Masterpiece

2017-05-03

The match Watford - Liverpool was the last (but obviously not the least) game of the 35th round of the Premier League, and the Reds have already known that the competitors had made them a generous gift. The defeat of Arsenal from Tottenham on White Hart Lane was rather predictable, while the draws in the matches between Manchester United and Swansea and, especially, between Manchester City and Middlesbrough were completely unexpected. There was a small problem remaining though - the Reds had to beat Watford. The game had been expected to be tough and so it was actually.

The start of the game was a nightmare for LFC. Already at the 6th minute of the game, Coutinho had a clash with Mariappa, which resulted in an injury of a Brazilian. Philippe spent few more minutes on the pitch, which turned out into a torture to him, which lasted until the 13th minute when he was replaced by Adam Lallana, who has just recovered from injury himself.

The first half itself was rather boring:, the teams created only two significant episodes for the first 45 minutes. Well, we can replace “the teams” by Adam Lallana. At the 23rd minute, he gave a great pass to Can, who has made a decent strike from twenty-five meters; however, the keeper of the Hornets Gomes made a great save. At the 41st minute, Lallana himself sent the ball to the crossbar from the twenty meters. However, there was an injury time as well! At the 47th minute, the fans could enjoy perhaps the most beautiful goal of this season (and probably not only in the Premier League). Leiva made a cross to Can, and Emre, made a phenomenal overhead kick 14 meters away from the net.

The first half of the match ended with this fantastic episode.

If the participants of our Match Hero contest were ‘to choose the best player of Watford instead of Liverpool, it would be very easy choice. The Brazilian goalkeeper of the host team have shown a fantastic performance. At the 49th minute, Gomes denied Milner who has made a dangerous attempt from a free kick couple of inches away from the penalty area. At the 53rd minute, Origi twisted the ball with a gorgeous blow from twenty-five meters into the far corner. The Brazilian saved his team again. Five minutes later, Divock went head to head with Gomes and... lost the battle on all counts.

About twenty-five minutes before the end of the match, “Watford” started seizing the initiative. The first slight chance of the hosts happened at the 69th minute, when Mignolet deflected the ball out for a corner after the strike from Étienne Capoue. Watford has completely switched to attacking mode, thus creating chances both for themselves and LFC. Due to that, the Reds created a very dangerous counterattack at the 77th minute. Lallana got the ball on the penalty area line, only Gomes was in front of him but Adam hesitated and allowed Amrabat to clear the ball away. At the 83rd minute, a dangerous blow from twenty-two meters was made by Janmaat; however, Mignolet was reliable enough.

At the end of the match, the magnificent performance of Heurelho Gomes has found a brilliant ending. At the 89th minute, Matip went head to head with him and hit the ball right to the hands of the Brazilian. Already at the 90th minute, Sturridge, who has just substituted Origi, stole the ball away from the defender, got past two other players, and sent the ball to the far corner. Gomes has just made enough to reach the ball. Watford had only 4 minutes of injury time, to organize the siege of the Liverpool goal and the Hornets perfectly coped with this task. At the 93rd minute, a cross to the penalty area of the Reds found Sebastian Predl, and the defender of the Austrian national team shocked the crossbar of Mignolet’s goal. Fortunately, the match ended almost immediately after this dangerous moment for Liverpool.

After a very successful 35th round, Liverpool has not only secured their place at еру top six (Everton now does not even have a theoretical chance to catch up the neighbors), but also regains the control of their fate: 3 wins in the remaining matches guarantee them a ticket to the Champions League. However, it is too early to rejoice. First of all, we should not write off not only the two "Manchesters", but also the long-suffering Arsenal (yes, LFc is 9 points away but the Londoners have two games at hand). Secondly, it will be extremely difficult to achieve these three victories. For example, "Southampton" comes to Anfield on Sunday . On the one hand, "Liverpool" in the last two home games scored just a point out of six. On the other hand, the Reds have already played three matches with the "Saints", in which they have also scored only one point. Disturbing factors for Liverpool but what can be the best incentive for the Reds than having all the trumps in the hands of an opponent?