Liverpool ease past Watford 2-0 in Anfield on a sunny Sunday afternoon, with goals from Allen and Firmino either side of half-time wrapping up the points.
Klopp made as many as eight changes to the lineup that featured against Villarreal on Thursday. Coutinho, Moreno and Mignolet were the ones who were retained from that Europa League starting eleven.
It was pretty much a 4-2-3-1 shaped team with Allen and Stewart shepherding the central area, Stewart being the deeper of the two. Coutinho on the left and Ojo on the right. Ibe was playing in that number 10 role in behind Benteke and was in constant movement exchange with Ojo down that far right side.
Let’s take a look at the shape in the tactics board and analyse through few performances of players today and how it was an easy win for the Reds :-
As we see in the image above, Allen was in constant movement in that midfield area, he made few very good runs in the box to add to the attacking threat, eventually scored a goal with one of those runs. The Welshman was little sloppy in the early exchanges but got rid of that sloppiness very quickly with good movements on and off the ball, holding the ball well in the central area and passing it crisply to the fullbacks or wide men. All in all a good compact match-winning performance by Allen, much deserved these plaudits.
Ibe struggled to have much impact in a game where he was expected to deliver more, probably playing little centrally as number 10 never suited him. He tried to drop off a bit deep as game progressed in the first half as he was not getting on the ball much for the first half an hour or so. He exchanged his position with Ojo many times in the second half, or sometimes he was found on the left wing with Coutinho tucking in. Once Firmino came on, he was on the left wing and was little more effective.
Benteke was rather ineffective again in that centre forward role, he played his part in the first goal but overall never had much impact to really worry the Watford defence. His movements were again very subdued, either Liverpool fail to play to his strengths or the Belgian is struggling to find his feet here at Anfield, he was effective in bits and pieces which is not good at such a high-level game. His off the ball movements never cause any threat, he drops deep when he is most needed in the box, he got one or two golden opportunities to score too which he missed, maybe lack of match awareness coming back after long time. Whatever be the case, Benteke looks a forlorn issue for Liverpool right now as far as striking options are concerned, Sturridge and Ings may well be opted for remaining games in absence of Origi.
A comfortable afternoon for Klopp and he was rightly relaxed after the game, clearly his side were better barring few moments, the German should be more happy from the fact that after Europa heroics, his fringe team had a good game time and any injury issue before the big European final will serve for a place for any of these fringe players who have few game time in their bag.
Up next, a tricky game against Chelsea awaits at Anfield for the Reds, Klopp most probably will bring his best eleven for that game as top six finish in the league is still possible if they win the remaining two games.
From Mizgan on 8th May, 2016
Twitter – @mizgans