No one quite expected Liverpool’s 44 top-flight unbeaten run to end yesterday, especially in the manner we all witnessed.
Journalists probably have to discard the drafts about the Reds 45th unbeaten match they prepared beforehand, while pundits will still be scratching their heads as they wax lyrical about Liverpool’s opponents instead, something that has not been done in a long time (since January 2019, to be exact).
It was an absolute horror show by Jurgen Klopp’s side, although it would not come across as a complete surprise for all. Liverpool have been poor in recent times – looking a little disjointed and far from their fluid best – and you wonder if it could be because of the unassailable lead that they have had for a while now, a massive advantage that can surely result in complacency slowly creeping its way into the heads of the players.
We will never know, and Klopp will definitely deny that – but we can only hope that this serves as a kick up the backsides for the Reds, and they can dust themselves back up and quickly recapture their early season form.
Alisson Becker: 5/10
You probably knew it was never going to be your night when even the ever-reliable Brazilian had an off day. Alisson conceded three goals – although he was not exactly culpable for them – and had a few shaky moments, capping a night to forget for the best goalkeeper in the league.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 5/10
Nigel Pearson clearly got his tactics spot-on, with the Hornets defending in a resolute shape that was almost impossible for Liverpool’s fullbacks to make their usual attacking forays. Alexander-Arnold was exposed constantly at the back too, and the mistake which led to Troy Deeney’s goal summed up his unusually nervy performance.
Andy Robertson: 6/10
Like his opposite fullback, Robertson found chances to impose himself in the final third hard to come by. Struggled against the hugely impressive Ismaila Sarr, but we are guessing not many fullbacks in the league will come up on top against the Senegalese speedster.
Dejan Lovren: 5/10
A quick glance across social media will probably suggest that it was the Croat who cost Liverpool the game – but we are thinking that Lovren is once again painted as the unfortunate scapegoat. Yes, he was poor – but so were the rest of the team – and we even thought he had a solid first half, winning most of his physical duels with Deeney. Not the easiest game to feature after a long hiatus and it showed, but it was far from his fault alone.
Virgil van Dijk: 5/10
It was clear that the Dutch had a poor game by his incredibly high standards. He was not at his composed best, seemed a little more leggy than usual and even had his usual perfect hairdo come undone in the second half. And that was perhaps the most unanimous sign of all.
Gini Wijnaldum: 5/10
The Dutch midfielder did little to impose himself on the game. The Reds were overran in the middle of the park, and it’s not hard to see why when you can barely come up with one significant contribution Wijnaldum had during the game.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: 6/10
The Ox huffed and puffed throughout the 65 minutes he was on the pitch and was perhaps the brightest spark in our midfield trio. But based on the team’s performance yesterday, it was more of a case of being the best out of a bad bunch.
The Reds never stood a chance against Watford when none of the players actually showed up, with Fabinho not an exception. The Brazilian midfielder was slow in his passing and failed to dictate the tempo of the game. Perhaps he was missing Jordan Henderson in the midfield, whose mobility will be very much appreciated.
Sadio Mane: 5/10
Reds fans were all hoping for a little magic from Mané once again when all the chips were down, but the Senegalese winger was clearly overshadowed by his countryman Sarr. It’s a run of games now that Mane is not at his scintillating best, and Klopp can only hope for that to return soon.
Roberto Firmino: 5/10
You know you can always count on the Brazilian maverick for a moment or two of genuine quality even when he is not at his absolute best. But even that was missing today – no cheeky flicks or acute touches – Firmino was part of the toothless attack and had a hugely forgettable performance.
Mo Salah: 5/10
The Egyptian King failed to make a telling contribution throughout the game, losing his battle against the physical Adam Masina. We are not sure what is happening, but it seems like Premier League defences are increasingly finding ways to quell the threat of Salah.
Adam Lallana: 7/10
Came on for 30 minutes and had a much bigger impact on the game than any of his teammates. Showed the hunger and desire that was missing, as well as the usual deft touches. Almost scored with a cracking shot on his left foot.
Divock Origi: 5/10
The Belgian super-sub was dismal when he came on, giving the ball away on numerous occasions and was poor in the final third.
Takumi Minamino: 6/10
The Japanese international came on when the game was effectively over, but displayed nice touches and kept the ball well. Perhaps it is time he features more in Klopp’s plans, considering the form of some of his teammates.
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