It finally happened: Liverpool lost a Premier League game at the 44th time of asking, dropping to a shock 3-0 defeat to relegation strugglers, Watford.
It was 422 days ago that Jürgen Klopp’s swashbuckling side last visited the wrong side of the score line in the league; and while a team still on track for a record 107 points can only disappoint so much, Liverpool supporters would’ve felt some type of way about Arsenal’s 16-year-old unbeaten record remaining intact.
With captain Jordan Henderson still sidelined and defensive stalwart Joe Gomez a late scratch with a knock, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and surprisingly, Dejan Lovren were drafted into the starting lineup. The defensive change in particular appeared to unsettle the back line, with the Croatian struggling badly with the physicality and speed of Watford’s forwards.
“A lot things [went wrong] obviously,” Klopp said speaking to the team channel after the game. “We couldn’t create clear enough chances against a very compact side.
“I don’t think we felt the game really. We tried, we tried, we tried but in the end we crossed from the wrong spaces and when we crossed we didn’t have the right positioning in the box.”
More than their goals, their stars or their trophies, these Reds have been characterized by an astounding resilience that has almost inevitably seen them rise from the mat each time they’ve fallen over the past 2+ years on their way to erasing whatever deficit lay before them, something that shockingly didn’t occur on the day.
“I really thought we started much better in the second half because we had a chance to adjust a few things, but then they scored the first goal,” Klopp continued.
“From that moment, pretty much everything went wrong.
“Well deserved, Watford. They played a really good game and played exactly how they wanted to do and made life really uncomfortable for us.”
26 games won, one drawn and now one lost. Liverpool will still run away with the title, are competing on three fronts—including Tuesday’s FA Cup knockout tie clash with Chelsea—and have plenty of records still to break.
We go again.