Odion Ighalo scored a brace to help earn Watford an impressive 3-0 victory over Liverpool as the visitors’ stand-in goalkeeper Adam Bogdan suffered a nightmare display at Vicarage Road on Sunday.
Bogdan started in goal for Jurgen Klopp’s side with Simon Mignolet ruled out through injury, but the 28-year-old Hungary international was at fault for Watford’s opener after just three minutes.
The keeper failed to collect Ben Watson’s corner at the first attempt and then spilled the ball again to allow Nathan Ake to tap in from close range, despite appealing in vain to referee Mark Clattenburg after the Hornets defender appeared to kick the ball out of his hands.
Things soon got worse for Liverpool as Ighalo continued his impressive goal scoring form, racing onto a high Troy Deeney through-ball and holding off Martin Skrtel all too easily before beating Bogdan with a fine half-volley from a tight angle 15 minutes in.
Bogdan continued to struggle under the pressure, and was fortunate not to provide a third for Watford after managing to punch the ball into the face of teammate Lucas Leiva rather than catch a simple pass just past the half-hour mark.
With Dejan Lovren already on the sidelines, Liverpool’s defensive injury woes continued with Skrtel forced off after 40 minutes after landing awkwardly on his back earlier on — though Klopp elected to replace the centre-back with striker Divock Origi rather than Kolo Toure.
Liverpool offered little going forward in the first half, with Heurelho Gomes only called into action to make a routine save from the disappointing Philippe Coutinho as Quique Sanchez Flores’ side dominated.
The visitors rallied after the break but could not find an early goal, and Watford almost added a third when Ighalo capitalised on a slip from Mamadou Sakho 63 minutes in — but Bogdan made amends with a superb one-on-one save to tip the ball over the bar.
Klopp’s side then went close as Gomes did brilliantly to tip Jordan Henderson’s dipping half-volley over the bar as the game opened up, with Klopp bringing on Christian Benteke and Jordon Ibe for Adam Lallana and Roberto Firmino with 17 minutes remaining.
But Liverpool could not find a way back despite the changes and left themselves open on the break, with Watford adding a fantastic third with a flowing team move that ended with Ighalo heading in Valon Behrami’s right-wing cross five minutes from time.
The win sees Watford sitting seventh after 17 games with 28 points — just one behind fourth-placed Tottenham. Klopp’s side, meanwhile, trail Watford by four points in ninth spot.