If there is any chance of a Liverpool mistake this weekend against Watford, Mohamed Salah will surely put an end to it.
The Premier League is back and the Reds will welcome former manager Roy Hodgson back to Anfield when Saturday kicks off at noon – LIVE and EXCLUSIVE on talkSPORT – where all eyes will be on Salah’s ability to continue his hot streak against the Hornets.
Liverpool have won all but one of their last 16 games in all competitions and are riding a wave of momentum as they chase Manchester City – who sit just a point clear at the top of the table.
A clash against 18th-placed Watford should present a straightforward task, although Liverpool have had a poor recent history against the Hertfordshire side.
A 2020 collapse at Vicarage Road saw Watford beat the eventual champions 3-0, ending their hopes of an unbeaten season and dampening the excitement at Anfield in the last league game before the COVID pandemic -19 does not hit.
Salah’s debut game against the London side was also disappointing. He scored his first-ever goal in a Liverpool shirt, but his side lost points in a 3-3 draw.
Salah got his revenge in the reverse game that same season, hammering in four goals and registering an assist in a 5-0 destruction at Anfield.
And the Egyptian king will be looking to ensure Liverpool emerge from this final encounter with all three points, as well as follow up their superb goal against the visitors.
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Salah has managed nine goals in eight games against Watford, the highest tally of any team he has faced in his career, tied with West Ham.
He also had two assists, making it a goal contribution every 57 minutes against the Hornets – a pace that will surely keep Hodgson awake at night.
And it’s not just the volume of goals, it’s also the quality, with Salah ensuring his YouTube highlight reels include plenty of entertainment against the team in yellow and black.
Salah’s first goal at Liverpool, and first against Watford, was a simple tap-in from a Roberto Firmino dink, but his second game saw him rip their defense to pieces.
In a stunning four-goal display, Salah left five defenders combined with motion sickness with two superb efforts, and guided in another pair of goals in a fine display.
The next step was a simple tap-in in a 3-0 away win, then in 2019 he again took control of the proceedings.
A wonderful curling finish was followed by a brilliantly intuitive backheel, but Salah still saved the best for last.
His last goal against Watford in October was not just his best against the Hornets but one of the best of his career as he sat across the opposition back line before sending a unstoppable effort at a tight angle past Ben Foster.
In the previous game against Man City, Salah scored an equally unstoppable effort but this one took him to a whole new level.
“He’s great, we all see that – who’s better than him? Klopp asked after that game and Salah’s stunning strike.
“We don’t have to talk about what [Lionel] Messi and [Cristiano] Ronaldo did for world football and its dominance. But right now he [Salah] is the best.
“I see him every day. There are people like [Robert] Lewandowski and Ronaldo and Messi and [Kylian] Mbappe, but right now he’s sure he’s top of the list.
Klopp wasn’t the only one to name Salah the best player in the world, and there could be even more calls if he follows up his incredible tally against Watford.
Liverpool, however, will have to be careful, with Watford still waiting to punish a sub-par performance from the Reds at the most opportune time – something Klopp is well aware of.
“They are so good – good here, good there,” Klopp said ahead of Saturday’s clash.
“They don’t have a lot of points, but that’s because of the quality of the league. The individual talent in the group is very good and that’s what we have to be aware of.
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