The New Ultras
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The New Ultras

Liverpool vs. Watford | 3–3 | You Know Nothing Jurgen Klopp…

Liverpool have the “honor” of having the early game of the first Saturday of the 17/18 Premier League campaign. An away game at Watford is what the Premier League script writers deemed correct to begin the long, ardous road that awaits Jurgen Klopp’s side. A stain on Liverpool’s season last year was the fact that they could not seem to get by the bottom half of the table convincingly, or at all for that matter. A pesky Watford side that thrashed Liverpool on their home ground 3–0 last year is the perfect way to begin a new campaign with so much hope to pick up where they left off last season.

First Half — The Old Gods & The New…

From the time the whistle blew, you could tell that Liverpool miss Adam Lallana (out for 4 months with a thigh injury) & Philipe Coutinho (out with a transfer request) dearly. Creativity paired with a high powered attack is what Liverpool fans were hoping for this season. Instead, what was shown is zero creativity and limited play by the top 3 of Mane, Firmino, & Salah. There seemed to be no play through the midfield, which lead to long balls from the back trying to pick out the run of the speed demons hoping that it would either fall to them or get tossed out for a throw in. Not the most glamorous or efficient football to say the least.

Watford drew first blood, early in the 8th minute off a un-marked headed goal by Okaka off a corner. This was worst case scenario for Liverpool. Conceding off the first corner of the season was something that Liverpool fans a like could see coming from a mile away. Liverpool’s defense as a whole, including set piece defense, is about as put together as the White House right now. An unmarked Okaka barging through the line of defense and waking up all the demons of last seasons woes.

Liverpool leveled the game at 1–1 with a beautiful piece of play involving Emre Can & the eventual goal scorer Sadio Mane. A built up play ending with a cheeky flick on by Emre, lead to Mane finding space and calmly placing the ball in the top right corner of the goal. A small aide-mémoire to pre-season where Liverpool were doing that on a 15 minute basis. Alas, the tie game and hope of more to come did not last long, for Liverpool anyway.

Watford once again pounce on the timid, malnourished back line of Liverpool in the 32nd minute, when Doucoure finishes top shed after A Series of Unfortunate Bounces lead to the ball finding its way to his feet. It started with Moreno getting dragged (something that would never happen to James Milner) which lead to space. It ended with Trent Alexander-Arnold unable to clear it off the line leading to the goal. Again, it seemed as if Liverpool’s defense just forgot how to soccah.

Second Half

Klopp going into the second half had to find the correct of strength and calmness when talking to his team. A third conceded goal would be devastating to the already on edge side. At the 55th minute mark, Roberto Firmino equalized with a professionally looking penalty take after a clear fouled on Salah in the box. Hopes lifted but work to be done.

Just 2 minutes later Mo Salah, yes flop Mo Salah, finished a chip over the keeper by Firmino after some poor defending by Watford. A goal caused by a breakdown of defending allowed the quick attack of Liverpool attach to pounce and show what they are capable of. Now 3–2 it was up to Liverpool’s defense to find a way to close out the game.

The second half showed some glimpses of what Liverpool’s attach “can” be. Quick midfield play and darting runs by the Cardiac Kids up front showed that this attack is something to get, some-what excited about. Watford backs had a hard time keeping up with the intelligence and timing of the runs of Mane and Salah, giving Firmino space down the middle opening up passing lanes and opportunity. There is something to be said with this all happening without the Little Magician there helping them out. Watford is Watford which this can all change when facing a superior midfield and back line, but something to look forward to nonetheless.

All was well in Liverpool land until the 94th minute when Watford equalized off, you guessed it, a corner. Liverpool woeful marking and awful clearing ability gave Watford the 3rd goal they desperately were seeking. Marco Silva erupted off the sidelines showing what it meant for that goal to go in and his team collect a point on opening day. For Klopp, he sat down, with a smug grim on his face, to begin the processing of “what went wrong?”

Overall, the score line is fair. A tale of two halves that saw Watford dominate at home with Liverpool clawing back to scrape a result away on the first day. Liverpool have a lot of work to do and the problems of old still lingering around the club. With time running out in the transfer window, this game should be a wake up call to Jurgen Klopp that his defense desperately needs reinforcing. Will a move be made to secure VVD from Southampton? Or will Liverpool march into the fall with the team they have and the supporters on their back? The Premier League is back everyone, so cheers to the new season and the banter that will be had.




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