London, March 1 (IANS) Liverpool’s star defender Virgil van Dijk termed the team’s 3-0 defeat at Watford as “not acceptable” and admitted it was a bitter pill to swallow after the result saw their unbeaten run in the English Premier League come to an end.
“First of all, credit to Watford,” Van Dijk told Sky Sports.
“They deserved it with the chances they created. They stuck to their plan. They scored three goals and I don’t think we created too many chances. We want to look to ourselves and we have to improve again. It is a tough one to take.”
Ismaila Sarr scored two goals in six second-half minutes before setting up captain Troy Deeney with a third one as they stunned the champions-elect.This was Liverpool’s first league loss of the season in their 28th match. It ended their hopes of going the whole league campaign unbeaten to match Arsenal’s feat of 2003-04 and Preston North End’s in 1888-89. It also saw their run of 44 league matches without defeat stretching back to January 2019 go up in smoke.
“The last game was one set piece and one good goal. Today, we should be better. If you look at the whole season, we have been good defensively. I think we have the most clean sheets in the league. The good thing about our mentality is that we will work to improve,” he said.
“It is not acceptable that we lose here 3-0. Losing hurts. The records are for the media. We never mentioned it.”We want to keep going and win the next game ahead of us and that is in the FA Cup and then we have Bournemouth at home. We want to strike back and show what we have been doing all season. That is the only way forward.”
“Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admitted the team was not good enough on the given day.”We were not good enough, simple as that,” he told Sky Sports.
“Watford did exactly what they wanted to do, we didn’t do exactly what we should have done.”
“First half was a lot of running, a lot of second balls, a lot of open situations, but we had more of the ball, but didn’t cross at the right moment, didn’t pass at the right moment because the positioning was not like it should have been.”
“We changed at half-time and we started immediately better, but then we conceded a goal, so before we could get the benefit of the better start we conceded a goal from a throw-in. It was exactly the game, a lot of moments which Watford wanted. Congratulations. Really well done and well deserved. We have to accept it.”
If Liverpool had won against Watford who started the day 55 points behind the runaway leaders, they would have surpassed champions Manchester City by creating a new English top-flight record of 19 successive league wins.
Liverpool though are still 22 points ahead of second-placed City, who have a game in hand. Watford moved out of the bottom three on goal difference into 17th place.