Liverpool’s 44-game unbeaten run was ultimately ended by Watford FC last week. It was actually five short of Arsenal’s record run of 49, against a team battling the relegation zone. Although Liverpool remains 22 points clear of Manchester City at the top, this defeat was the biggest shock of the season so far. Jurgen Klopp and his players were disappointed by their first league defeat since January 3, 2019.
After the game, Klopp said that he expected the loss. He wanted to liberate them from the pressure of trying to defend their shot at history. ‘I am not upset about not going the season unbeaten because I don’t think you can break records because you want to break records,’ Klopp said.
‘I see it rather as a positive because from now on we can play free football again. I’m not bothered but I’m not sure how other people think about it. We don’t have to try to defend or try to get the record. We just have to try to win football games again and that is what we will do.
‘We have to stay on track. What the boys did so far is exceptional. But it’s not over. That’s the only thing I am interested in. It’s not over. We will go again. I promise. One hundred per cent and then we will see where it leads us to. It will never be easy so let’s carry on.’
Liverpool’s defence was shocked by the Hornet’s three goals. Virgil Van Dijk believes the Reds will go straight back to winning again. The big Dutchman has admitted that their defeat to Watford was ‘hard to take’, saying his team-mates must improve again after the surprising loss.
After leaving it late against Norwich, a bottom-side team, losing to Atletico Madrid in the Champions League and being forced to come from behind against West Ham to protect their unbeaten record, the shock defeat looked to have been looming.
‘We have to look at ourselves, we have to improve again but it’s a tough one to take – but that’s football,’ van Dijk said.
‘Losing hurts, the record is for people talking about it, we didn’t mention it once. We want to win the next game and strike back. That’s the only way forward.’
The Reds still hold on to their 22-point lead at the top. It seems that the defeat barely registers in terms of their title hopes. With games against the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Everton to come, Liverpool’s recent difficulty could be a fear for the Anfield side.
Virgil Van Dijk believes Liverpool’s defence has not had a dip in form despite conceding more than once in back-to-back Premier League games.
‘In the last game one set piece and one good goal, today it should be better, clear as that.
‘If you look at the whole season, we have been good defensively, the most clean sheets in the league. We won’t walk away from this – it’s not acceptable that we lose 3-0 in that way.’
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