Liverpool fell to their first League defeat since January 3 2018 after they were drubbed 3-0 away to Watford.
A brace from Ismailia Sarr and a Troy Deeney strike condemned the at times hapless Reds to not only a defeat but also scuppered their chances of breaking an English league record with a 19th consecutive league victory.
With the wind buffeting around, build up play was rendered difficult for the reds, whose approach play was built on short passes.
But it was Watford who manufactured the first opportunity of note in a low-key opening 10 minutes. A quick counter attack saw Gerard Deulofeu receive the ball high on the left hand side and one on one with Trent Alexander Arnold. The Spaniard cut inside and fired a shot just over Alisson’s bar. The move ultimately came to nothing, but it was a reminder of the hosts threat.
The Hornets showed their potential sting again not long after. Again, Deulofeu was integral and the wingers pass released Abdoulaye Doucoure on goal. The Frenchman’s shot was deflected behind by a Virgil Van Dijk block and the Reds escaped unpunished.
Liverpool were failing to knit together many enterprising moves but Mohamed Salah — who was peripheral to the flow of the game in the opening 20 minutes — came close when a second phase corner pass by Alexander Arnold found him in the box. The Egyptian, however, drilled his right footed half volley from an acute angle into the suds netting.
Deulofeu was proving the hosts most dependable source of attacking spark, so it was a big blow when the former Barcelona man was forced off with a nasty looking knee injury after an innocuous clash with Van Dijk. The 25 year old was replaced by Roberto Pereyra.
Totally devoid of any kind of attacking quality, the closest the first half came to a goal was on the cusp of the half time whistle. Deeney’s flick caused pandemonium in the Liverpool box and after Alisson spilled the ball, the big Englishman lifted the ball wide to end one of the most nondescript halves of football you’d have to misfortune of enduring.
The European Champions started the second half with a renewed vigour and ought to have taken the lead on the 50th minute mark. Van Dijk’s incisive through ball found Andy Robertson and the Scot found himself one on one with Ben Forster. His shot, however, was straight at the keeper.
If the miss wasn’t bad enough, Watford compounded their frustration when they scored from the next attack. A throw in towards Deeney saw the big forward outmuscle Dejan Lovren and flick the ball to Doucoure who in turn hooked it into the six yard box where Sarr tapped it in.
A shocking few minutes for the visitors got worse when Sarr doubled Watford’s lead with a half hour remaining. Not set from a quick throw, Liverpool allowed a through ball to find Sarr and the Senegalese international ran in and clipped over Alisson for a deserved 2-0 lead.
Staring down the barrel of their first League defeat in well over a year, Jurgen Klopp shuffled his deck and brought on Adam Lallana and Divock Origi for Georginio Wijnaldum and Alex Oxlade Chamberlain respectively.
Lallana almost made an immediate impact when his driven left footed volley hit the outside of the post.
Liverpool hadn’t conceded two league goals in consecutive games since March 2018, but things got worse on the 70th minute mark. A slack Alexander Arnold sent Sarr in behind and bearing down on Alisson. The winger then pulled the ball back to Deeney and the Watford captain lifted the ball over Alisson and into the empty net for 3-0.
With the looseness and lack of sparkle that dogged them throughout preventing even a consolation goal, the final whistle sounded with Liverpool condemned to their first League defeat in 424 days.
Liverpool team: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Salah, Firmino, Mané.
Substitutions: Lallana for Wijnaldum, Origi for Oxlade Chamberlain, Minamino for Firmino.
Subs not used: Adrian, Matip, Hoever, Jones.