Salah and Mane on target in Liverpool draw

Miguel Britos heads Watford's equaliser over the line

Miguel Britos’ equaliser was his second goal in two years at Watford

Miguel Britos scored a controversial 93rd-minute equaliser for Watford as Liverpool were held in a thrilling game at Vicarage Road.

The Reds, without Barcelona target Philippe Coutinho due to a back injury, fell behind to Stefano Okaka’s header.

Sadio Mane equalised with a clinical finish only for Abdoulaye Doucoure to restore the lead from close range.

Roberto Firmino’s penalty made it 2-2 before Mohamed Salah thought he had won it only for Britos to bundle in.

In Jurgen Klopp’s 100th competitive game as Reds boss, Liverpool wasted a string of chances before Uruguay defender Britos headed over the line from point blank range following a ricochet.

Watford keeper Heurelho Gomes, who conceded the penalty after hauling down Salah, denied Alberto Moreno with a fingertip save.

Joel Matip also hit the bar and Dejan Lovren forced another good save as the Reds dominated the closing stages until Watford’s late leveller.

The six-goal thriller came on the back of Friday’s opening match of the 2017-18 campaign which produced seven goals as Arsenal beat Leicester 4-3.

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Familiar frailties on show for Liverpool

It was a case of new season but same old Liverpool on the opening Saturday of the campaign.

As good as Liverpool were at going forward, their defensive frailties – all too evident last season – came back to haunt them.

Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk has been linked with a move to Anfield and Liverpool’s performance at Watford will only serve to increase Klopp’s urgency to strengthen his defence.

Liverpool were behind after failing to defend the first corner of the match, unmarked Italian striker Okaka allowed to power home Jose Holebas’ delivery.

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Liverpool unlucky to only draw – Klopp

In the space of 161 first-half seconds, the Reds went from outstanding at one end of the pitch to atrocious at the other.

They equalised with a sumptuous finish by Mane, the Senegal forward collecting a lovely flick by Emre Can before scoring from an angle.

It was Liverpool’s first serious attack of the game yet moments later they were trailing again after more awful defending.

The Reds’ defence made a hash of trying to clear Tom Cleverley’s low ball across the box and Doucoure slotted home from five yards – his second goal since joining Watford from Rennes in 2016.

A clumsy foul by Gomes on Salah allowed Firmino to make it 2-2 from the spot before the Brazilian turned provider with a delicious lob which enabled Salah, a £34m signing from Roma, to put his side ahead on his league debut.

It should have been the winner yet Liverpool’s defence failed to deal with another Holebas corner, allowing Britos to score three minutes into added time.

‘Watford’s equaliser was offside’

Klopp said Watford’s dramatic equaliser should not have counted because he believed it to be offside.

Britos was stood immediately in front of keeper Simon Mignolet when substitute and new signing Richarlison put the ball across goal.

“It’s obvious because the linesman is on the line. He needs to see it,” said Klopp.