Watford 3-0 Liverpool: Jürgen Klopp’s reaction

Jürgen Klopp felt Watford were deserved winners as Liverpool suffered a first Premier League defeat of the season with a 3-0 reversal at Vicarage Road on Saturday night.

The Reds saw a 44-match unbeaten run – and an 18-game winning streak – brought to a halt by the Hornets as an Ismaila Sarr brace and a Troy Deeney strike secured victory for the hosts on an evening to forget for the visitors.

Klopp acknowledged his side were far from the outstanding levels they’ve set themselves over the past two seasons, but believes the hosts are deserving of plenty of praise for the manner in which they took the game to their opponents.

Nevertheless, the manager is certain Liverpool will show the right reaction to their disappointment as they get ready to go again in the league and cup competitions, starting at Chelsea on Tuesday evening.

Read on for a transcript of what Klopp had to say in his post-match press conference…

On the result and the performances of the teams…

I am not surprised by the performance because it would mean I have never seen something like that before – and I have seen it a lot of times. So, what I can say, I think 3-0 is a bit harsh but we had a big hand in that, so we don’t have to think about that. We have to start with the most important thing and that is congratulate Watford, well deserved – that is what should be the headline. We didn’t perform like we should have and Watford performed exactly how they wanted. First half, there were little football things that didn’t work out for us like from where we wanted to cross, from where we wanted to pass, when we wanted to play the balls in behind, when we used the runs – things we usually do naturally right, we didn’t do it right tonight so that makes a game already pretty intense, where you think ‘it’s not an easy one today’. I knew it before it was not easy but then you really feel it.

We spoke about the football things at half-time and I really liked the start in the second half, the reaction was good and exactly like it should be. Our position was different, we mixed it on the wing a little bit more, we mixed it up a little bit more but then we conceded the first goal and not long after that we conceded the second one. Both goals were completely different – one is a throw-in, a bouncing ball, Troy [Deeney] used his body again in that situation, so we cannot defend that ball. The second one, we lose the ball, they pass the ball and Sarr is on his bike and scores a really nice one. The third one we gave away pretty much by ourselves, but in the end it was still a nice finish from Troy Deeney. We had not enough chances, we didn’t create enough and that’s what leads then to a defeat, that’s how football is. It has nothing to do with games you won before, it has nothing to do with the games you will win, it is just this one football game unfortunately. For tonight, we have to admit Watford were the better team.

On whether Liverpool’s unbeaten record being ended is a disappointment for him…

Not really, because I don’t think you can break records because you want to break records. You break records because you are 100 per cent focused on each step you have to do, whatever record it is – a marathon or whatever – and for that you have to perform. The boys performed and that’s why we won the games, but tonight we were not good enough and that’s not now a plus for me that I think in history, when they look back in 500 years and will say ‘Liverpool nearly did it’. That’s not my main concern, you cannot change that and it was always clear, sometime we would lose a game. We didn’t wait for it, but it was clear it would happen – we didn’t think about it, but we knew it would happen and tonight it happened. Now I see it rather positive because the closer you come to these records… I am not bothered, but I am not sure how other people think about it, so now on we can play free football again, we don’t have to defend or try to get a record, we can just try to win football games again and that is what we will do.

On whether tiredness was a factor in the Reds’ display and the final scoreline…

No, no, nothing with tiredness. All teams have the same. It is normal in football. Shape is not something that you can take for granted, form is not something you can take for granted. My team, why do we have the amount of points [we have]? Because we fought against each little feeling in the body, when the concentration level looked like it would drop, we fought against that, against fortune, against everything and that’s why we have the amount of points. Other teams do the same but in this season couldn’t get the same amount of points, that’s because it’s so difficult. It’s not easy to explain why tonight it didn’t happen for us, but it should not be now the biggest sensation in world football that it happened.

We play only against teams who fight with all they have for their own targets, now Watford was really the first team who could really use that. If you ask me what was the biggest surprise, the performance or the result, the biggest surprise for me is that Watford fights for staying in the league, that’s incredible with the quality they have and stuff like this – not that I want to put pressure now on them. But the other teams as well: West Ham when we played there, we were clearly better but then the home game, wow, they had new players in or whatever and it looks different because now is the moment when everyone is fighting like crazy. We fight already for the whole season like crazy and tonight we lost that battle. What can I say now, that it’s not acceptable or whatever? We don’t think it’s not so important because we won so many games but we don’t think as well that it’s the biggest catastrophe in the world of football. We feel the defeat really, it’s absolutely exactly the opposite of what we wanted to have. We have to feel that and now we have the chance to show a reaction again and that’s what we will do.

Whatever you will do with it, do it. I heard it already in other interviews that some people saw it coming, they asked me if I saw it coming – no, only because the last game was not the most convincing in our career together that doesn’t mean the next one has to be the same. You can always change things, that’s how it is. If you win a game 5-0, that doesn’t mean that you win 5-0 again or it would be an easy one just because you have a bit more confidence. So, we fought and played the games game by game so far and that will continue. That the series is over or that some records are not possible anymore, it’s not that we wanted that but it’s not really my concern.

On whether he will not criticise his side due to the outstanding season they have played overall…

We criticise them all the time, we criticised them after the United game, the Leicester game, the Man City game – criticism is not somebody telling you are too silly to play football, criticism is telling somebody what went wrong. That’s what we do constantly and we will not change that now because of that. I know maybe a little bit which direction your question goes, but how I said: we win a game and after the game the boys immediately get a five-minute summary of what I have seen already or what is still in my mind about the game. Everybody can then leave the dressing room straight because I am not shouting at them, I didn’t do it today, I didn’t do it after other games, but criticism can happen all the time. We never stopped being critical with ourselves.

On whether the 44-game unbeaten run is made a better achievement by the strength of the Premier League from top to bottom…

I am not celebrating a 44-game run, I don’t know the number. I am not interested, but I know things like this are really difficult because the boys have to beat everything: each little pain, big time, each inner voice, each voice from outside, stuff like this, the influence from everywhere – you cannot lose anymore, you cannot do all that stuff. That’s the world so we have to stay on track. What the boys did so far is exceptional, but it is not over. That is the only thing I am interested in, it’s not over. We will go again, I promise 100 per cent and then we will see where it leads us to. We didn’t expect the number of games we won but we are not that surprised that it’s possible because the boys showed last year already a pretty impressive season. But it was never easy, it will never be easy so now let’s carry on.

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