0-1, Can 45+2'.
Watford 0-1 Liverpool: Emre Can's goal of the season contender lifts Reds closer to Champions League berth

Watford 0-1 Liverpool: Emre Can's goal of the season contender lifts Reds closer to Champions League berth

The German bagged his fifth and finest of the season to put some distance between Liverpool and those below them.

OliverEmmerson
Oliver Emmerson
WatfordGomes; Mariappa, Prodl, Britos (Kabasele 19'); Janmaat, Cleverley, Doucoure, Capoue (Success 73'), Amrabat (Okaka 85'); Niang, Deeney.
Liverpool Mignolet; Clyne, Matip, Lovren, Milner; Lucas, Can, Wijnaldum; Coutinho (Lallana 13', Klavan 87'), Firmino, Origi (Sturridge 85').
REFEREECraig Pawson (ENG): Booked - Lucas, Prodl, Capoue, Success.
INCIDENTSPremier League fixture at Vicarage Road, Watford.

Liverpool capped a near-perfect bank holiday weekend as Emre Can's stunner gave them victory at Watford on Monday night.

With previous results this weekend having gone their way already, Liverpool were handed a further boost before kick-off as Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana returned to the squad, albeit on the bench. 

Coutinho out, Lallana in

However, Lallana was soon off the bench as Liverpool's luck seemed to reverse itself, Philippe Coutinho limping off the pitch after an early collision with Adrian Mariappa.

That wasn't the only enforced substitution early on in the game though, with M'Baye Niang's easily saved effort the only shot on target in an opening period of the game that then saw Miguel Britos limp off, making way for Christian Kabasele.

Emre Can had already managed a career best four Premier League goals this season and may have felt he deserved a fifth when connecting sweetly with a left-footed effort from some distance, one that was impressively beaten away by Watford 'keeper Heurelho Gomes

In truth the early injuries had well and truly taken the sting out of the game, but the opening goal did nearly come before the interval thanks to a fantastic hit from Lallana. With Gomes coming out of his goal to beat away a corner, Lallana's volley dropped back over the goalkeeper's head and then back into the penalty area as it clanged off the bar. 

Emre Can proves he... Can!

Some quality of an even higher level was to follow though, a strike that did see a team go ahead before the break, Emre Can scoring in stoppage time.

Lucas Leiva, a minute after being booked, scooped a well-spotted pass into the penalty area, little seemingly on for Can, who was still running forward as he rose magnificently to volley the ball into the top corner of the net with an overhead kick. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Divock Origi had struggled to make much of an impact early on but forced Gomes into another parried save eight minutes after the restart, coming inside off the left nicely before unleashing a curling effort. Dejan Lovren knocked down the resulting corner into the six yard box, frustrated as he saw no teammates latching onto it.

Minutes later Origi was presented with an even better chance thanks to the long-passing qualities of defender Joel Matip, the Belgian finding himself through on goal down the right side of the area, only to fire straight at Gomes.

Hornets toil but Reds fail to be clincial

Watford were struggling to maintain much attacking impetus whenever they got forward and were angered even further when they a goal kick was awarded despite Simon Mignolet doing well to tip a powerful effort from Etienne Capoue over. The Hornets were so incensed that Capoue took a yellow card for his protests.

Watford brought on Isaac Success as they looked to ramp up the pressure but were almost caught cold as Liverpool broke from a corner, Emre Can crossing to Lallana who did well to stay onside only for his touch to let him down as Watford scrambled the ball to safety.

Walter Mazzarri threw the kitchen sink in the final few minutes of Stefano Okaka, Jürgen Klopp responding by bringing off Lallana or Ragnar Klavan. 

Daniel Sturridge entered the fray too, and almost had a goal as the game crept into stoppage time, forcing Gomes into a top-drawer save with his right hand having burst into the penalty area. 

One final scare

Liverpool looked to be seeing the game out comfortably but were given one huge scare in the dying moments as a long ball into the area fell kindly for Sebastian Prodl, the defender smashing the ball against the crossbar. 

That mattered little to the travelling Kop though as they got over the line for all three points, capping a near-perfect few days. 

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