A disastrous start to the 2017/18 season saw Liverpool stumble to a 3-3 draw away to Watford with a performance that’s sure to infuriate supporters around the world and leave manager Jurgen Klopp scratching his head.
After an abysmal opening 45 minutes at Vicarage Road, in which Watford twice took the lead either side of a Sadio Mane goal, Liverpool vastly improved in the second half and lead right up until the 94th minute through a Roberto Firmino penalty and debut Mohamed Salah tap-in, until Miguel Britos bundled the ball past Simon Mignolet to earn a point for the Hornets.
Here’s how I rated the Reds on their opening day:
Simon Mignolet – 3
Mignolet had a solid run of good performances since coming back into the starting XI last season and I expected the same today. However, despite gathering the ball well on several occasions and providing decent distribution, he shipped 3 goals and was at least partly to blame for Watford’s late equaliser. Karius could start against Hoffenheim.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 5
No-one was particularly good in the first half, including TAA. However, he vastly improved in the second 45 with good delivery, wing play and positioning. Was subbed off before Watford’s third went in.
Joel Matip – 4
Unsteady and nervous throughout the game, Matip never looked right today. I saw him play alongside Lovren in Dublin last weekend and he was exactly the same. Hit the bar from a corner, but otherwise was very poor.
Dejan Lovren – 3
A terrible performance all round from Lovren, who seems to have gone backwards in recent months after having initially improved under Klopp. Forced a save from Gomez, but that was the only real positive from him today.
Alberto Moreno – 5
One of Moreno’s better games in a Liverpool shirt. The young Spaniard got forward well and linked up superbly at times with his attacking teammates. Always suspect at the back, but generally improved today.
Jordan Henderson – 4
Not the Skipper’s brightest day on the pitch. His long-range passing was good and he contributed defensively, but he looked well below par overall.
Emre Can – 6
Can was probably the best Liverpool player on the pitch today. He didn’t score an outrageous bicycle kick this time round, but his general play was very good. A performance to build on in the games to come.
Gini Wijnaldum – 3
Forgot Gini was on the pitch at times today (which happens sometimes). Had a couple of bright moments, but put in an otherwise negligible performance and was at fault for Watford’s late equaliser.
Mohamed Salah – 6
Commentators and folks on social media were lauding Salah’s debut performance as incredible, but I thought he should have done better with the chances that came his way. He did, however, win Liverpool’s penalty and scored what should have been the winner, showing great tenacity on both occasions. Much more to come from him this season.
Sadio Mane – 5
Mane was by far Liverpool’s best player in the first half and scored a superb curling effort past Gomez, but he was much less effective after the break. Needs more game time to hit peak condition.
Roberto Firmino – 5
Bobby Firmino had a quiet game by his standards. Scored a well-taken penalty and created Salah’s goal shortly afterwards, but looked a bit off the pace throughout. Perhaps had his compatriot Coutinho’s potential exit on his mind.
Divock Origi (sub) – 3
Came on for Firmino to shore things up, which he normally does very well. However, he was lacklustre and had little impact. Needs to improve.
James Milner (sub) – 3
Had negligible impact after coming on for Salah, despite playing in a wide attacking role.
Joe Gomez (sub) – 3
Did little after coming on other than give away a free kick late on. A strange substitution from Klopp.
Do you agree with my assessment, Reds?