Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says he hopes his team can now return to playing free football after been put under pressure of going unbeaten for a full season. The German added his players have established themselves as superstars after going unbeaten for more than six months.
FutballNews reports that the defeat to Watford is Liverpool’s first defeat in 44 Premier League matches. The Reds have won 26 games, draw one and lost one this season. Liverpool has also won 18 successive league games, one shy of a new Premier League record.
The Reds were hoping to set a record ahead of Saturday’s match at Vicarage Road but they were stunned by a more compact and motivated Watford side. The Hornets put up a superb display with Ismaila Sarr scoring his first brace for his team and an assist for Troy Deeney’s winner in the 73rd minute.
Despite the defeat, Liverpool still lead the table with 22 points clear and are still on course to win their first Premier League title. The loss is likely not going to have any major effect on their title charge, but it means Liverpool will not be able to match Arsenal’s unbeaten record in Premier League history.
Speaking to reporters after the match, Klopp said the defeat to Watford could actually prove beneficial to Liverpool and release his side from undue pressure.
He said: “We were going to lose a game at some time, and we didn’t wait for it but it was clear it would happen.
“Tonight it happened and I see it rather positive that we got close to these records.
“Now we can play free football again and don’t have to try to get a record. We just have to try to win football games again, and that’s what we will do.
“I am not celebrating a 44-game run. Some people have said other numbers, and I’m not sure which is the right one because I don’t care who is right. I don’t know, I’m not interested.
“But I know things like this are really difficult because the boys have to be absolutely everything. Tiredness wasn’t a problem, no. Shape isn’t something you can take for granted, form isn’t something you can take for granted.
“Why do we have the number of points we have? Because we fought against each little feeling in the body when it was like this or that or our concentration level looked like it would drop, against misfortune, everything. That’s why we have the amount of points we have.
“Other teams did the same but couldn’t get the same amount of points because it’s so difficult. It’s not easy to explain why tonight it didn’t happen for us, but it shouldn’t be the biggest sensation in world football.
“We lost that battle. What can I say now, that it’s not acceptable? It’s not that we don’t think it’s important because we won so many games, but we don’t think it’s the biggest catastrophe in the world of football.”
Also speaking on his side’s performance, Watford boss Nigel Pearson commended his players for beating Liverpool and end their unbeaten run. He added that he is eager to ensure the win is not for nothing and his side avoid relegation.
“To beat the best club side in the world at the moment is testament to how we played,” he said. “So, it’s very satisfying, but it’s just one game.
“We’ve got 10 games left and they’re all going to be very important. We’ve got to try to emulate what we’ve done today in terms of performance.
“I’m really proud of the players and they should be really proud of how they’ve coped with a difficult situation.
“In the context of our season, it’s a really important three points. We knew we would have to be at our best today, and I think we were.”