It can't always be pretty and nice football - Milner hails battling Liverpool win

Liverpool was not at its best against Watford, but a satisfied James Milner said: "It can't always be pretty and nice football."

Liverpool celebrate Mohamed Salah's first goal against Watford   -  Getty Images

James Milner hailed Liverpool's battling qualities after it maintained its remarkable Premier League form with a scrappy 2-0 win over rock-bottom Watford.

Two goals from Mohamed Salah earned a 16th win in 17 league games for the runaway leaders at a windy Anfield, but Liverpool certainly did not have things all its own way as its struggling opponents offered a consistent threat on the counter-attack.

In their first game under new head coach Nigel Pearson, Watford was guilty of two awful misses - from Abdoulaye Doucoure and Ismaila Sarr - either side of Salah's first-half opener and the visitor remained in the contest until the Egypt international struck again in the final minute of normal time.

"They were always going to be up for it, a new manager coming in. We know what Nige is like as well," Milner told BT Sport. "They're having a bad time but we knew it would be tough and it proved to be that."

Asked about the breezy conditions, Milner, who followed manager Jurgen Klopp in signing a contract extension on Friday, added:  "It's not nice, obviously. It affects everything, the touch, the longer passes, crosses, but you have to deal with it. It's the same for both teams and sometimes you've just got to scrap it out.

Read: Salah strikes twice as Liverpool sinks struggling Watford

"It can't always be pretty and nice football, and that's an important result, to get those three points in the way we did, battling it out."

Salah's first goal came 58 seconds after Doucoure had mis-kicked at the other end with a clear sight of goal, the Liverpool forward cutting in from the left following a slick break and beating Ben Foster with a glorious curling finish.

"I've been practicing with my right foot," said a smiling Salah, who went on to seal victory with a cute flick from Divock Origi's scuffed shot.

"We played against a tough team today. I think they should be better positioned than what they are. Hopefully we keep on winning in the next few games."

Salah's late second quelled any nerves among the home fans and he added: "I think now we have more experience. We've played together for three or four years, so we know when we can make the game calm, when we can make it fast.

"Sometimes the crowd, they get panicky a little bit, but we have experience. We have won a few games 1-0 so it's fine."

  Dugout videos