It’s no coincidence that Watford's current six-game unbeaten run has coincided with Jake Livermore being fully fit and getting a good run in the team.

It’s fair to say the midfielder’s arrival in the summer, having been released at West Bromwich Albion, was not greeted with great delight by supporters. In fact, there was a good deal of scepticism as to what the former England international could add.

A couple of league appearances from the bench and an inauspicious start away at Stoke City, along with half an hour at Stevenage in the Carabao Cup, during August didn’t offer much to counter terrace sentiment that Livermore might be more useful as a dressing room voice than an on-field asset.

However, he has been a stand-out performer in the last six games, pretty much giving a series of textbook displays in the role of a ball-winning No.6.

On Saturday, Livermore was outstanding during his hour-plus stint – a performance that only becomes more impressive when you discover he was ill during the week and rated only 50/50 to be fit the day before the game.

“I think today Jake showed his mentality. He trained normally this week until Tuesday, but then he got sick,” head coach Valerien Ismael explained after the 5-0 win over Rotherham United.

“He trained again yesterday but we were really on a knife edge if he would play.

“He said he felt well enough, he was here for the team and he wanted to play and support them.

“That he had enough to do what he did for one hour showed the mentality we need.

“He is a big example for all the players.”

Up front, Mileta Rajovic’s two first-half goals (his first strikes at the Vicarage Road end) took him to six for the season and means he is averaging a goal every 112 minutes.

“I think he is a one-touch finisher – I think every goal he has scored for us has been a one-touch finish,” said Ismael.

“What we needed was to provide the ball for him.

“What I like about him is he doesn’t need a lot of chances to score goals. That is a quality of a top striker and it was the same again today.

“In some games he wasn’t getting a lot of chances but we know that when he does he will get goals because he is really strong in his finishing.”

Striker Rhys Healey is still waiting for his first start – an overly long wait in the eyes of many – but his cameo from the bench against Rotherham did bring him his first assist.

“We haven’t always talked a lot about Rhys, but against Millwall he had a massive impact by saving one on our line and then being directly involved in the goal for Rajovic,” said the Watford boss.

“Today he was involved again and got an assist.

“For many weeks now I have felt he is back and has positive energy. It’s been a tough time for him but he has always been ready to play.

“I think at some point he will get the rewards.”

As well as Healey’s assist there were goal for his fellow subs Tom Ince and Matheus Martins.

“We want to keep pushing for 90 minutes-plus, and the players on the bench want to play and make an impact,” said Ismael.

“It just showed that sometimes the things we do go right, and sometimes they don’t.

“The substitutions didn’t work against Millwall, but we learned from that. We learn from every game. There is a lesson for us in every game that will help us through the season.”