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WATFORD 29-02-20 PL (A)

Another game against a relegation threatened team tomorrow evening.  Usually there are a few easy games at this time of the season with several teams having little to play for, but this season it seems those not fighting relegation are striving for a European place, especially if City's ban holds.  Watford gave us a hard game at Anfield but that was Nigel Pearson's first game in charge.  The "new manager bounce" has gone flat in their last few games.  That's not to say they won't give us a hard game, especially, if we play as we did for an hour against West Ham.  I'm sure Klopp will be looking for an improved performance over our last three.  I think the key will be whether our midfield can dominate without Henderson.  I would only make one change from West Ham - Oxlade-Chamberlain for Keita.  My team would be:

Alisson

Trent Gomez VVD Robertson

Ox Fabinho Wijnaldum

Salah Firmino Mane

That should be good enough to overcome Watford but we can't keep scraping single goal wins and we need to start being more ruthless around goal.

 

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  • The most disappointing aspect of that defeat was that no part of the team functioned at anything like their usual level. Some pundits are criticising Lovren in particular, and while he was dire, especially in his positional play, the rest of the players were little better. The way we have been playing since the winter break meant a defeat was always likely at some stage, but the size of the defeat (and it could have been worse) was a surprise. These performances happen even to the best teams. I recall the great team of the 70's having the occasional implosion (5-0 at Wolves), but they always came back strong. I doubt Klopp will alter his plans for a mix and match team against Chelsea in the FA Cup but the Bournemouth game next Saturday must see three points and a much improved performance.
    • If any player can have an excuse for the way they played it's Lovren because he's had so little game time, making him the sacrificial lamb for that display distracts from the real issues. The reality is for a while the results have been getting less and less convincing, we've been getting over the line but only just. One of two things was likely to happen - we'd either have an epiphany and a big win or we'd collapse and have big loss. I was hoping it'd be the former but, alas, it was the latter. But, ironically, I can't help feeling for the sake of the cup competitions and putting the PL to bed we needed to either win big or lose big because the path we were on wasn't sustainable. Klopp's style of play requires intensity and focus and I think the more comfortable we became at the top of the table the more those qualities started to ebb away slightly which, given human nature, is completely understandable. The problem is when you come against teams like Norwich, West Ham and Watford who are fighting for survival that dropoff in intensity, focus and physicality is uncomfortably clear. My hope is that now the Liverpool team will feel they have something to react against, the criticism should feel bruising after months of adulation. This defeat may turn out to be a blessing if it helps us to rediscover our edge for the rest of the season.
  • After our mid season break, we have been poor against Norwich and West Ham and this one here is our worst performance of the season. Before this game took place I had a strong feeling this wasn't going to be an easy game for us but I never expected that we have shipped three goals in our end and credit goes to Watford especially they were the better side than us today.

    The unbeaten record is over and done with and there is nothing we can do about it. James Milner should have played tonight and he would have been the old style battle-axe warrior similar to Henderson. It may had made a difference if he was in the starting 11. It doesn't matter now and our target is to reach 91 points to claim the title which means 4 wins or perhaps if we can reach 88 points with three wins and Manure defeats City something in March.

    Still I am disappointed but the most important thing right now is for the team to regroup and focus on the FA Cup against Chelsea Tuesday week March 3rd.
    • I was disappointed by how much we got bullied in the game, we were too hesitant to engage in a lot of situations whereas Watford threw themselves into everything (too much so, it could be argued, they could've seen a couple of red cards). Perhaps it's not surprising the team aren't fighting tooth and nail for wins, like they did earlier in the season, as they're so far ahead but it really shows when you come up against a team that are fighting hard for their survival in the league.
      • Yes I agree, definitely at least two of their players should had been carded in the first half whether it's red or yellow. And when you step back and think about it, this is our second PL defeat between January 2019 to February 2020 so it's not a bad record comparing to the remaining 19 teams that has lost 6 and more games in that length of time so we shouldn't be hard on ourselves over this defeat even though it's disappointing.
        • We all knew a defeat would come at some point, especially as we've ridden our luck of late, and it doesn't undo all the good work that's gone before but I think it was the manner of the defeat that's made it harder to swallow. We're used to one or two players having an off game but for nearly a whole team to be so poor is very unusual, especially when compared to Liverpool's high standards. No player deserves lynching because of this game but they can certainly expect a lot of discussion about it, particularly as performances like this are so rare from us.
          • When you read other forums there are so many lynch mobs out there making up s--- for which is very sad. No player deserves a lynching and it was just a bad day in the office and we'll regroup again for the next game and that's all I am concerned.
            • Exactly. To be honest, given the trajectory of recent performances I wasn't overly surprised this was the game where we really faltered and I'm kind of glad we've got that inevitable loss out of the way, it means the squad have something to really motivate them again. Thankfully we've reached that point while we're still in the Champions League and the FA Cup, it's now up to Klopp and his staff to channel the experience of losing into the motivation needed for victories in the cups.
  • If we're being honest with ourselves we can't say that result wasn't coming. We'd stopped doing the things that were winning us games - teams are out-pressing us, our tempo has been too ponderous, our passing has been too inaccurate, our decision-making has been poor and our defensive organisation has been woeful. I don't think the cause of this has been one single factor, I think it's been the combination of our league lead taking pressure off us while other teams have been put under more pressure, the loss of experienced/commanding players like Henderson and Milner, injuries to specifically important players like Gomez, and perhaps a little bit of the players believing the hype that surrounds them. The one positive that may come from this is that there's still time for the team to refind their form before the Atletico game if they're prepared to learn the lessons.
    • Is Milner still injured?
This reply was deleted.

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