Britos late show denies Liverpool winning start
Britos late show denies Liverpool winning start
Klopp had spent the previous 24 hours handling the fall-out from Philippe Countinho’s transfer request after the club rejected Barcelona’s £90 million ($117.1 million) bid for the Brazil playmaker.
Liverpool remain adamant Coutinho will not leave and it looked like Klopp might find relief from the saga when debutant Mohamed Salah gave the visitors the lead after they had twice come from behind.
Sadio Mane’s 29th-minute effort had canceled out Stefano Okaka’s eighth-minute header, only for Abdoulaye Doucoure to immediately restore the home side’s lead.
Liverpool, who were without Coutinho, were back level in the 55th minute through Roberto Firmino’s penalty.
But with Salah’s 57th-minute goal looking as though it would be decisive, Britos bundled the ball home deep in stoppage time after Simon Mignolet had pushed Richarlison’s shot against the bar.
For all the close-season transfer dealings, both starting line-ups carried a familiar look, with Nathaniel Chalobah the home side’s only new face and Salah the lone Liverpool debutant.
For Klopp’s side, it appeared to be a case of same old faces, same old problems, as they allowed Watford to twice take the initiative during the first half on the back of defensive errors.
The opening goal was certainly one to frustrate Klopp as Okaka took full advantage of Liverpool’s lack of organization as they failed to defend Jose Holebas’s corner.
Roberto Pereyra had broken threateningly after being sent clear by Okaka and was unfortunate to see his shot deflected wide off Dejan Lovren following a twisting run that had opened up the visitors’ defense.
Holebas swung in the resulting corner toward the near post, where it was headed home by Okaka, who had been allowed to advance unchecked, with Roberto Firmino in particular guilty of failing to react.
It was the perfect start for Watford manager Marco Silva, but for Klopp it was an early reminder of the problems that need to be eradicated if Liverpool are to prove genuine title contenders.
The other side of Liverpool was demonstrated 21 minutes later when Mane levelled in spectacular fashion.
The Senegalese forward, who started the game on the left, picked up the ball on the right and worked his way across the pitch before exchanging passes with Alberto Moreno.
Moreno played the ball in to Emre Can, whose flick set up Mane for a precise finish.
It was an incisive breakthrough, but the good work was almost immediately undone when Watford made their way too easily down the right-hand flank in the build-up to Doucoure’s goal.
Doucoure was at the heart of the move, releasing Tom Cleverley, whose low cross was met with an attempted clearance by Trent Alexander-Arnold.
But the ball ricocheted off team-mate Joel Matip’s back, allowing Doucoure to add the home side’s second.
Once again Liverpool had been responsible for their own plight, although Watford’s positive approach was unsettling Klopp’s side.
The visitors’ response in the second half confirmed the attacking strengths of this Liverpool side.
Within 10 minutes of the restart, the Reds were back level after a superb flick by Firmino sent Salah clear.
The winger was brought down by Heurelho Gomes as he attempted to round the goalkeeper and Firmino finished from the penalty spot.
Three minutes later, Firmino again produced a moment of exceptional skill as he made up for his error on the opening goal.
The striker brought down Moreno’s floated pass before lifting the ball over the advancing Gomes and Salah ensured the chance was not wasted by bundling home from close range.
Liverpool’s victory looked assured, only for Britos to reward Watford’s persistence at the death.
Al-Hilal fine tune preparations in Austria and integrate new boy Andre Carrillo
- Saudi champions play Slovenia’s NK Kalcer Radomlje on Sunday
- Peru World Cup star Carrillo has trained with his new teammates
LONDON: “So far, so good.” That is the message coming out of the Al-Hilal ranks as the Saudi Arabia champions start their preparations for the 2018-19 Saudi Pro League season at a training camp in Austria.
Within the first week of their arrival in Europe, the defending champions have welcomed their 2018 World Cup contingent back to action, have strengthened their ranks with a high-profile international signing and won their first warm-up match with plenty to spare.
New coach Jorge Jesus is happy with the way it is all going ahead of the big kick-off next month.
“It is good to be here as the temperatures are much better for playing football,” Jesus, who was appointed in June, told Portuguese television. “It’s cooler here than back in Saudi Arabia with temperatures there over 40 degrees. Everything is going well, the players are training hard and we are working to be ready for the new season.”
The Riyadh giants have been training in Europe for a week and kicked off their build-up with a 5-0 thrashing of local team Rapid Lienz on Thursday. The scoreline included a brace from Brazilian midfielder Carlos Eduardo and a strike from Syrian forward Omar Khribin. Both stars missed large parts of last season with injury.
Ali Al-Habsi was between the sticks in that victory over the Austrians and enjoyed a quiet afternoon.
“We are still getting accustomed to the new coach as every coach has his own style,” the former English Premier League star said. “The coach’s style is different and we will get to know him at this training camp and all has been going well so far.
“We have been focusing on defensive organization and also trying to improve our attacking play and we know that we still have a lot of work to do.”
On Thursday, the defending champions welcomed back seven of their Saudi Arabia internationals from Russia. As well as Salem Al-Dawsari, who scored the last-minute goal against Egypt on June 25 to give the country a first World Cup win since 1994, Abdullah Otayf, Yasser Al-Shahrani, Salman Al-Faraj, Mohamed Kanoo, Ali Al-Bulaihi and goalkeeper Abdullah Al-Mayouf are now in full training.
They have been joined by a new arrival in the shape of Peruvian international Andre Carillo on a one-year deal from Benfica. The winger, who previously worked with Jesus at Sporting Lisbon and spent last season on loan in the English Premier League with Watford, should add firepower to the two-time continental champions.
“This is a new stage and challenge in my career,” said the 27-year-old who scored for Peru against Australia in the 2018 World Cup to give the South Americans their first win on the global stage since 1978. “I am ready for the challenge and would like to thank (Al-Hilal president) Sami Al-Jaber for believing in me.”
Coach Jesus is pleased with his new signing. “It is not always easy to convince top international players to come but he agreed and is excited to show what he can do,” he said. “I know Carillo well and asked him to come and join me. I am sure that he will fit in well with his new team.”
Al-Hilal continue their preparations with a clash with Slovenia’s NK Kalcer Radomlje on Sunday. Then come games with Fortuna Dusseldorf of Germany, Turkish team Akhisarspor and then a final European test against Serie A side Udinese.