A pre-match rant followed by a post match eulogy.
hat sums up Jurgen Klopp’s afternoon as he used a pre-match interview with BT Sport to vent his annoyance that his side were back in a 12.30pm slot after the international break, as he reopened an old war of words with the UK broadcaster.
The early kick-off ensured the Liverpool duo of Alisson Becker and Fabinho could not get back from international duty with Brazil in time to play, but their absence was not felt amid a thumping 5-0 win for Klopp’s rampant side.
Roberto Firmino struck a hat-trick and Mohamed Salah scored for the eighth consecutive game as Liverpool delivered a masterclass in a 5-0 demolition of Watford on Claudio Ranieri’s Premier League return.
Klopp’s side dominated from the outset to extend their unbeaten league run to 18 games, with Sadio Mane opening the scoring with his 100th Premier League goal.
Firmino doubled Liverpool’s lead just before half-time with a tap-in before adding his second from close range seven minutes after the break, capitalising on a parry from goalkeeper Ben Foster.
Salah provided Liverpool’s fourth with another moment of individual brilliance in the box before curling the ball into the far corner and Firmino completed his treble in added time.
It was also a good afternoon for Ireland keeper Caoimhin Kelleher, who kept a clean sheet as he filled in for Alisson.
The Salah goal was a highlight of the game and Klopp didn’t hold back in his praise of his star man.
“He is phenomenal,” said the Liverpool manager of Salah. “For sure, in this moment he is the best player in the world. He is in top shape, he’s doing pretty good and it’s nice watching him.
“His performance was massive today. The pass for the first goal was great and the second goal was special. He is top. We all see it. Who is better than him? We don’t have to talk about what Messi and Ronaldo have done for world football and their dominance. But right now, he is the best.”
Klopp went on to praise his side’s sparkling performance as Ranieri’s first game as Watford boss ended in a comprehensive defeat.
“It was a top-class performance even without the goal. Naby Keita, James Milner… wow. That’s why we won,” added Klopp.
“We found a way to hurt them, but we lost balls in some moments. They had moments which they could have hurt us. It wasn’t 10 out of 10. I don’t know many nine out of 10 performances there have been in my career.
“It was a very important win, of course, before a important week. We have two massive games – away games, by the way, which aren’t nice but that’s the situation. It helps when you are in good shape. Gaining confidence is absolutely helpful but each game is a different one obviously.”
Salah insisted his latest wonder goal may not be the best of his career, as he suggested his strike against Manchester City two weeks ago may have been better.
“Sometimes I don’t have the luck to score goals but I am always trying 100% to help the team,” said Salah. “I am confident at the moment, helping the team win points which is the most important thing.
“I don’t know if that was my best goal. Maybe the Man City goal was better?
“I was in the box trying to find someone or score myself. It is all about the team. that is the most important thing.”
Salah’s ongoing contract discussions will now be the subject of intense debate once again after his latest wonder show, as Liverpool’s owners would not be forgiven if they allow their maestro to leave.