Goals from Sadio Mané, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah resulted in defeat for Watford in Claudio Ranieri’s first game as Head Coach.
Mané netted an early opener after a strong start, with teammate Firmino scoring a second on 36 minutes. In the second half, quickfire goals from Firmino and Salah made the score 4-0, and despite efforts from Cucho Hernández and Ismaïla Sarr, the Hornets couldn’t get their goal. Firmino completed his hat-trick in added time, making it 5-0.
The visitors made their early spell of dominance count with fewer than eight minutes on the clock. Salah played an impressive outside-footed pass through to Mané, who slotted into the corner with his first touch.
Salah, in an attempt to continue his goalscoring form, aimed to curl a wicked shot into the top corner, but Ben Foster leapt to save in style.
Watford were perhaps unlucky not to equalise on 25 minutes. Sarr, making a direct run up the field, fed a ball through to Hernández but the Colombian couldn’t get his shot off from close range, with Joël Matip making a last-minute tackle.
The Hornets were made to rue the chance 10 minutes later. Mané and James Milner linked up on the left flank, the Englishman finding space to drive a pass across goal. Ultimately, Firmino had little to do, and tapped in to double the Reds’ lead.
João Pedro looked lively in attack off the bench, and prompted cheers from supporters for his skill and energy. Hernández brought fans off their seats too when he went close to finding the target, but the forward couldn’t quite convert following a great run by Sissoko to provide for his teammate.