As it happened: Clinical Liverpool punish wasteful Watford
Photo by Getty Images/Chris Brunskill/Fantasista

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Goodbye and thank you!

That's it for the live coverage of this game. Stay tuned at VAVEL UK for post-match reaction, as well as more coverage from the rest of today's Premier League games. Until next time, thank you and goodbye!

Full-time

Andre Marriner draws the curtain on this afternoon of football at Anfield.

Ultimately, it's two goals from Salah that settle the result, but Watford and their new head coach Pearson will take encouragement from their exertions.

Liverpool's title surge goes on: they're now a staggering 11 points clear at the top of the table.

GOAL - LIVERPOOL - 2-0 - SALAH

90' It's not in doubt anymore. Liverpool's spectacular form continues.

Mané is played in behind the Watford defence and cuts the ball back for Origi, whose mis-hit shot finds Salah to cheekily flick the ball home.

SUBSTITUTION - LIVERPOOL

88' A switch for the hosts up front, with Origi replacing Firmino

SUBSTITUTION - WATFORD

88' Doucouré makes way for Quina in the midfield.

83' Anfield is restless. There are still points to be won and lost here.

81' Deulofeu strikes the upright direct from a corner.

SUBSTITUTION - WATFORD

75' First change of the afternoon for Watford, with Gray replacing Deeney up front.

CHANCE

74' The lead should be doubled for Liverpool. Robertson cuts the ball back exquisitely for Firmino, who takes too long to get his shot away and is challenged by Hughes.

SUBSTITUTION - LIVERPOOL

70' Shaqiri makes way for Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Chance

62' Firmino exchanges an incisive one-two with Mané and bolts towards the Watford goal, striking from the edge of the box, but Foster is equal to the effort.

SUBSTITUTION - LIVERPOOL

59' Wijnaldum looks to have sustained a knee injury and is thus replaced by Robertson, with Milner slotting into midfield.

Chance

54' This is becoming quite the story. Deulofeu is played in behind the Liverpool defence, but cannot beat Alisson with his eventual shot.

GOAL DISALLOWED

50' Liverpool double their advantage with an emphatic header from Mané, but VAR rules the forward to have been offside when the ball was played. A let-off for the visitors.

Chance

48' Dangerous play from Watford, who get down the right flank with Sarr. The Senegal international unleashes a powerful shot at goal, but it's well saved by Alisson.

Kick-off

46' Liverpool get us back underway.

Half-time

First 45 gone here at Anfield, and it's Liverpool with the lead.

Watford have not been without their chances to score, with Doucouré and Sarr especially squandering golden opportunities.

But the ruthlessness of the hosts shone through in the 38th minute, when they broke wit blistering pace and ultimately scored through Salah.

Despite the scoreline, Klopp will want his players to step up their game after the break - they've been some way off their usual performance levels so far.

Pearson, on the other hand, will likely demand more of the same from his squad, with the addition of the clinical touch that has evaded them so far.

Chance

42' The Hornets rue another horrible miss-kick from Sarr. They'll feel they really shouldn't be behind here, but it's been nothing but their own doing.

GOAL - LIVERPOOL - 1-0 - SALAH

38' Profligacy pays its price for the visitors, but this was a mark of just how ruthless Liverpool can be.

The Reds break with pace and see Salah unleashed behind Femenía, who cuts onto his weaker right foot and curls the ball expertly past Foster.

Advantage to the league leaders.

Chance

37' Another golden chance spurned for Watford. Capoue cuts the ball back superbly for his midfield partner Doucouré, but the Frenchman scuffs his shot horribly.

34' Liverpool are way off their usual pace, but it should not be underestimated what a good start this has been from Pearson and his team. Whether or not they can maintain this is another matter entirely, though.

Chance

33' Doucouré bombs down the left flank and tries to cut the ball back for Deeney, but van Dijk clears at the crucial moment.

Chance

23' Watford go down the other end and fashion an opportunity of their own, Hughes dragging a shot wide of the post from 20 yards.

Chance

22' Henderson latches onto a loose ball in the box, but skews his shot high and wide. It's been a frustrating affair so far for the hosts.

12' Liverpool are enjoying lots of possession here, but struggling to make things progress against Watford's low block.

7' Kabasele makes a mistake, falling off balance and nearly allowing Firmino through on goal, but the Belgian recovers in time to win possession back.

Chance

5' What a chance for Watford! Sarr whips in a sumptuous cross for Deeney, but the skipper fails to make contact on the ball.

4' Uneventful so far. Mané and Deulofeu have made threatening runs into either box but both were dealt with well.

Kick-off

1' Watford get proceedings underway.

Kick-off imminent

The teams are lining up in the tunnel and preparing to walk out onto the pitch.

It could be a change of formation from Liverpool, with Salah leading the line, Firmino dropping into attacking midfield and Shaqiri and Mané either side. Whatever the variation, it's sure to strike fear into their visitors.

The other notable change for the hosts sees Milner come in for Robertson on the left side of defence.

Pearson's hands look tied at full-back, with both Mariappa and Femenía playing out of their preferred positions.

Otherwise, it's a strong team selection from the new head coach.

Watford team

Foster; Mariappa, Cathcart, Kabasele, Femenía; Doucouré, Capoue, Hughes; Sarr, Deeney, Deulofeu.

Substitutes: Gomes, Dawson, Foulquier, Chalobah, Quina, Success, Gray.

Liverpool team

Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, van Dijk, Milner; Wijnaldum, Henderson; Salah, Shaqiri, Mané; Firmino.

Substitutes: Adrian, Williams, Robertson, Keïta, Lallana, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Origi.

Stay tuned

That's it for now, but live commentary will resume around one hour before kick-off as we bring you the team news.

Pearson quotes

"Can we stay up? Yes. But we're going to have to have a collective buy-in from everybody associated with us. This strikes me as a club with an identity and maybe we need to redefine that on the pitch, but I'm confident we can do that.

"I'm not going to try to reinvent the wheel. It would be slightly foolish of me to think there's going to be a revolution; first and foremost it's in the mindset of the players."

Klopp quotes

"It's just like it is, we have to play a lot of games. That's the only way we can do it, we have no idea what is in May. We play tomorrow, that is enough.

"Watford have a new manager - we can throw our analysis in the bin!"

Watford team news

Craig Dawson has returned from a head injury, and Roberto Pereyra and Adam Masina will be assessed.

Full-backs Daryl Janmaat and José Holebas remain sidelined, while the list of long-term absentees includes Danny Welbeck, Tom Cleverley and Sebastian Prödl.

Liverpool team news

Dejan Lovren picked up a muscle injury against Red Bull Salzburg on Tuesday and will not feature here.

Neither will Joel Matip, who has been ruled out for the rest of 2019, while Nathaniel Clyne and Fabinho are also unavailable.

Last meeting

The most recent meeting between the two sides came back in February, when the predicaments of both were almost diametrically opposed to how they are now.

In the midst of their push for Europa League qualification, Watford were outclassed at Anfield by the title-chasers, who put their visitors to the sword in a 5-0 victory. A brace apiece for Sadio Mané and Virgil van Dijk and a goal too for Divock Origi made it a night to forget for the Hornets.

Perhaps more scary than their recent record against the Reds (they have lost six of the last seven meetings) is the points haul of either side since that match. That's Liverpool with 74 to Watford's 19.

Watford's form

From one pole to the other. Here is the team that has won the fewest matches in the top flight so far but, under the guidance of new head coach Nigel Pearson, will be hoping to transform their fortunes sooner rather than later.

They played out a goalless draw with Crystal Palace last weekend, the last of two games at the helm for interim boss Hayden Mullins.

Watford currently sit 20th in the Premier League table.

Liverpool's form

Is there a team in world football that comes close to Liverpool at this moment in time? Driven by their narrow defeat in the title race last season, Jürgen Klopp and his players continue to redefine superiority this time around, dropping just two points in 16 games so far.

In their last assignment, the Reds effortlessly triumphed over AFC Bournemouth thanks to goals from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keïta and Mohamed Salah.

Liverpool currently sit 1st in the Premier League table.

Hello and welcome!

Hello and welcome to VAVEL UK's live text commentary of this matchday 17 fixture in the Premier League: Liverpool vs Watford. Stay tuned for a comprehensive preview followed by live updates when the match kicks off at 12:30 GMT.
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