Liverpool lost 3-0 away at Watford on Saturday. It’s a shocking result but it has been coming.
Liverpool were second best from kick-off, really. They failed to even have a shot on target by half-time and actually mustered just a single attempt in the opening 45.
Watford, on the other hand, threatened with seven attempts. They looked stronger, more aggressive and ready to score goals. You couldn’t say any of that about Liverpool.
And so the second-half played out as it did. Liverpool were 2-0 down by the hour mark and as they looked to get back into the game, conceded another. They were absolutely awful.
But despite this being their first defeat in over a year and the end of an 18-game winning streak, this has been in the pipeline.
We wrote after the West Ham game that Liverpool have a clear defensive problem. It’s been there since Fabinho replaced Jordan Henderson as the holding midfielder and it is a firm worry now.
The Reds have good chances against their last few opponents. Teams have been having more and more shots and shots from the box, too.
And if you look back over the season, you see games where Liverpool have struggled to score. They’ve relied on their defence at times, winning games 1-0 or 2-1 – just think back to Norwich recently.
Those two things were always going to combine for a result like this. One where Liverpool struggle to get a goal – usually the only goal needed – but struggled to keep opponents at bay.
It nearly happened against West Ham but they were able to find two goals – an example of their attack making up for a poor defence. It did not happen at Vicarage Road.
Watford earned their 3-0 win over Liverpool but the Reds let them in. Their strengths deserted them entirely – there was no wonderful defence to support the attack and no wonderful attack to support the defence.
And with the inconsistency recently, this was an inevitable result.