Mohamed Salah lays siege against Watford with impressive performance
Liverpool destroyed a desultory, uninterested Watford 5-0 and strengthened their bid for a top four spot in the Premier League.
The Reds can often allow negative opposition to flummox them, especially at home, but there was little danger of that happening Saturday. They wanted more goals and goal difference may ultimately be crucial in the race for second.
For too long a period between the first and second goals, Liverpool switched off. The opposition may not have been able to take advantage this time but full focus in every match for every minute is required until the season ends.
Manager rating out of 10
8 -- The frightening power up front is testament to Jurgen Klopp's philosophy. He made the right changes after the setback at Manchester United and ensured his side's reaction to adversity was swift and brutal.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Loris Karius, 7 -- Another evening kickoff where he did well to stay alert on a bitterly cold night in which he had virtually nothing to do. Caught and distributed the ball well on the rare occasion he was called upon to do so.
DF Joe Gomez, 8 -- Recalled and had a really fine game. He may lack a little going forward, but he is completely solid in defence and even began making good runs and crosses in the second half.
DF Joel Matip, 7 -- Another player brought back into the side who was efficient and alert. His heading, far from being his standout quality normally, was excellent throughout, and whatever danger Watford created was snuffed out instantly.
DF Virgil van Dijk, 7 -- Barely called upon to do much of anything, his calm authority is now starting to be taken for granted.
DF Andrew Robertson, 8 -- The obligatory all-action display from the Scot. Superb cross for the second goal and kept the pressure on throughout, even when the game was already well won.
MF Jordan Henderson, 7 -- Efficient enough performance from the captain, but the Reds' lull in the first half seemed to coincide with his own shoddy passing and lack of focus. Improved later on and kept pushing his team forward and seemed extra eager to clinch a clean sheet.
MF Emre Can, 4 -- Began as half-hearted as ever but in this instance fitness may have been a factor as he barely lasted 20 minutes.
MF Georginio Wijnaldum, 7 -- Lots of energy and determination from the Dutchman. He seems to have been sidelined of late and this was a good way of letting the manager know he's still around.
FW Sadio Mane, 7 -- Something still isn't quite right and a lot of his touches were off. What's probably keeping him in the side is that the front three works well as a unit and the Senegalese never lets his head drop. His determination to try and get out of his slump is the mark of a great team player.
FW Mohamed Salah, 10 -- In a season packed with great performances, the "Egyptian King" surpassed himself with four goals and an assist. Even during the Reds' first-half lull he was still a real handful and rose way above everyone else on the pitch. Perhaps should have been substituted but who wouldn't want to keep playing when things are going your way?
FW Roberto Firmino, 7 -- Not a great first half but came alive after he scored and was his usual busy self. Won the ball back countless times and always makes an opponent feel he has no time to dawdle.
MF James Milner, 7 -- Brought on early to replace Can and initially got sucked into the apathy around him. Did far better in the second half and kept the midfield engine running.
MF Alex Oxlade Chamberlain, NR -- Replaced a tiring Wijnaldum with the game long since over. Almost scored with a stinging long-range effort, but generally just did his work without being too flashy.
FW Danny Ings, NR -- With the crowd urging him to grab a goal, he was unlucky when a good effort was well-saved. At least that led to Salah's fourth goal and he looked hungry for the little time he was on.
Steven Kelly is one of ESPN FC's Liverpool bloggers. Follow him on Twitter @SteKelly198586.