“Of all the relegation-fighting clubs in all the leagues in all the world, it had to be Watford.” That probably sums up the feeling of many after Jurgen Klopp and his Liverpool players lost a league match for the first time in over a year.
Undefeated No More
Nothing is going to snatch away the title this season from Liverpool, still 22 points clear of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League. But the chase after making this title run all the more special with the ‘undefeated’ label attached to it is over, ground to a halt at Vicarage Road in a 3-0 loss.
In the grand scheme of things, this loss doesn’t mean that much. Had it come earlier in the season, it would really be an afterthought. But because the conclusion that Liverpool will be crowned champions has been pretty much a given since December, the ‘invincibles’ competition took the driver’s seat in the campaign.
There’s also the manner of defeat. Yes, Liverpool were playing without Jordan Henderson and Joe Gomez. Yes, seeing Dejan Lovren in the lineup is always a nail biting experience for Liverpool fans. But when theorizing when and if Liverpool’s incredible run will be halted, no one saw it coming against Watford. Certainly not with the kind of careless, sloppy passing and decisions made by the likes of Andy Robertson, Fabinho and above all Trent Alexander-Arnold. `
It’ll be interesting to see how Liverpool react to this with an upcoming FA Cup fixture against Chelsea, league match against Bournemouth and what is now the main focus for Klopp: the return leg against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League.
There’s no need to overreact, obviously. One loss, even in the manner of this one, does not require to go into panic mode. But it does put Liverpool in a new, or at least (almost) forgotten situation, which presents another test for Jurgen Klopp and a group of players that perhaps need to find a new way to now motivate themselves with what remains in their Premier League season.