Liverpool top of the table as they send warning to rivals
With only the league to focus on, Liverpool look in ominous form - but Klopp calls for caution at Anfield
Liverpool 6 Watford 1
Liverpool hit the Hornets for six at Anfield on Sunday to go top of the table for the first time under Jurgen Klopp.
With Arsenal held to a dull 1-1 draw at home to Tottenham earlier in the day, and Manchester City sharing the spoils against Middlesbrough on Saturday, Liverpool hosted Watford knowing that a win would take them top.
But few envisaged the sort of hammering they meted out to Watford, who were sixth in the table going into the game. It was their heaviest defeat in the Premier League since they lost 5-0 to Wimbledon in 1999 and the six goals that they shipped were more than they had conceded in their past six league matches combined.
"You can lose at the home of Liverpool but we should not have lost like that," reflected a shellshocked Watford manager Walter Mazzarri. "It has been a lesson for the future. This game has taught me many things."
It has also probably taught Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester City a few things about fixture congestion. Those three clubs all had tough Champions League fixtures to contend with last week. Not so Liverpool and Chelsea - who lie in second after routing Everton 5-0 - who can focus solely on the Premier League.
That could prove decisive in the weeks and months ahead as the complications of playing on two fronts takes it toll on those clubs still in Europe.
The Kop had to wait 27 minutes for the first goal, enduring a succession of wasted opportunities, before Sadio Mane's acrobatic header put them one up. Philippe Coutinho doubled their advantage three minutes later with a fine strike from 20 yards and Emre Can headed home two minutes before half-time to make the result a formality.
The fun continued after the break as Adam Lallana teed up Roberto Firmino for number four before the Brazilian assisted Mane in making it 5-0 on the hour mark. Daryl Janmaat scored a consolation for the visitors on 75 minutes but the last word went to Georginio Wijnaldum who scored his first goal for the club in stoppage time.
It was inevitable that the questions in the post-match press conference would be about Liverpool's league position but Klopp did his best to dampen the excitement of the assembled media. "I'm really not interested [in talking about winning the league]," he said. "For me it's more important that we look like a team who is able to win football games. On a good day, we are really difficult to play and that's the most important thing we can say. It's not important in this moment where we can end."
Nonetheless Klopp is aware that the last time Liverpool won the title was in 1990, and that in May 2014 they went perilously close before blowing up in the home straight. "I know in the past a lot of things happened here and the story two, three years ago when it was really close and everybody compares," he said. "But this is not the team two, three years ago, this is not the team 25 years ago, we're completely new... there is nothing to celebrate in the moment - this is our responsibility to play well."