Football: Klopp hails sublime Salah as world's best after Liverpool thrash woeful Watford 5-0

Mohamed Salah in action during Liverpool's match against Watford in Vicarage Road stadium in Watford, England on Oct 16, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

WATFORD (REUTERS) - Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp hailed Mohamed Salah as the best player in the world after his side's 5-0 rout of Watford on Saturday (Oct 16), with the Egyptian's wonder goal and superb assist in the game just the latest examples of his outstanding talent.

He set up Sadio Mane's 100th Premier League goal and scored a brilliant goal of his own, while Roberto Firmino bagged a hat-trick as Liverpool reclaimed top spot to give Hornets coach Claudio Ranieri a horror start in his first game in charge.

"Come on, 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," a delighted Klopp told BT Sport.

"His (Salah's) 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," he added.

The visitors took the lead in the ninth minute when Liverpool won a Watford kickout, and Salah played a sublime pass to Mane with the outside of his left boot for the Senegalese striker to notch his Premier League century.

Mane then picked out James Milner on an overlapping run and he drove a perfect ball across the goal for Firmino to steer home from close range in the 37th minute to put the Reds 2-0 up at half-time.

Firmino added his second seven minutes after the break, pouncing on a defensive mistake to poke home, before Salah stole the headlines two minutes later with an outrageous display of close control, outwitting three defenders in a tight space before curling the ball into the net.

Many in Klopp's star-studded squad were away on international duty, but they slotted back into their club side quickly as they set about demolishing Watford.

"After the international break it is hard to find the rhythm after playing different systems, but the boys were so good despite only having one session before today," the German explained.

"I think Watford had ideas, but we didn't let them play. The goals were really brilliant, there was great attitude, energy and character."

Ranieri, who took over as Watford boss on Oct 4 following the sacking of Xisco Munoz, was left in no doubt about the size of the task he faces as the Hornets came up woefully short, and Firmino added his third in second-half stoppage time.

The win lifts Liverpool back to the Premier League summit on 18 points, two ahead of Chelsea, who can retake the lead if they beat Brentford in Saturday's late game. Watford are 15th on seven points.

Former Chelsea and Leicester boss Ranieri endured a tough afternoon on his return to English football as his side were completely outplayed in the first half, and they only began to string some passes together when they were 4-0 down.

"I think that we conceded too many chances to them. Of course Liverpool is a very fantastic team. When I came I knew I would have to work very, very hard ... but I'm sure we can improve. We have to improve," the Italian told BT Sport.

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