Manchester last weekend was almost entirely expunged from the memory.
Watford, despite the three-goal deficit, did not give up and Roberto Pereyra curled a free-kick onto Liverpool’s crossbar after 52 minutes to suggest their spirit was undimmed. The horrendous conditions then played their part as the second half began to flatten out but even that will have pleased Klopp. There were few of the defensive wobbles here that have so often punctured his side’s self-belief and little complacency was to be found. It was, in essence, brutally professional
Salah was still not finished. He added another 13 minutes from the end, somehow managing to score while falling over, and his fourth, thrashed into the roof of the net from 10 yards out at the Kop end, was just as strong a finish. He flashed a big grin as the acclaim rained down. It is a sound he is getting used to.
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