Again showing promise on the counter-attack, João Pedro came inches away from an equaliser. Hernández was patient on the left wing before unleashing Sarr over the top. Sarr cut across for his Brazilian teammate, but the low effort creeped just wide.
Still very much competing at Anfield, Hodgson turned to his substitutes, bringing on Emmanuel Dennis, Joshua King and Tom Cleverley for João Pedro, Hernández and Imrân Louza.
The Hornets matched the intensity of the hosts and still looked capable of getting a decisive goal, but that was to end when Stuart Atwell awarded Liverpool a penalty following a VAR review; Kucka pulling Jota down inside the box from a corner kick.
Although Foster guessed the right way, Fabinho’s faultless penalty rifled in, condemning the Golden Boys to defeat.
The Hornets will hope to use the positives of defeat on Merseyside and learn from their mistakes against Leeds next weekend, in an important Vicarage Road clash.