Virgil van Dijk says Liverpool defeat ‘not acceptable’ but Jurgen Klopp finds positive
Virgil van Dijk declared Liverpool’s 3-0 defeat at Watford “not acceptable” – even if his manager Jurgen Klopp opted to draw a positive from the shock result.
A second-half double from Ismaila Sarr put the Hornets in control before Troy Deeney sealed a stunning result that ended the Reds’ unbeaten run of 44 league games, meaning they fall short of matching Arsenal’s Invincibles from the 2003-04 campaign, who had gone the season and overall 49 matches without defeat.
Van Dijk cut a sombre figure in his post-match interview but insisted the defeat itself was harder to take than seeing their unbeaten run end.
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“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.
“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.
“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.”
Klopp: Well done Watford – but we weren’t good enough
Liverpool boss Klopp did not mince his words after his side’s 18-game winning run was halted in unexpected fashion at Vicarage Road.
“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.”
‘Forget the records – play free football’
The first Premier League loss for Liverpool in over a year does little to their hopes of winning the title, but while the Reds missed out on equalling Manchester City’s run of 19 straight top-flight wins, as well as matching Arsenal’s achievements, Klopp said he now hoped his players would be liberated to play “free football”.
“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,” he added at his post-match press conference.
“Tonight we were not good enough and it is not a plus for me that in history they will look back in 500 years and say Liverpool nearly did it.
“Nearly did it is not my main concern. We cannot change that and any time we will lose a game, we will lose a game.
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