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After their season of manager roulette ended with ignominious relegation from the Premier League, here was a hint of stability – even positivity – for Watford

It’s early days of course and the remaining weeks of the transfer window will bring further upheaval, but Watford proved just about superior to a Middlesbrough team who you sense would be more than content with mid-table anonymity.

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The Hertz bankruptcy ordeal continues, and while the rental car company continues to offload used cars at some dirt-cheap prices, it still needs other sources of cash in the meantime.

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The likes of Troy Deeney, Danny Welbeck, Ismaila Sarr and Will Hughes were among a raft of players absent here through a combination of injury, lack of match fitness or simply sitting in the departure lounge waiting for a move before the window shuts next month.

The filing indicated the company has $1.4 billion of cash on hand, though revenue plunged 67% in the second quarter. If there’s a smidge of a silver lining, Hertz did say demand has slowly started to recover each month, but it’s nowhere near pre-COVID-19 levels. Still, the firm plans to offload another 182,000 cars in its rental fleet. According to the report, Hertz already sold off 100,000 cars as it reached a deal to forgo lease payments on the vehicles’ master lease to save money amid bankruptcy.

Liverpool restored their lead in the 20th minute and this time Leeds had only themselves to blame, leaving the obvious threat of Virgil van Dijk unchallenged with the towering Dutchman heading home an Andy Robertson corner.

Watford were the more vibrant side before half-time before retreating after the break.

Middlesbrough saw chances come and go, with Britt Assombalonga their most dangerous player, but Watford showed a resoluteness often missing last season.

‘You’re always looking to see if there’s somebody that can bring something extra and help the guys already here, so we’ll keep working in that regard but the most important thing is to help the guys we’ve got take the next step.’

A season beginning with fans still barred from the grounds due to COVID-19 restrictions needed a start to spark some excitement among frustrated fans and this high-energy, incident-packed encounter certainly delivered.

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Salah, sporting a new short hair-cut, blasted Liverpool back in front, 12 minutes before the break, when he pounced on an attempted header clear from Pascal Struijk with a first-time shot which gave Illan Meslier no chance.

According to a Bloomberg report on Tuesday, Hertz filed for debtor-in-possession financing, indicating choppy waters ahead. DIP financing comes from creditors who believe a company has a solid recovery plan to execute as it works to restructure. But as a rental car companies are reliant on travelers, the industry’s likely in for a gloomy outlook considering the coronavirus pandemic continues unchecked in numerous parts of the world. 

But eight minutes later Jack Harrison, on loan from Manchester City, brought Leeds level with a fine solo goal, picking the ball up on the left-flank and cutting inside, skipping past Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez, before drilling into the bottom corner.

‘I can understand why he was a young captain (at Southampton), I can understand why he was so respected at Liverpool. From the short time we’ve seen him and worked with him, he’s been fantastic for us.’

Juergen Klopp’s side grabbed a fourth minute lead after referee Michael Oliver harshly ruled that Leeds’ debutant German defender Robin Koch had handled a Salah shot which deflected off his thigh on to his outstretched arm.

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