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2021-22 English Premier League
  • Diogo Jota (22')
  • Fabinho (89' PEN)

Jota, Fabinho send Liverpool top as title pressure cranks up on Manchester City

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Nicol: Jota makes scoring headers look easy (1:43)

Steve Nicol praises Diogo Jota's aerial ability after Liverpool's 2-0 win over Watford in the Premier League. (1:43)

Liverpool moved top of the Premier League ahead of Manchester City's match at Burnley on Saturday with a 2-0 win over relegation-threatened Watford.

Jurgen Klopp's men secured a vital win to initially go two points clear at the top before City's clash at Turf Moor later in the day.

"I really think it was a performance there in the right moments. The first goal was really nice play," Klopp said.

"Credit to Watford and to Roy. He can really organise the team. Everybody knew what place he had to close to make it difficult.

"We could have done better but after two weeks not together and the early kick-off it's really tricky. But all teams have the same problems.

"I don't think after the international break I ever see the best game of the season.

"We were very mature and very controlled."

Starting the day one point behind Pep Guardiola's champions having played 29 matches each, Liverpool took the lead through Diogo Jota on 22 minutes before Fabinho made it 2-0 late on from the penalty spot.

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The visit of Watford, 18th in the table, heralded the start of a monumental month for Liverpool. As well as facing City in the league at the Etihad next week, they have an FA Cup quarterfinal against them, the visit of bitter rivals Manchester United and a two-legged Champions League quarterfinal showdown with Benfica.

With eight games across three competitions this month and chasing an unprecedented Quadruple having already landed the League Cup, Klopp was boosted by the return of Trent Alexander-Arnold from injury as he was named on the bench.

Liverpool survived a scare when Alisson stopped Cucho Hernandez when he was clean through and shortly after, Jota rose to nod home Joe Gomez's cross to put the hosts ahead with his 20th of the season -- and his fourth with his head; more than any player in the league. Jota thought he had his second of the match approaching half time but Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster did well to deny him.

Virgil van Dijk headed over from a corner early in the second half as Liverpool looked for the security of a second goal before Joao Pedro steered a shot wide for Watford to remind the hosts the game was not safe.

Mohamed Salah, quiet for most of the afternoon, was substituted for Sadio Mane with a little over 20 minutes to go and Liverpool got the breathing space they wanted two minutes from the end when ref Stuart Attwell consulted the pitchside monitor to give the home side a penalty. Jota was held back by Juraj Kucka in the area and Fabinho made no mistake from the spot to seal the win.

Klopp added: "Big two months hopefully. This week can decide a lot about how May will be. The boys created a top-class basis and now we have to use it. It's a tricky one. There's a reason why it's so difficult to win one trophy. Take it game by game. Take it 100% in each game. Hopefully keep all the boys fit and make changes between games. The Premier League is the most important competition."

English Premier League Standings