Heurelho Gomes 6
Unlucky to concede the Firmino goal, as he rushed out and made himself big. only to see the ball deflect off him and trickle into the net. Those have stuck in recent months. Denied Christian Benteke from scoring a third at the death, a goal that would have been harsh. Took one first-half goal-kick that went the length of the field and bounced out for a Liverpool goal-kick.
Craig Cathcart 6
A fish out of water in what must be his first ever Premier League appearance at right-back. Benteke snuck in between him and Sebastian Prodl to nod the ball down for Joe Allen to score. Horribly overhit a pass down the inside right channel in the second period, probably because he’s not used to trying to set the man in front of him haring down the wing. One piece of excellent defending when one-v-one with Jordan Ibe in a threatening position.
Sebastian Prodl 7
One of the few bound for the Euros that Quique Sanchez Flores is sticking to his promise of giving game time to. Twice blocked efforts from Philippe Coutinho and mixed it well with Benteke, wrestling him to the floor in the first half and then cynically or cleverly holding him down, depending on your viewpoint. Allowed Benteke to pull off his shoulder for the opener, just like he did with Glenn Murray at the Vitality stadium.
Miguel Britos 5
Looks sluggish and the end of the season can’t come soon enough for him. Played one hospital pass to Ikechi Anya, which the mild-mannered Scot berated him for, and it was the Uruguayan that Allen ran off the back of to score the opener. Should also have done more to close down Firmino for the second. Timing of everything he did was summed up by a second-half challenge on halfway line on Benteke that he was favourite for but was so late that he ended up with him kicking the Belgian in the midriff and was booked.
Ikechi Anya 6
Picked at left-back but played like a winger in the first 45. He got to the byline on at least three occasions and was Watford’s chief attacking threat in the first period, just like he was at Everton on the opening day. The way he nipped in and intercepted a pass from Kevin Stewart to Allen showed just how on his mettle he was. Curbed his attacking raids in the second half and spoilt a solid afternoon’s work by playing the ball into traffic when he should have played the percentages and gone down the line, allowing Firmino to embark on the run for the game-clinching second.
Ben Watson 6
Curious first-half, let alone game. Twice blocked a Benteke free-kick the Belgian had two bites of the cherry at while, at the other end, had two goes at a loose ball himself. The first was a horrible mis-cue that prompted jeers from the home crowd, the second he caught sweetly and appeared to strike the hand of Skrtel. Watford were never going to get that at the Kop End. Seemed to concede a number of cheap fouls.
Mario Suarez 4
Lovely guy, fantastic pedigree but he was dreadful here. He was off the pace and a player of his quality should really not be stumbling over the ball, as he did embarrassingly in the second half. He was lucky he did not sprain his ankle in the process. It was a moment that encapsulated life so far in a Watford shirt for him. The younger, more mobile Kevin Stewart was too hot for him, not least when Suarez tripped him on the edge of the box in the first half.
Almen Abdi 7.5
The first half was as well as he has played in an attacking sense in a season where he has been asked to do his fair share of donkey work. So keen to bomb on that he was the furthest forward on at least two occasions as the team charged towards goal on the counterattack. Cracked one rising effort over the bar, harried Moreno into conceding a corner, had a goalbound shot blocked by Martin Skrtel and almost planted a cross on the head of Jose Manuel Jurado. Faded in the second half but really was excellent in the first. His best two performances have come against Liverpool, the team managed by Jurgen Klopp who used to coach Abdi’s beloved Dortmund.
Jose Manuel Jurado 6
Several high-class first-half touches, one to launch a length-of-the-field counterattack, another to put Ighalo within shooting distance and a third in the Watford move of the match involving Deeney and Ighalo. Failed to sustain it and it was difficult to look past the horrible, casual pass he played across the midfield of the pitch looking for Cathcart. It was telegraphed by Coutinho and it needed a handy block from Prodl to prevent a second.
Troy Deeney 6
Wretched first half where nothing went right for him. Spent most of the first 45 minutes moaning, whether it was at Almen Abdi over a corner, Cathcart because of a throw in or at the referee for a perceived foul on him by Martin Skrtel. Better in the second half, dovetailing beautifully with Odion Ighalo for Watford’s chance of the match and winning more in the air. Had to be placated by Sanchez Flores at full-time.
Odion Ighalo 7
It’s no league goals in 12 and only one goal in 15 in all competitions but this was probably his best overall performance since Old Trafford. A threat in behind and with the ball to his feet, he probably couldn’t believe his luck when Simon Mignolet denied him from scoring a goal that would have done wonders for his confidence and that of the team, with the score at 1-0. Was shades of Old Trafford later on when he opted to shoot instead of play in Steven Berghuis or Deeney, but this act of selfishness wasn’t as blatant as the one in Manchester.
Adlene Guedioura 6
Surprisingly introduced as the first of the substitutes but Quique Sanchez Flores felt he had no option with Suarez struggling so badly. The first time he has been trusted centrally since the cup game at Forest. Did ok.
Steven Berghuis 7
Lively. Overhit a corner and a cross but was bright, inventive and even got stuck in, earning a booking for a foul on Ibe. Slick work down the right led to a very presentable chance for Ighalo. Should have started, but then we all said that before the game. Was never going to.
Nordin Amrabat 7
Effervescent, vibrant and a pain in the backside. Floored Sheyi Ojo not long after coming on for Abdi in his first appearance at Anfield since a 3-1 defeat there for PSV in 2008. Again, should have started.
Quique Sanchez Flores 6
Boldly and strangely opted to field his third choice right-back and left-back here and leave the two game changers against Aston Villa on the bench for nearly an hour. We get he doesn’t want to expose Watford too early on in a game but these games are free swings. He should have started Berghuis or Amrabat or both.