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Can’s stunner boosts Reds’ top-four chances – ESPN FC (blog)

Sports 02 May 2017
Can’s stunner boosts Reds’ top-four chances – ESPN FC (blog)
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Emre Can scored from a stunning overhead kick to put Liverpool in front.

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Liverpool Steven Kelly Read By Steven Kelly Share Tweet Emre Can's wonder goal delivers Liverpool crucial win at Watford

Emre Can produced a picture-perfect overhead kick to secure the 1-nil win for Liverpool as their ascent to the top four continues.
Emre Can produced a picture-perfect overhead kick to secure the 1-nil win for Liverpool as their ascent to the top four continues.
ESPN FC's Stewart Robson critiques Arsene Wenger's tactics in Arsenal's 2-0 defeat at Tottenham.

A world-class goal from Emre Can proved the difference between two tired looking sides unbalanced by early injuries. Despite a late scare when Watford struck the bar, the Reds deserved all three points which strengthened their chances of a Champions League place.

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The side recovered well from the early loss of main threat Philippe Coutinho and it was good to see Adam Lallana back. The players looked to be running on empty after an hour but diligently stuck to the task. Ultimately, the win — and the goal — is all anyone will remember.


The injury to Coutinho could still prove costly and clearly Lallana was only supposed to play 20 minutes at the most. A decisive second goal simply wouldn't come and Liverpool almost paid a heavy price.

Manager rating out of 10

6 — One or two half-time words from Jurgen Klopp must have galvanised a few under-par performers and Watford's limited attacking threat was dealt with a whole lot better than in the Reds' previous match.

Player ratings: (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Simon Mignolet, 7 — Practically a spectator in the first half but had a good second, comfortably catch every cross. He made a meal of one late shot but overall was cool, calm, and confident which spread through the back four.

DF Nathaniel Clyne, 7 — A typical performance, solid in his defensive duties but lacking pace and a cutting edge when venturing forward.

DF Joel Matip, 7 — Another quality display from the Reds' best defender this season, he moved elegantly forward whenever possible and could even have sealed the match with a late burst forward.

DF Dejan Lovren, 8 — Knew his performance would be eagerly scrutinised after landing a controversial new contract, and he didn't let anyone down. Any threat from Troy Deeney was nullified, albeit the Watford captain received little support from teammates. Lovren kept it simple whenever possible, with few reckless dalliances on the ball that have caused him numerous difficulties in the past. A strong showing.

DF James Milner, 7 — Closed down in the first half and therefore made little impression in attack. Got more chances to move forward in the second half, and did his job defensively as Watford started to take more risks. Always an outlet as Liverpool played out time and showed his experience helping to run down the clock.

MF Emre Can, 8 — Man of the match, even if all he'd done was score an absolute peach of a goal, but he also put in a real shift in attack and defence. Always available to his colleagues on a night Liverpool had to rely on endeavour rather than quality.

Emre Can scored from a stunning overhead kick to put Liverpool in front.
In a game that lacked a ton of excitement or chances, Emre Can's moment of brilliance was the difference for Liverpool.

MF Georginio Wijnaldum, 6 — Odd, scrappy performance where he lost possession too often for his manager's liking. Lots of industry which is to be expected, he failed to match it with any real class on a testing night where points admittedly mattered more than artistic impression.

MF Lucas Leiva, 7 — Simple passing with ugly but necessary protection of a back four that can sometimes look jittery. Got a yellow card for a ridiculous attempt to win a penalty but remained focused and disciplined. The pass for Can will be overshadowed by the goal itself but it was an excellent one.

FW Philippe Coutinho, NR — Injured before he could have an impact on the game. He limped around for five minutes before realising he could not continue.

FW Roberto Firmino, 6 — Often limp and unseen in the first half, he was better in the second without ever really reaching the level he's capable of. Doesn't really seem to link well with Divock Origi, and that's something the manager has to resolve.

FW Divock Origi, 6 — Must have had a talking to at half-time because he was much improved after the break. In a tight game such as this the striker has to work hard and hold the ball until others arrive. He only did that in the second half, also having a couple of shots which tested Heurelho Gomes.


MF Adam Lallana, 7 — Welcome return for one of the manager's favourites, although even Klopp might not have wanted to see him on the pitch so soon. Put in some admirable work considering, and almost scored with a superb left foot shot that crashed off the bar. Understandably looked worn out as the game went on.

FW Daniel Sturridge, NR — Almost provided the one bit of magic that could have sealed the game, but Gomes foiled him with an excellent stop.

DF Ragnar Klavan, NR — Brought on to replace the exhausted Lallana, he helped keep the Reds in front. Just.

Steven Kelly is one of ESPN FC's Liverpool bloggers. Follow him on Twitter @SteKelly198586.


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  • Liverpool
  • English Premier League
  • Emre Can
  • Dejan Lovren
  • Adam Lallana
  • Joël Matip

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