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.
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.
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.