Claudio Ranieri’s reign as Watford head coach could not have started worse. The Hornets suffered a 5-0 (3.55-0.19 xG) defeat to Liverpool, with the Vicarage Road crowd’s only moment of applause after the opening whistle blew coming in the form of sarcastic cheers when Juraj Kucka hit a long-range shot into Kelleher’s arms. There were very few positives from the game for the Watford faithful, with the focus now turning to whether Ranieri will adapt to put in a much-improved performance against Everton next week.
Ben Foster: made a couple of smart stops, but was beaten five times, with questionable positioning on multiple occasions. Will be sweating knowing that Daniel Bachmann, now back from international duty, has the opportunity to win over Ranieri in training.
Kiko Femenia: like most Watford players, his was a performance to forget. Four completed passes out of nine attempted is all that needs to be said.
Craig Cathcart: will want to erase the match from his memory as quickly as possible. He was beyond embarrassed by Mohamed Salah on Liverpool’s fourth goal, defended poorly, and forced a rebound off of Foster for the visitor’s third. An abysmal overall performance.
William Troost-Ekong: was Watford’s best defender (which does not say much at all considering the scoreline) and the only one in the back three to win an aerial duel.
Danny Rose: was put in an extremely unfortunate left-center-back role against one of the best players in the world and looked well out of place trying to defend Salah. However, he was not given much help.
Adam Masina: an alarmingly poor performance from left-wing-back, it was not a shock when he was subbed off at halftime. Gave Rose zero support in defending Salah while consistently being caught out of position. Terrible performance.
Juraj Kucka: quiet appearance. Still has not come close to replicating his memorable debut performance against Aston Villa.
Moussa Sissoko: what a performance from Watford’s captain for the match. The former Tottenham player’s stellar showing was one of the few silver linings for the Hornets. Defended robustly, tried to create, and commendably transitioned phases of play (winning four dribbles in the process, three more than any other Watford player).
Emmanuel Dennis: uncharacteristically sloppy performance by the 23-year-old. Unable to combine with Ismaila Sarr on a couple of counterattacks in the early stages of the match.
Ismaila Sarr: not put in a position to succeed, as he was in a less-natural sole central-forward position. Did not get the service he needed. Almost scored a consolation goal, but Kelleher made a smart stop.
Cucho Hernandez: alarmingly frustrating performance for the versatile forward. Completed zero dribbles and looked for the back of the net on a couple of occasions where crosses were more advisable. Like Kucka, he has been unable to replicate what he showed in the opening-day victory.
Jeremy Ngakia: stuck in a strong claim for why he should be Watford’s starting right-back. Put in firm challenges, played smart passes, nullified Liverpool’s left side, and, well, he completed over double the number of passes in roughly half the time as the player for whom he was subbed on.
Joao Pedro: looked lively in his few cameos on the ball. Fans will be hoping to see more of him imminently.
Tom Cleverley: the half-time replacement for Masina was used to change tactics, though his presence was largely unimpactful.