Liverpool 6-1 Watford: Reds cruise past Hornets to go top of the Premier League
By Charlotte Marsh
Last Updated: 07/11/16 6:40am
Liverpool went top of the Premier League and extended their unbeaten run to 12 games on Sunday afternoon by beating Watford 6-1 at Anfield.
The Reds were rampant in front of their own fans and broke the deadlock after a series of near misses in the 27th minute when Sadio Mane headed home.
Philippe Coutinho doubled the hosts' lead moments later before Emre Can made it 3-0 shortly before half-time.
After the break, Roberto Firmino tapped home the fourth in the 57th minute and Mane netted his second on the hour-mark before Daryl Janmaat pulled one back for Watford with 15 minutes to play.
But Georginio Wijnaldum rounded off a sublime performance from Liverpool on the stroke of full-time to fire the Reds top of the table heading into the international break.
Liverpool had a plethora of chances before making the breakthrough, with the first coming after nine minutes when Adam Lallana's cross found Firmino in the box, but his header was well saved by Heurelho Gomes.
The Watford stopper was in action again eight minutes later as he got down low to keep out a header from Lucas before Coutinho shot wide from six yards. Sadio Mane surged forward on the left-hand side before playing in his team-mate and after taking a touch to round the defenders, shot agonisingly wide of the upright.
Firmino also skewed a shot wide in the 24th minute after Coutinho slipped him into the box but Mane eventually found the breakthrough three minutes later. The Senegal international met a cross from Coutinho from the left flank, following a short corner with James Milner, with a header which powered into the back of the net.
That opened the floodgates for Jurgen Klopp's men as Coutinho added his name to the scoresheet three minutes later. It was a brilliant flowing attack as Lallana played in Firmino at the top of the box, who in turn found his countryman to his left. Coutinho's touch was again sublime as he made his way through the defenders surrounding him before firing home through the legs of Younes Kaboul.
Gomes injured his knee during the goal and was replaced by Costel Pantilimon but the Romanian was not able to stop the rampant Reds with Can added the third in the 43rd minute. Coutinho played in Lallana on the right of the box, whose cross found the German at the back post - having got away from Nordin Amrabat - and he slotted home to give Liverpool a commanding half-time lead.
Despite the scoreline, it was an even start to the second period, with Coutinho going close in the opening five minutes as his effort from the top of the box just went over the crossbar.
The fourth goal eventually came for Liverpool in the 57th minute as Firmino completed the scoring for the front three. Lallana was the man to turn provider once again as he flashed the ball across goal and it found the Brazilian who tapped home past Pantilimon at point blank range.
Mane nabbed his second three minutes later to make it 5-0 with another tap in from Firmino's low cross after the forward had been played though by Milner.
Watford had a decent spell of pressure after the fifth, as Loris Karius was called into action twice in quick succession, keeping out Etienne Capoue with a fine low save before doing so again to deny Odion Igahlo.
Janmaat eventually beat the German from the edge of the box after Amrabat had got away from Milner on the right-hand side and picked out the full-back.
Daniel Sturridge made a 20 minute substitute appearance and was twice denied by the woodwork, Pantilimon making a fantastic fingertip save to push his shot onto the post in the 89th minute.
Wijnaldum made it six late on when another save from a Sturridge shot fell into the Dutchman's path and he slid home to seal a superb victory for Klopp's side, who are a point clear at the top of the table.
Liverpool: Karius (7), Clyne (7), Lucas (7), Matip (7), Milner (8), Henderson (8), Can (8), Lallana (8), Mane (8), Coutinho (9), Firmino (8).
Subs used: Sturrige (7), Wijnaldum (7), Ejaria (6).
Watford: Gomes (6), Janmaat (6), Kaboul (6), Britos (6), Holebas (6), Amrabat (6), Behrami (5), Capoue (5), Pereyra (5), Deeney (6), Ighalo (4).
Subs used: Pantilimon (6), Watson (7), Zuniga (4).
Man of the match: Philippe Coutinho