English Premier League leaders Liverpool ended their unbeaten run after they fell to 19th-placed rivals Watford on Saturday.
The match, which was Liverpool’s 28th league game, ended 3-0 in favour of The Hornets.
Coach Jurgen Klopp’s side recorded their first defeat of the season after winning 26 of their last 27 league matches with one draw.
The match had ended in a goalless draw in half time before Ismaila Sarr’s double and Troy Deeney’s strike, all in less than 20 minutes, dashed Liverpool’s hopes of winning the title unbeaten unlike ‘The Invisibles’ of 2003-04 season.
It was the first time the Champions League title holders would fall to a defeat in the Premier League since January 2019.
Despite the loss, Klopp’s men still enjoy a 22-point lead at the top of the table, although their sluggish return from a two-week winter break earlier in February was finally punished.
The Big Win
After single-goal victories over struggling Norwich and West Ham either side of a Champions League defeat at Atletico Madrid, Liverpool were thrashed by a relegation-threatened side at Vicarage Road.
A 55-point gap separated the sides before kick-off, but the out-of-sorts visitors failed to muster even a single effort on goal in the first 45 minutes.
Gerard Deulofeu’s dipping effort just did not come down in time as it landed on the roof of the net before he teed up Abdoulaye Doucoure, who saw his shot deflected behind by Virgil van Dijk.
Deulofeu then had to be stretchered off with a nasty looking knee injury that seems certain to end his season.
Watford’s heads did not drop without one of their most dangerous players, though, as only Alisson Becker’s fleetness of foot allowed the Brazilian international to save from Deeney deep into first-half stoppage time.
Andy Robertson’s driven effort finally forced Ben Foster into a save early in the second half, but just as Liverpool were beginning to build up a head of steam, they were stung by two quick strikes by Sarr.
Firstly, the Senegalese beat Robertson to Doucoure’s low cross to stab home at the near post.
Six minutes later, Sarr had too much pace for a flat-footed Liverpool defence as he raced onto Deeney’s through ball and showed fantastic composure to lift the ball over the advancing Alisson.
Sarr also had a big part to play in Watford’s third as he pounced on a short passback and had the vision to pick out Deeney, who lofted the ball nonchalantly over Alisson to make it 3-0.
Watford had thrown away a lead in three of their last four Premier League games to fall back into the bottom three.
But they never looked in any danger of doing so again as they moved back out of the relegation zone on goal difference.
Sarr should even have had a famous hat-trick with his final touch as he curled wide when one-on-one with Alisson.
However, that was the only gloss missing from a glorious night for Watford as Liverpool remain four wins away from the title. (AFP)