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Saturday, August 14, 1999 Published at 16:58 GMT 17:58 UK


Watford shock Reds

Mooney cannot believe his luck after he was left unmarked

Liverpool 0-1 Watford

New boys Watford underlined Liverpool's defensive frailties again as they pulled off a shock victory at Anfield.


BBC Radio's Charlie Lambert: "In the second -half Liverpool looked very blunt indeed"
Tommy Mooney got the only goal in the 14th minute as he punished sloppiness at the back by sidefooting home.

It gave former England boss Taylor his first-ever points at Anfield in 22 years as a manager and his first victory since returning to the top flight.

Liverpool were not short of chances but they could not find a breakthrough.

New Anfield skipper Jamie Redknapp worked hard at the heart of a midfield which strove to provide a service on which revitalised striker Robbie Fowler could thrive.

But it was always a frustrating blend of quality and vulnerability from the new Anfield foreign legion which lacked cohesion.

Spending gap

Taylor had spent not a penny in the summer, in stark contrast to Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier's 25m of expenditure.

Liverpool were without 8m midfield signing Dietmar Hamann and injured Michael Owen, who hopes to return to full training next week.

Torrential rain also made things difficult but there were too many holes in Liverpool's defence for comfort.

In the 16th minute Watford defender Peter Kennedy clipped in a free-kick which skidded about the Anfield penalty area like a pinball before landing at the feet of Mooney.

The Watford striker could hardly believe the space he had found in an otherwise crowded penalty box.

He gratefully side-footed the ball beyond Dutch goalkeeper Sander Westerveld, before being submerged in a euphoric sea of yellow jerseys.

Liverpool should have hauled themselves level before half-time with Steven Gerrard, Redknapp and Berger all squandering gilt-edged opportunities.

Panic

But there was too much panic about Liverpool and the Anfield crowd's mood was quickly changing from optimism to exasperation.

In the 58th minute Houllier threw on David Thompson to replace Gerrard.

Fowler immediately came close twice with a header and then a shot which struck defender Paul Robinson.

But the more Liverpool pushed forward the more vulnerable they looked at the back and Watford should have increased their lead in the 81st minute.

Mooney shot against the legs of goalkeeper Westerveld on the edge of the area and then Micah Hyde's chip was headed off the line by Liverpool substitute Rigobert Song.

Watford had further opportunities to increase Liverpool's embarrassment, with Mooney and Noel-Williams again going close.

But the single goal was enough to provoke a party among the travelling fans from Hertfordshire.

Teams:

Liverpool: Westerveld, Matteo, Hyypia, Carragher, Heggem, Berger, Redknapp, Gerrard, Smicer, Fowler, Camara. Subs: Song, Staunton, Riedle, Friedel, Thompson.

Watford: Day, Lyttle, Kennedy, Palmer, Page, Robinson, Ngonge, Hyde, Mooney, Johnson, Williams. Subs: Easton, Gudmundsson, Bonnot, Foley.

Referee: A Wilkie (Chester-le-Street)



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