What are you supposed to say after that? Liverpool lost by 3 goals to relegation battling Watford. Not only did they lose, they were comprehensively beaten. There’s not a player on the pitch that didn’t put in their worst performance of the season and the collective was one of the worst since Jurgen Klopp became Liverpool manager. The unbeaten run comes to an end. The winning streak record isn’t achieved. There will be no gold Premier League trophy lifted at the end of the season.
But, not all hope is lost. Klopp’s Reds will bounce back. They didn’t become a different team overnight.
Winners & Losers
Fans of every other Premier League team
This is the biggest day of their lives. Arsenal fans get to celebrate being in 10th place & being behind Liverpool by more points than they have in total. Manchester City fans get to celebrate, um, still being 22 points off the lead. Everton fans get to celebrate the fact that Liverpool can’t lift the Premier League trophy at Goodison Park. And most importantly, Watford fans get to celebrate a big win that brings them out of the relegation zone.
When you’re the best team in the world, everyone has their eyes fixed on you. One slip and everyone goes wild. That’s okay. Losing happens.
Jordan Henderson & Joe Gomez
I’m not a person who can see what happens in alternative realities or on different timelines. I just know that Jordan and Joe are really good at the football. Henderson is the captain and the heartbeat of the team. Gomez is better than Dejan Lovren.
Joe Gomez had played 15 consecutive games for Liverpool— SimonBrundish (@SimonBrundish) February 29, 2020
Most he has managed in his career before is 6
Like I said, I don’t know how different things would’ve been if either or both of them played today, but I do know that their stock can’t be higher after that.
Losing on Leap Year
One great thing about losing on February 29th is that this date only happens every four years. You won’t be seeing “On This Day In History” tweets any time soon. Suck on that, haters.
The most predictable inclusion in this column ever. I get needing to rest Gomez. I don’t get starting Lovren over Joel Matip. Lovren’s a confidence player. He kept making mistakes and then he got in his own head. The nerves set in and the mistakes compounded. It was like watching a train wreck. It just kept getting worse.
Liverpool’s Undefeated Season
One record Liverpool won’t break this season is going a full season without losing a game. That sucks. It’s okay to think that sucks. This team is so great that it should be achieving things like being Invincible.
There’s other records still on the cards and there’s three trophies to still play for.
There’s a lot of stats out there that get too much weight put into them. Possession and shots on target to name a couple. But one stat that tells the story nine times out of ten is Expected Goals.
On Understat’s xG model, that was Liverpool’s worst attacking performance in the league under Klopp. pic.twitter.com/9V9n8cVdIk— Andrew Beasley (@BassTunedToRed) February 29, 2020
To put it bluntly: Liverpool were hosed by Watford. It wasn’t particularly close. That this Liverpool team only managed two shots from inside the penalty area against Watford is appalling.
Some people will say this was in the cards after recent Liverpool performances against Norwich City and West Ham, but that’s not totally true. Liverpool beat Norwich comfortably and they battered West Ham but let in two silly goals. Even in the match against Atletico Madrid Liverpool were well in control of the match, but were unable to find a goal. The Reds have not been outplayed like this in a long time.
I don’t think it’s a cause for concern because I trust Klopp to right the wrongs, but yeesh, it’s bad. I could write several sentences about how everyone played their worst, including your favorite, but I’ll let you hash that out in the comment section.
What Happens Next?
The silver lining of losing is that there’s a big match against Chelsea in the FA Cup on Tuesday. Jurgen has to take it seriously now. I would expect a strong lineup, with a few changes sprinkled in there. If we can’t go undefeated we should absolutely risk some things for the Treble.