O2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appne of the greatest unbeaten streaks in the history of the English game had to end somewhere, but that it came against a club who have sacked two managers already this season and nursed a relegation death-wish since August, made this a truly surreal event.
Liverpool’s invincible season is over. They will surely win their first Premier League nonetheless, a historic 30-year wait that only a force majeure or international public health event could realistically stop now but the dream of going 50 games unbeaten and taking Arsenal’s place in the record books is over. Stopped by an astonishing performance from a Watford side that began the day in 19th place and played – in the second half at least – like a more adventurous version of Atletico Madrid.
Diego Simeone, Carlo Ancelotti, and, now Nigel Pearson – the only three managers who have defeated a Jurgen Klopp Liverpool team, as opposed to the second string League Cup version, in a season in which the leaders have looked unstoppable. The clock is stopped for Liverpool at 44 games undefeated going back to Jan 3 last year, and this is the end of a remarkable 18 straight wins in the league. They will be eager to get back on that run come next Saturday at home to Bournemouth after Tuesday’s FA Cup tie although, for now, Arsene Wenger’s 49-game unbeaten run of 2004 is safe.
Liverpool were dreadful. Their famous front three were unrecognisable. They managed just one shot on target. Even more surprising was the defensive performance, a situation not helped by the absence of Joe Gomez, rested as a precaution, and replaced by Dejan Lovren. Lovren had one of those bad days of his but there were below-par performances from the unlikeliest of characters, including Virgil van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold.
For Ismaila Sarr, who scored two wonderful goals, including a breakaway finish for his second, it was a splendid day. So too, Troy Deeney, who got the third and was generally more than a match for Lovren. For Pearson it was a triumph, having faced Liverpool in his first game in charge of Watford in December when the team did well at Anfield but succumbed in the end. He lost Gerard Deulofeu to a bad injury in the first half when his team were more than a match for Liverpool before raising their game again after the break.
The Spanish winger’s right leg seemed to fold under him after the half-hour mark and Pearson said that there was distress among his players at the severity of the injury. He spoke briefly to the player at half-time when he was undergoing treatment and, by the time Vicarage Road roared its team through to the final whistle, Deulofeu was in hospital.
This is the team of “Super Nigel Pearson” as the home support sings and, after the calamity of the early part of the season, they are out the relegation zone. Pearson’s reign started magnificently but recently it has been harder and this win came after a bad run of two points in five games.
That they can keep coming back from setbacks suggests once again that Watford have the survival gene this season. “We have 10 games left and we have to emulate this form”, Pearson said afterwards more than once, but even this taciturn, old soul could not suppress a smile at what had been achieved.
Certainly, Pearson knows how to use Sarr, coming off the flanks with devastating pace and a real composure in front of goal. The Senegal international counts Sadio Mane as his hero but he eclipsed the Liverpool man on this occasion. A hamstring injury has meant that Sarr has been unavailable for Pearson over recent weeks and his priority will be keeping him fit.
What next for Liverpool? They are in London on Tuesday to play Chelsea in the FA Cup, and Klopp said later that it had never been him keeping count of the games on this unbeaten run. He was without Jordan Henderson as well as Gomez, and Naby Keita who has a hip injury and he rejected any suggestion of tiredness. “It’s not easy to explain why it didn’t happen for us,” he said, “but it shouldn’t be the biggest sensation in world football”.
Having recovered from the Atletico defeat earlier this month to beat West Ham on Monday, you could make the case that the pace and power of Watford just got to them. As the fixtures pile up, there will be others who feel they can do the same to the European champions. Klopp was not having a bit of it. “Why do we have the amount of points? Because we fought against each little feeling in the body, when [our] concentration level looked like it would drop, we fought against that, against fortune, against everything.” He said his team was ready, in the words of Steven Gerrard, “to go again”.
In a slow first half in which just one chance in time added on presented itself to Watford, there were the seeds of a fine performance. Will Hughes was excellent throughout although his challenge on Georginio Wijnaldum which caused the Dutchman to howl in pain might have contributed to his lacklustre performance. Etienne Capoue and Abdoulaye Doucoure were both dominant and Deeney was shrewd in making sure he was up against Lovren and not Van Dijk.
S2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围apparr had already seen a shot tipped over when he scored his first. Deeney blocked off Lovren and allowed a throw-in to bounce over the pair of them. Doucoure took it to the byline beating Van Dijk and the cutback fell perfectly for Sarr.
His second was even better, when Hughes won the ball on the right and poked it down the line to Deeney who opened Liverpool with one pass. Sarr was on his own running at Alisson and he took his goal beautifully.
The chances kept coming. A shot from Hughes was blocked. Then, Alexander-Arnold’s back pass was intercepted by Sarr and laid back to Deeney who scored with Alisson out of position. “Can we play you every week?” sang the Watford fans, who sounded convinced they are staying up.
81 min: Watford 3 Liverpool 0
S2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围apparr is put through for a hat-trick chance by Deeney's dink and he is just onside but screws his shot past the right post. It's his last kick as he is substituted by Pussetto though Alexander-Arnold tries to hasten his departure by giving him a push to get him off the pitch. He's entitled to milk the applause, though, for his two goals.
74 min: Watford 3 Liverpool 0
A2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围applexander-Arnold has had a mare at the back. He misses a header that Deeney wins then when the ball comes back to him he rolls a backpass, not spotting Sarr, who nips in to beat Alisson to it, turns and taps it back to Deeney who sweeps a shot into the vacxant net with Alisson pulled over to try to reach the misplaced backpass.
62 min: Watford 2 Liverpool 0
The record signing latches on to soem tenaciosu wotrk by Huighes and Kiko on the whitewash by the right on halfway. The ball is threaded through Robertson's legs and Sarr is put through on goal 30 yards out. He sprints towards the box, immaculate control, staying ahead of scrambling defenders and waits long enough to sit Alisson down before chipping him from about 12 yards.
60 min: Watford 1 Liverpool 0
T2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围apperrific run from Robertson to capitalise on Kiko's positioning mistake. He bombs on down the left and whips in a cross that Kabasele hammers behind for a corner before Firmino could latch on to it. Adam Lallana is stripped and ready to come ion but not until Watford defend the corner.
55 min: Watford 1 Liverpool 0
H2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appaven't seen Liverpool concede a goal like that since they used to be bullied by Stoke seven or eight years ago. Throw in on the left. Lovren lets it bounce and Doucoure needs no second invitation to take it past him on the left of the box and cebntre for Sarr to bury it from six yards, Van Dijk having let him go, too.
48 min: Watford 0 Liverpool 0
Again Liverpool prove adept at defending a corner. Strangely, the Liverpool full-backs ahve switched flanks rather than the wide forwards. Robertson pelts down the right, plays it in to Firmino, gets it back then rolls a pass across the 18-yard line for Salah who spanks his shot straight at an advancing Cathcart.
Half-time: Watford 0 Liverpool 0
W2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appatford have played well, creating several half-chances and a beauty for Doucoure but have lost some of their zip after Deulofeu was stretchered off in palpable distress. Liverpool haven't clicked yet but we've seen this film before. They don't need to click to win and Watford may rue not being ahead at the break.
45+5 min: Watford 0 Liverpool 0
Free-kick for Watford, 40 yards out by the left touchline for a foul by Lovren on Pereyra. Masina takes it and Deeney is held around the bra area by Lovren, preventing him from getting up to head. But when he wrestles free he does have a chance as the ball pinballs past and towards Alisson. The Watford captain gets there first, turns but his first attempt to chip the keeperis brilliantly saved and the second drifts wide. He asks for the earlier foul but the ref isn't having it and blows for half-time.
44 min: Watford 0 Liverpool 0
Sarr tries to beat Alisson from 30 yards but doesn't even test him. Hughes treads on Wijnaldum's foot after the Liverpool midfielder laid the ball off. Alexander-Arnold takes the free-kick 15 yards into the Watford half and lifts his chip over everyone and out for a goalkick.
42 min: Watford 0 Liverpool 0
D2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appeeney flies into a tackle on Alexander-Arnold and plants his right boot into his ankle. Amazingly, no booking. Alexander-Arnold is OK and picks out Mane with a diagonal lob from the right after a corner but the forward had drifted offside, making his back header that went wide immaterial.
19 min: Watford 0 Liverpool 0
Liverpool corner on the left. Robertson takes to the near post, Doucoure knocks it to the edge of the area. Oxlade-Chamberlain controls the clearance and hits an up and under to the right of the box. Van Dijk was best placed but also a mile offside so sensibly lest it go and Salah takes it on as it drops over his shoulder, belting a volley into the side netting.
17 min: Watford 0 Liverpool 0
B2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appetter spell of possession from Liverpool, passing it around at the back, making Watford chase but when Lovren chips a long diagonal from right to left, looking for the space behidn Kiko, the diligent Sarr is on the cover and stops Mane getting a cross into the box.
15 min: Watford 0 Liverpool 0
Watford are playing very well - they've clearly identified the gap between Alexander-Arnold and Lovren as Liverpool's Achilles heel. Deulofeu plays a one-two with Deeney, bombs down the left flank and zips over a daisycutter cross to Doucoure entering the box by the right of the D. He takes it on first time with his right instep, opting for precsiion rather than power, and the ball is turned behind for a corner which liverpool defend competently.
13 min: Watford 0 Liverpool 0
Alexander-Arnold, so good going forward, doesn't force Deulofeu down the line and the former Everton winger once again cuts in on his right and flays a shot that skims the top of the net. A minute later Lovren gives the ball away and Deeney canters down the inside-left channel and, running out of steam with his pursuers catching up, squares it for Hughes but Wijnaldum just gets his toe to it first.
9 min: Watford 0 Liverpool 0
O2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appxlade-Chamberlain and Alexander-Arnold team up on the right, the full-back curling a left-foot pass into the box and then drifting out towards the corner flag for the return. Watford, though, are alive to the threat and squeeze him out of space, forcing him to poke his cross behind.
5 min: Watford 0 Liverpool 0
W2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appatford are pressing hard and Deeney forces Alisson into a hurried shank when the ball is played back across the area by Robertson. Deulofeu receives a pass when Alisson's clearance is intercepted, gallops forward 20 yards, cuts in on to his right and scuds a low shot past Alisson's right post from 22 yards.
For those of you watching in black and white
Watford Foster; Kiko, Kabasele, Cathcart, Masina; Hughes, Capoue; Sarr, Doucoure, Deulofeu; Deeney.
Substitutes Gomes, Dawson, Welbeck, Chalobah, Gray, Pussetto, Pereyra.
Liverpool Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane.
Substitutes Adrian, Minamino, Lallana, Origi, Matip, Jones, Hoever.
Referee2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围app Michael Oliver (Northumberland)
L2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appiverpool will run out at Watford this afternoon to the familiar sound of Z Cars, a tune that has not preceded a defeat at Goodison for a decade and only once at the Vic in 33 years. That came five years ago shortly after Jürgen Klopp had succeeded Brendan Rodgers at Anfield and only one survivor from the side who were beaten 3-0 - Robert Firmino - is likely to be in the starting XI today. Victory would restore Liverpool’s lead at the top of the Premier League to 25 points as they cakewalk to the title but a rare home win in this fixture, a possibility so remote bookies are offering 6-1 on them winning and a shade under 4-1 on the draw, would catapult Nigel Pearson’s ‘Orns above Aston Villa and to within striking distance of Bournemouth, West Ham and Brighton.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appTwo draws and three defeats in their past five games has stripped the gloss off Pearson’s fine start at Watford. Losing to Villa and Everton has cost them heavily but the price of entertainment, of trying to go out and beat teams rather than scratching around for draws, has been worth paying. They’re still in touch, have a coherent strategy and are decent to watch again. Expect them to have a go in an attempt to ruin Liverpool’s attempt to run up a record 19th successive PL victory, Klopp certainly does.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围app"You can't imagine with Norwich and West Ham playing against us, that they are bottom of the table,” Klopp said. "We have to be 100 per cent ready for these fights. That's what I love about my boys, when it's not clicking they don't lose desire, it is the other way. Watford will be really tough, 100 per cent. Very physical and everybody will see how much it means to them, so we have to make sure everybody can see how much it means to us as well."
P2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appearson, meanwhile, says: "We've got our own agenda and that is to save our own season and I think that is enough," he said about ending Liverpool’s surge. “For players to go into these games, if they can prove they are capable of playing against the best sides of the country, that is the motivation players need.
"But we have to win games for our own season, not necessarily to change history for another club. It's about our season, our own circumstances and if that's a spin-off from it, it is a spin-off from it."