There won’t be any tears in the Liverpool dressing-room about failing to become Invincibles. Being part of the first Liverpool team to be crowned English champions for 30 years will far overshadow that.
And they still have plenty more statistics to chase – most notably eclipsing Manchester City‘s 100 points. That’s an even greater achievement than remaining unbeaten because you have to win, rather than simply not lose.
In hindsight, you could say that this defeat at Watford had been coming, given that Liverpool’s form has been less convincing since the winter break. But nobody could have predicted 3-0.
Jurgen Klopp (left) may rest some of his stars for Liverpool’s FA Cup tie against Chelsea
Mo Salah (left) and Sadio Mane may be omitted after Liverpool’s shock 3-0 loss at Watford
Rather than any single factor, it was due to a collective lull from the team, coupled with plenty of pace and courage from Watford. Give them credit. The result won’t stop Liverpool winning the title but it may have a knock-on effect to how they approach other competitions, notably the FA Cup.
I can’t pretend to know Jurgen Klopp’s thinking but if Liverpool had beaten Watford, he might have picked a stronger team for their cup-tie at Chelsea on Tuesday, knowing he could then give some players a rest at home to Bournemouth on Saturday.
His plans might change now. The Bournemouth game is important so that one blip doesn’t extend into a run. The famous front three of Salah, Firmino and Mane might be needed for Anfield next Saturday and then Atletico Madrid. Hence, the FA Cup tie could see a weakened line-up again, even if it reduces Liverpool’s chances of winning the Treble.
Two goals from Ismail Sarr (right) ended the Reds’ 44-game unbeaten run at Vicarage Road
There will be head-scratching at how Liverpool lost, but we should not go overboard. Klopp was probably amazed their run of 26 wins in 27 games lasted as long as it did. It was unprecedented.
I’m a big fan of the leadership Jordan Henderson provides and the defensive qualities of Joe Gomez, but their absence can’t be given as a main reason. This team have coped well with injuries all season. Maybe the winter break didn’t have the desired effect because since they returned, they’ve scraped past Norwich and West Ham, lost to Atletico and now let in three at Watford.