Watford were trounced 5-0 at the hands of a ruthless Liverpool side on a snowy Saturday evening at Anfield.
The home side have not lost back-to-back games once this season and before the game started, Jurgen Klopp talked of his team’s desire to get swift revenge for any defeats.
They began their quest for vengeance in the best possible way, putting themselves a goal up inside only four minutes against a Watford side that had only made one change from the side that suffered a 3-0 defeat away at Arsenal the week before.
A pass from Sadio Mane opened up the Watford defence and found Mo Salah on the edge of the box. He twisted and turned, leaving Miguel Britos on his backside, before firing past Orestis Karnezis at the near post.
The ‘keeper perhaps should have done better to keep the shot out, but he could also have asked more of his defenders in front of him. Britos, having not played since November, seemed to really struggle with the rigours of competing against Liverpool’s much feared strike force.
Watford have not scored an away goal since Javi Gracia took over as manager and from early on they looked like they would continue that tradition, as they found themselves sitting deep to try and soak up the pressure from the home team.
After half an hour Roberto Pereyra dared to be a bit more adventurous, first with a fine bit of skill to take him past Sadio Mane, but the Argentine was unable to find anyone in yellow with a poor ball into the18 yard box.
Pereyra then whipped a cross in from deep a few moments later, this time picking out the head of Richarlison, but the Brazilian’s header went straight into the gloves of Karius, giving the Liverpool keeper little to worry about.
Liverpool then got themselves back on the front foot and a counter attack in the 39th minute almost found a second goal for the hosts, but Roberto Firmino was denied by a smart save by Karnezis.
However, there was nothing the Watford keeper could do to keep Mo Salah from adding a second just three minutes later.
A splendid one-two between Mane and Robertson saw the Scottish full-back in plenty of space on the left-hand-side where he played an inch-perfect pass into the six yard box to find Salah, who simply could not miss the opportunity to give his side a two goal cushion at the break.
Things got worse for Watford just four minutes into the second half when Britos again failed to deal with Salah. The Egyptian left the defender for dead, got to the by-line and clipped a ball into the six yard box where Firmino cutely flicked the ball into the net with a delicate back heel.
Watford tried to pick themselves up quickly following Liverpool’s third with a speculative effort from Jose Holebas that skipped just wide of the hosts’ goal before Pereyra agonisingly curled a free kick onto the cross bar.
After that, defeat seemed all but inevitable and Watford rarely made it past the half way line, causing Liverpool no real problems when they did, with substitutes Will Hughes and Stefano Okaka making no real impact on the game.
Salah then scored a goal that sealed his first Premier League hat-trick since joining Liverpool in the summer.
Mane got past Prodl with ease on the right hand side before bursting into the box and laying it off to the Egyptian on the edge of the area. Salah bobbed and weaved and caused mayhem for the Watford defence, before rolling the ball into the corner, with Doucoure, Prodl and Mariappa all left lying in his wake.
Britos was relieved of his duties after a torrid return to the first team and was replaced by Daryl Janmaat.
However, things would get worse still for Watford with the insatiable Salah helping himself to a fourth five minutes before the end of the game.
Substitute Danny Ings found himself in plenty of space in the box and fired a shot low and hard at Karnezis. The Udinese loanee fumbled the effort, spilling it straight to the feet of Salah who took the opportunity to hammer the final nail in Watford’s coffin.
The final whistle could not have come sooner for Watford who looked at risk of conceding yet more goals in the game’s closing stages. The hornets will need to wait that bit longer to confirm their Premier League status for next season after becoming the latest victims of a ruthless Liverpool strike force and a man who is very possibly the best in the league this season.