Watford 3 Liverpool 0: Three talking points as Adam Bogdan drops clanger
Three talking points as Watford are comfortable 3-0 winners against Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool side
Different goalkeeper, same story
News of Simon Mignolet’s absence through injury was welcomed on social media ahead of kick-off at Vicarage Road. The Belgium international has never convinced as Liverpool’s first-choice goalkeeper since his £9m move from Sunderland in 2013. When you recall illustrious names such as Pepe Reina, Bruce Grobbelaar and Ray Clemence who have been great Liverpool No1s, Mignolet is an underwhelming occupant of the illustrious shirt. The 28-year-old is an excellent shot stopper, but he lacks composure at set-pieces and is often prone to a clanger. So the irony wasn’t lost on Liverpool supporters when his replacement Adam Bogdan had “a Mignolet” inside three minutes at Vicarage Road. He was signed to provide Mignolet with tougher competition for the No1 spot than Brad Jones did. But on his first Premier League start, Bogdan didn’t convince. Klopp is adamant that he won’t sign a goalkeeper in January, but at the moment, his shot-stoppers are costing him points. It is the part of the Liverpool spine that needs to be addressed.
A tale of three strikers
It has been a brilliant season for strikers not playing for the Premier League’s so-called big clubs. Jamie Vardy has dominated the headlines after he scored in 11 successive games to break Ruud van Nistelrooy’s Premier League record. His team-mate Riyad Mahrez has netted 14 times in the Premier League this and only trails Vardy by one in the goal-scoring charts. Unfancied by Chelsea, Romelu Lukaku has netted seven goals in seven games for Everton after his close-range finish in Saturday’s 3-2 defeat by West Bromwich Albion. After watching his contemporaries find the net yesterday, Odion Ighalo kept pace with his rivals in the race for the Premier League golden boot with a brilliant performance against Liverpool. His first was the pick of the goals from the division’s in-form forwards as the striker collected Troy Deeney’s lofted pass and managed to hold off Martin Skrtel before finishing from a tight angle. It was Ighalo’s fourth goal in four successive Premier League games. The Hornets striker extinguished any chance of a late Liverpool comeback with an 85th-minute header to cap a brilliant individual performance and compound Liverpool’s misery.
Liverpool losing crucial ground in top-four race
Liverpool appeared to be turning a corner under Klopp with victories over Chelsea and Manchester City in successive games on the road in the Premier League. After a slow start, a run of one defeat in 11 games suggested the former Borussia Dortmund manager had stumbled upon a promising formula. But the form card doesn’t make pleasant reading for the 48-year-old over the past six games: Liverpool have lost three times and have only won twice. Given Manchester United are hemorrhaging points and even Tottenham Hotspur slipped up last weekend, Liverpool have wasted the chance to make serious strides towards a top-four finish. But even in one of the most unpredictable seasons in Premier League history, a fourth-place finish is looking increasingly out-of-reach, particularly given Leicester City are already 14 points ahead of Klopp’s men. For the German, it will be a season of rebuilding.