Sarr: “I Wanted The Hat-Trick!”
Ismaïla Sarr has such ambition and hunger that he walked off the field after dismantling Liverpool, the world and European champions, disappointed that he didn't claim the matchball.
Sarr showed extraordinary anticipation to nip in front of Andrew Robertson and poke in the first after 54 minutes. He then sped away from Dejan Lovren and Virgil van Dijk before nervelessly clipping one over Alisson Becker six minutes later. He almost brought the house down and capped an electric performance with a third, but curled an 82nd-minute effort just past the far post.
“I'm really, really disappointed because I really wanted the [match] ball today,” he said. “I had a big chance to get the hat-trick. I'll try for the next game to get the points for my team.”
Sarr has impressed all of his teammates with his work ethic, with his ability to get back and do the hard yards. He was at it early on in his first start in more than a month, tracking all the way back to stop Robertson from getting on the end of one near the byline.
“I'm just here to work hard for the team,” said the 22-cap Senegal international. “I did my job and my two goals were because of the team. Today was just job done. For the first, I felt someone was going to cross it so I went to the first post. For the second, I had the experience to wait and chip the keeper.”
The win also gives Sarr the bragging rights over his big mate and fellow countryman Sadio Mané.
“I'm really happy because I won against him,” said Sarr. “We lost away and wanted to win at home. We did it with big character today.”
Head Coach Nigel Pearson was quick to get Sarr, his ace in the pack, back as quickly as possible from a hamstring injury, but he wasn't going to play to the crowd and rush him back for a short-term fix and then risk losing a player with such match-turning qualities for the rest of the run-in.
“He [Sarr] is a good player, a really good player, and young as well,” said Pearson. “I'm reluctant to put too high an expectation on him, when you’ve got young players it’s important for them to enjoy their football, but his impact was very good today. We need to do everything we can to keep him available.”
Troy Deeney loves playing with Sarr as the 22-year-old is an old-fashioned winger who gets behind his man and gets the ball in the box, a dream for a centre-forward like the Watford captain. His pace also forces a defence to retreat, leaving more space for Deeney to operate in the pocket.
“When you've got the pace of Sarr, you are always in with a chance,” the captain told Sky Sports. “When you've got a player like Sarr with his raw pace, it's very difficult to stop him.”