Liverpool crush Watford
Liverpool moved to the top of the Premier League on Saturday, thumping Watford 5-0 in Claudio Ranieri’s first match in charge of the Hornets.
Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino’s hat trick and a stunning goal from Mohamed Salah ensured a fine afternoon for Jurgen Klopp’s men, who wrecked Ranieri’s big day after he took over from Xisco Munoz.
Asked whether he’s in the best form of his career right now, Salah told BT Sport, “I don’t know. Sometimes I don’t have the luck to score goals but I am always trying 100% to help the team. I am confident at the moment, helping the team win points which is the most important thing.”
— Premier League (@premierleague) October 16, 2021
Klopp, who took over as Liverpool manager six years ago this weekend, made four changes from the 2-2 draw against Manchester City last time out, with Alisson and Fabinho among those missing after they played for Brazil early on Friday morning. Caoimhin Kelleher started in goal for the visitors but had very little to do as Klopp’s side continued their strong start to the campaign with a commanding win.
Klopp was full of praise for Salah afterwards and said, “His performance was massive today. The pass for the first goal was great and the second goal was special. He is top. We all see it. Who is better than him? We don’t have to talk about what Messi and Ronaldo have done for world football and their dominance. But right now, he is the best.”
Liverpool looked in control from the first whistle and it was no surprise to see Mane finish off a superb move in the eighth minute, finding the net with a first-time strike after an outstanding pass from Salah. The goal marked Mane’s sixth of the season and 100th in the Premier League.
Take just 59 seconds out of your day to appreciate the brilliance of Mohamed Salah 🤩pic.twitter.com/1j4YWAB3Ef
— Salah Central™ (@SalahCentral) October 16, 2021
Klopp’s side are unbeaten in 18 league games and never looked remotely likely to surrender that record at Vicarage Road, with Salah forcing Ben Foster into a flying save soon after Mane’s opener before the Watford keeper came out quickly to deny him again.
Ranieri made three changes to the Watford side that lost against Leeds in what turned out to be his predecessor’s final match in charge but the Italian cut a frustrated figure at times with his new side very much second best. Indeed, after 20 minutes, Ranieri’s men had only completed 19 passes to Liverpool’s 206.
James Milner then found Firmino inside the area following another flowing team move and he made no mistake with the easiest of finishes from close range to double Liverpool’s lead on 37 minutes.
With no shots on goal and 17% possession in a frankly dreadful first half, Watford were lucky to go in at the break 2-0 down. It got worse six minutes after the restart when Firmino scored another tap-in after Foster spilt the ball in the area.
Salah then slalomed through a mix of desperate Watford defenders and curled in a fine fourth with a goal of the season contender, and Firmino tapped in the fifth inside the six-yard box in stoppage time.
The Foxes shock Red Devils
Manchester United’s unbeaten run away from home in the Premier League was brought to an end after they slumped to a 4-2 defeat at Leicester City on Saturday.
Youri Tielemans, Caglar Soyuncu, Jamie Vardy and Patson Daka scored for Leicester as United’s record-breaking streak stopped after 29 matches.
Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford grabbed the goals for the visitors but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side failed to win in the league for the third consecutive game.
The result sees United fall out of the top four and four points behind leaders Liverpool.
“We deserved to lose,” United midfielder Paul Pogba told the BBC.
Three points = 𝘀𝗲𝗮𝗹𝗲𝗱 ✅
— Leicester City (@LCFC) October 16, 2021
“To be honest, we have been having these kind of games for a long time.”
“We have not found the problem, conceding easy goals, stupid goals. We need to be more mature, play with more experience and arrogance in a good way. We need to find something, we need to change.”
“We need to find the right mentality and the right tactic. Stick with it and resolve the problem.”
Leicester went close to opening the scoring after five minutes but Harry Maguire cleared off the line to prevent Vardy from scoring into an empty net.
The hosts dominated the early stages but United took the lead after 19 minutes when Greenwood exchanged passes with Bruno Fernandes and fired a stunning strike into the top corner.
That finish. That passion. 🔥
Love it, Youri 👏 pic.twitter.com/U97rDirzSu
— Leicester City (@LCFC) October 17, 2021
Leicester grabbed a deserved equaliser after the half-hour mark as Kelechi Iheanacho capitalized on Maguire’s error and set up Tielemans who produced a fantastic curling effort past David de Gea.
The game came to life with 12 minutes remaining when Soyuncu fired home from close range from a corner to put Leicester in the lead.
Four minutes later, substitute Rashford made it 2-2 when he latched onto Victor Lindelof’s pass.
However, Leicester went back ahead seconds later after Vardy pounced onto Ayoze Perez’s ball.
Daka sealed the win for Leicester in stoppage time with a header at the back post to increase pressure on Solskjaer.
“It was massively important,” Vardy told the BBC. “The most important thing was the performance because we had let our standards slip. We had the international break to reflect on things.”
Manchester City made to work by Burnley
Manchester City were made to work for it but overcame Burnley 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
Bernardo Silva struck after 12 minutes to set City on their way to a win over a Burnley side that remain without a Premier League victory this season. Kevin De Bruyne added another in the second half to make the game safe.
Raheem Sterling made a rare start in a week where he said he could look to move away from the club in search of regular playing time, but failed to find the target as Pep Guardiola’s men laboured their way to three points.
“After the international break it’s always a little bit difficult to come to a rhythm and I know how good Burnley are. They did really well, they have good players,” City boss Guardiola said.
“We did well in the second half and played really well and could’ve scored more goals. Good result, after the international break we take the victory and look what’s next.”
— Manchester City (@ManCity) October 16, 2021
Burnley’s last three trips to City resulted in 5-0 defeats ahead of Saturday’s match and they had a familiar sinking feeling early on when they fell behind. Silva was involved in the build-up as he linked up with Joao Cancelo and after Burnley keeper Nick Pope could only spill Phil Foden’s shot, Silva thumped in from a yard out.
City were dominant in the early stages but were indebted to United States international Zack Steffen midway through the first half when he raced out to block Maxwel Cornet when he was through on goal. Burnley got even closer 10 minutes before the break when Josh Brownhill dragged an effort inches wide of Steffen’s post when he really should have done better.
With 20 minutes remaining, De Bruyne ensured City of the points with an emphatic strike to put the result beyond doubt.
“We get nothing from the game but I was actually pleased with the performance against a top side,” Burnley boss Sean Dyche said.
“They created chances, not as many as in the past but I was pleased we were creating quality chances and that’s the challenge we’ve had all season – taking our chances.”
Eduoard Mendy saves the day for Chelsea
Chelsea returned to the top of the Premier League after a nervy 1-0 victory at Brentford on Saturday.
Ben Chilwell’s stunning first half strike turned out to be the winning goal as Thomas Tuchel’s team survived a late rally from the newly-promoted side.
Chelsea needed Edouard Mendy to produce a number of important saves in the second half to come away with the three points.
Eduoard Mendy slips. Gerard Moreno hits the post. Mendy saves. 😅 pic.twitter.com/TkPorx1uWN
— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) August 11, 2021
Chelsea are now a point ahead of second-placed Liverpool while Brentford stay in seventh position.
“We were very strong for 70 minutes and very lucky for 20 minutes, to sum it up. We escaped with the three points thanks to Edouard,” Tuchel told BBC.
“It was like a cup game at the end; they took risks and the atmosphere gave them a lot of courage.”
After a slow start, the game came to life after 23 minutes when Brentford came close to taking the lead but Bryan Mbeumo’s close-range strike hit the post.
Following the chance, Chelsea went up the other end and Romelu Lukaku put the ball in the back of the net but it was ruled out for offside.
Timo Werner should have opened the scoring after 37 minutes but fired his shot over the bar from inside the box.
The visitors did take the lead on the stroke of halftime when the ball bounced to Chilwell who struck a stunning half volley into the top corner.
6 clean sheets in a row, and 6 out of 7 clean sheets kept overall.
Thank you, Eduoard Mendy. 🙌🏻💙 pic.twitter.com/UyAE2Gu01i
— FutbolChelsea ⭐⭐ (@FutbolCheIsea) November 4, 2020
After the break, Brentford enjoyed the better chances with Ivan Toney forcing a good save from goalkeeper Mendy while Mbeumo struck the post for the second time.
In the final 10 minutes of the game, Mendy produced two fine stops to deny Saman Ghoddos and Pontus Jansson.
Mendy pulled off another stunning fingertip save from Christian Norgaard’s volley in stoppage time as Chelsea claimed a vital victory.
“It is difficult to believe we dominated Chelsea, particularly in the last 30 minutes, and they are very lucky,” Brentford coach Thomas Frank told BBC.
“That is crazy. Four months ago, they won the Champions League and we got promoted through the play-offs. They dominated without creating anything in the first hour, and after we made changes we created chances.”
“We kept them to five shots, five shots, I’m talking about Chelsea. That is impressive. I can’t ask for more; if we play this game 10 times, we win nine.”