Second half goals from Mohamed Salah, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Roberto Firmino handed 10 man Liverpool a 3-0 victory over a battling Watford side at Vicarage Road this afternoon.

The Hornets had largely kept the visitors at arm’s length for the first hour, with last season’s Champions League finalists struggling to break through Watford’s resolute back line.

While the Golden Boys had struggled to create many clear cut opportunities themselves, they were seemingly denied a clear penalty when Will Hughes was hauled down by Andrew Robertson inside the area and within five minutes, Liverpool were ahead as Salah’s low effort from Sadio Mane’s pull-back took a deflection off Craig Cathcart and wrongfooted Ben Foster.

The Golden Boys remained in the game despite that opener but fell further behind thanks to a stunning free-kick from Alexander-Arnold, who found the top corner from 25-yards after Adrian Mariappa was adjudged to have hauled down Firmino.

Liverpool would end the game with ten men after Jordan Henderson was sent off for two bookable offences, but that didn’t stop the Reds from making it three late on, with Firmino poking home from close range after a stunning double save from Foster.

This wasn’t a poor performance from Watford, far from it actually, and they more than held their own for an hour. But in the end, it was Liverpool’s quality in the final third which ultimately prevailed and the visitors’ unbeaten start to the campaign remains for now.

Hornets boss Javi Gracia opted to make three changes to the side which were held by Southampton before the international break. Unsurprisingly, Troy Deeney and Etienne Capoue returned to the starting line-up in place of Isaac Success and Nathaniel Chalobah, who dropped to the bench.

Meanwhile, at left-back Adam Masina was handed his third Premier League start in place of Jose Holebas, who missed out due to a calf injury.

Opposite number Jurgen Klopp made two changes to his starting line-up with fit again Henderson returning to captain the side in place of Fabinho, who dropped to the bench. Elsewhere, Dejan Lovren partnered Virgil Van Dijk at centre-back, with Joe Gomez unavailable through injury.

The Hornets thought they had got off to a flying start at Vicarage Road when Gerard Deulofeu read Deeney’s flick on and raced clear, but the former Barcelona man was flagged for offside just as he fizzed a low effort across Alisson and into the bottom corner.

Down the other end, Foster had to be alert to come off his line to prevent =Firmino from having a simple finish from close-range following an intricate move involving Salah and Xherdan Shaqiri on the edge of the area.

Foster was once again called upon just before the 20 minute mark, as he did just enough to prevent Salah from latching onto Shaqiri’s cross at the far post.

The first half had largely been a rather subdued affair with both teams cancelling each other out, but the game burst into life seven minutes before the break.

After initially doing well to win the ball back, Capoue then gifted possession to the Reds on the edge of the area and the ball was worked through to Firmino whose shot was straight at Foster.

But Watford countered immediately through Deulofeu, who then played in Pereyra on the overlap and the Argentine’s effort was expertly tipped around the post by Alisson.

Foster was then called into action again five minutes before the break with the Hornets stopper pulling off a strong save to deny Mane’s bicycle kick, after the ball had fallen favourably for the Senegal international following Shaqiri’s through ball.

From the resultant set-piece, the 35-year-old made another excellent stop, this time to thwart Salah’s free header at the far post from Shaqiri’s in swinging cross, after the Egyptian ghosted clear of Deulofeu.

Mane then hit the post moments after the break, but was correctly flagged for offside.

Watford, though, had started the second half strongly and they were denied a seemingly clear penalty when Hughes raced onto Kiko Femenia’s header, only to be hauled down by Robertson just inside the area. Replay’s showed that there was contact but much to Watford’s protests, referee Jon Moss remained unmoved.

Hornets head coach Gracia opted to make his first change shortly after, with Success replacing Deulofeu up front.

Watford had largely marshalled Liverpool’s front three well during the game, but their hard work was undone when Salah gave the visitors the lead with 25 minutes remaining.

Firmino picked the ball up in space mid-way inside Watford’s half and played an inch perfect through ball to Mane, who had broken clear of Femenia down the right and his cutback was met by Salah, whose shot took a slight deflection off Cathcart and wrongfooted Foster as it trickled over the line.

The Reds would double their advantage in superb fashion 15 minutes from time thanks to a delightful free-kick from Alexander-Arnold, who brilliantly curled the ball over the wall and past the despairing dive of Foster, after Mariappa was adjudged to have held back Firmino.

Andre Gray came on for Hughes just before that goal and the Golden Boys were handed a brief glimmer of hope with just under ten minutes remaining, when Henderson was dismissed for a second bookable offence after bringing down Capoue in front of the dugout.

The Hornets created two chances in quick succession following that dismissal, with Success flashing a cross-cum shot just wide of Alisson’s far post, before Pereya curled an effort wide from the edge of the area.

But there was still time for Liverpool to make it three on the stroke of full-time. Foster pulled off two stunning saves to firstly deny Mane on the penalty spot and Firmino on the follow-up. But the Brazilian was on hand to tuck home the rebound at the second time of asking despite Foster’s best efforts to hand Liverpool a comfortable victory.

Watford: Foster (GK), Femenia, Cathcart, Mariappa, Masina, Hughes (Gray, 74), Capoue, Doucoure, Pereyra, Deulofeu (Success, 57), Deeney ©.

Subs (Not used): Gomes (GK), Navarro, Kabasele, Chalobah, Quina.

Liverpool: Alisson (GK), Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson, Henderson ©, Wijnaldum, Shaqiri (Milner, 73), Mane, Firmino (Matip, 90 + 2), Salah (Fabinho, 85).

Subs (Not used): Mignolet (GK), Clyne, Keita, Sturridge.

Referee: Jon Moss