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Sports And More! Are the Wheels Falling Off Liverpool’s Wagon?

Are the Wheels Falling Off Liverpool’s Wagon
“The greatest ever Liverpool squad”, “the best team in the Premier League”, “unstoppable”.
Football pundits couldn’t sing the praises of Liverpool enough as they charged through the 2019/20 season with a win from all of their games, apart from one draw against Manchester United.

There was talk of them ending the season with 112 points, which would be the highest number ever achieved in the history of the Premier League. Liverpool would be ending their 30 year league title drought in style, by not losing a single game all year.

But then it came to an abrupt stop. Just like anyone who’s ever traveled by train from the north into London knows, there’s always disruption around Watford. 
For Liverpool though, the disruption came in the form of a crushing 3-0 defeat, instead of problems with overhead power cables. 

It was a game that Liverpool should have easily won, yet they seemed lackluster throughout. On the other hand, Watford are fighting for their place in the Premier League, having sat in the relegation zone for most of the season. Their 3-0 victory against the Reds was enough to push them up into that important 17th place. 

A Blip, Or Something More?

Liverpool would have had the longest ever run of straight victories had they beaten Watford. Instead, they sit tied at 18 with Manchester City. This is the second time they’ve come close to the record. They had a run of 17 wins, before they drew against Manchester United at the beginning of the season. 

Is the 3-0 loss the sign of trouble at Anfield, or was it simply a bad day for Jürgen Klopp? The answer may be neither of those things. 

Title Charge Unaffected

Liverpool are now 25 points ahead of Manchester City, and only need to win a few more games to secure the Premier League title this season. A single loss is unlikely to be the cause of (or the sign that) Liverpool will suddenly lose the remainder of their games. In fact, they won their next Premier League game against Bournemouth.

Odds Unaffected

Liverpool's loss against Watford hasn't affected the odds offered by major bookmakers. In their upcoming games, including the Merseyside Derby against Everton, the Reds remain clear favourites to win

They also continue to be clear favourites for the Premier League title, with odds of around 1.01, demonstrating how confident bookmakers are that they’ll win this year.

Not the First Loss

Liverpool’s loss against Watford was not their first in recent weeks. They also lost against Atlético Madrid in the first leg of the round of 16 in the Champions League, and were defeated 2-0 against Chelsea in the FA Cup 5th round.

The Champions League loss can be turned around in the second leg at Anfield, but the FA Cup loss means Liverpool are out of that competition this season. Perhaps it’s down to complete focus on the Premier League, due to the strong desires of Liverpool fans and the club to win that more than anything, or perhaps it was just luck that the Premier League winning streak lasted so long. 

A Henderson Shaped Hole

Jordan Henderson’s hamstring injury, which he picked up in the match against Atlético Madrid, has seen him miss each of these losing games. 

He is a key figure in the squad, setting the high tempo and strategic thinking that have been a crucial factor in Liverpool’s dominance this season. Despite other quality players like Sadio Mane and Mo Salah, with him absent, these players were clearly missing leadership, particularly in the Watford game. 

The good news for Liverpool fans is that Henderson will likely be back for the 2nd leg game against Atlético Madrid.

Loss is a Positive?

Liverpool are no longer carrying the burden of trying to beat the record of most consecutive wins, nor are they under pressure to win the Premier League without a single loss all season.

According to Klopp, the Reds now can just focus on winning each individual game and securing the Premier League and perhaps the Champions League titles. Therefore, a significant amount of pressure has been lifted from the shoulders of every player.

With less pressure, and Henderson coming back from injury, it would be unwise to write Liverpool off any time soon. 
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