Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp savoured a stunning strike from midfielder Emre Can after his side tightened their grip on Champions League qualification with a vital victory over Watford.
Can scored a majestic overhead kick to settle matters and ensure third-placed Liverpool took full advantage of rivals Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal all dropping points over the weekend.
The Reds, who have just three Premier League games remaining, are now three points clear of City and four ahead of United, while Arsenal trail Klopp’s outfit by nine. Watford stayed 13th, eight points clear of the drop zone.
“It feels really good. We played football and tried to create moments – the goal we scored was spectacular,” said Klopp.
“We should really feel the three points in this moment, like how we felt the defeat last week [to Crystal Palace]. We have five or six days to prepare for Southampton [on Sunday] and that’s a real challenge.
“It’s not about what you can lose, it’s only about what you can win. There are a few points for us to get [to finish in the top four] and we will try everything to get as many as we can.”
Watford were bidding for a fourth successive league victory at Vicarage Road for the first time since December 1986 but were abject in a first half which was initially dominated by injuries to Philippe Coutinho and Miguel Britos.
Coutinho’s replacement Adam Lallana struck the crossbar before Can enlivened proceedings in first-half stoppage time. The 23-year-old met Lucas’s chipped pass with an exquisite bicycle kick.
Liverpool were denied a second late on when Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes thwarted Daniel Sturridge, while a last-gasp volley from Watford’s Sebastian Prodl crashed against the visitors’ crossbar.