A refereeing mistake after two minutes set the pace of the game as Premier League debutant Adam Bogdan had the ball kicked out of his grasp by Nathan Ake.
Replays showed that the Liverpool keeper held the ball before it was bundled into the net by Ake. This unsettled the Liverpool team, who looked very nervous, especially the keeper. Though, for a club of the Reds size, they should be mentally stronger.
Lucas was again off form as he failed to keep the midfield ticking and Liverpool struggled with the physicality of Watford.
Coutinho tried to be busy and then unleashed a long ranger, but with Firmino upfront alone as a false-9, Liverpool failed to create any meaningful chances. To make matters worse (since Dejan Lovren is already injured) and Sakho only just returned, Martin Skrtel went off in the first half with what looked like a hamstring pull. By then Nigerian forward Odion Ighalo took advantage of sloppy play from Liverpool.
Troy Deeney found him, and Ighalo hit it past an oncoming Bogdan to make it 2-0. Skrtel had played on to shake off his injury but just before the break, he had enough and manager Jurgen Klopp brought on Divock Origi in his place in an attempt to force the game early.
Bogdan made a few more mistakes flapping at crosses and corners, which wouldn’t have given his team confidence going forward. Liverpool started the second half better and had a number opportunities this time. Firmino could’ve scored for Liverpool, but the linesman wrongly judged his clear run as off-side. On other occasions Jordan Henderson couldn’t get a proper final pass in to effect a chance. In another opportunity Alberto Moreno was clean through but slipped, while keeper Gomes tipped over a good chance from Henderson.
Then Christian Benteke and Jordon Ibe came on for the last 20 minutes, but despite the improved presence there wasn’t the needed quality to make the difference.
Late on, Ighalo was left unmarked and played onside by Mamadou Sakho and left with a simple header from Valon Behrami’s cross for his 12th Premier League goal. Despite the win, Watford remain seventh, but they are now only a point behind Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United and Crystal Palace above them. Liverpool sit ninth, five points behind the European spots.