Belfast Telegraph

Angry Klopp let down by Liverpool flops against on fire Watford

Watford 3-0 Liverpool

By Jack Pitt Brooke

Jurgen Klopp never wants his Liverpool team to play as badly again as they did in losing at Watford yesterday.

The manager was clearly disappointed with how his players failed to recover from conceding an early goal, saying that they "lost their mind" and condemning the "big space" between their pre-match hopes and how they performed.

Klopp claimed left-back Nathan Ake fouled stand-in goalkeeper Adam Bogdan for the first goal, but accepted Liverpool "made bigger faults" as Odion Ighalo's brace condemned the visitors to a four-game winless streak.

The German boss admitted it may have been a mistake to leave Christian Benteke on the bench in north London, but downplayed rumours the Belgium striker could join Chelsea in January.

Asked if it was the worst Liverpool had played during his tenure so far, Klopp said he never wanted his team to drop to this level again.

"I would say hopefully it is the most disappointing moment in my whole Liverpool FC life, from now," Klopp said.

"We don't feel good today, of course, because we came here to do something really different to what you saw.

"There was a big space between what we wanted to do and what you saw.

"That is what we have to fill before the next game against Leicester."

Liverpool never got over Watford's opening goal, when Miguel Britos appeared to kick the ball out of Bogdan's hands, and Klopp criticised their failure to react to adversity.

"He (Bogdan) had both hands on the ball, so it's a foul. I think that's the situation. Mistakes, fouls, refs, whatever, can happen," said Klopp.

"That's football. The reaction has to be better. We lost our mind after the first goal, we lost our compact formation after the first goal.

"We didn't play easy, as we should have done. The pitch is not the best one, but it's possible to play football if you play easy football."

This was the third Premier League defeat of Klopp's time in charge of Liverpool since he took over in October, and Klopp admitted he was still trying to help his team find some consistency.

"After Southampton (6-1 win), everybody thought 'wow', and after Manchester City (4-1 win), but that was one part of what we can do, one side.

"Now we saw completely the other side. Maybe the truth is somewhere in the middle.

"We have to work so that it's more on the Manchester City, Southampton, Chelsea performances.

"I know how strong this team can be. It's my job to help them so they can show it much more often than we have.

The easy games, everybody wins. The difficult games, we have to win much more often than we have until now."

Liverpool were rendered toothless in attack by Klopp's decision to field Roberto Firmino as a false nine.

Ighalo and Troy Deeney's deadly double act in Watford's 4-4-2 exacerbated Liverpool's absent cutting edge as the visitors failed to fire.

Divock Origi replaced the injured Martin Skrtel in a total formation re-jig just before half-time, but not even adding a focal point could alter the outcome.

Klopp conceded that with hindsight he may have selected a different starting line-up, but in the same breath defended his right to rotate his squad.

"That's the next problem. If you lose the games everyone is allowed to ask why this player didn't play, when they wouldn't after you win," said Klopp, when quizzed on why Benteke was on the bench.

"So okay maybe it was not the best decision, I don't know. We will never find out, but for today I decide first for Christian, then for Divock, then for Christian. It's up to the players to change this."

Quique Sanchez Flores was delighted with Watford's fourth consecutive league win.

"I am really pleased with the desire the whole team showed," he said.

"I have had the feeling since the first day that this group of players has a big soul, that we can be competitive."

Watford are now just one point behind Manchester United, but the manager urged them not to lose sight of their goal of survival in their first year back in the Premier League.

"It would be a very big mistake (to change targets)," Sanchez Flores said.

"We have to stick to the ideas of the club, which are very clever, very clear. We are just thinking about growing Watford.

"We need to establish ourselves in the Premier League, this is what the fans need, and Watford needs.

"To lose perspective would be a very, very bad thing for us."

Watford: Gomes, Nyom, Cathcart, Britos, Ake, Abdi (Behrami 80), Watson, Capoue, Jurado (Anya 76), Ighalo (Guedioura 88), Deeney

Subs Not Used: Oulare, Holebas, Diamanti, Arlauskis

Booked: Britos

Goals: Ake 3, Ighalo 15, 85

Liverpool: Bogdan, Clyne, Skrtel (Origi 41), Sakho, Moreno, Henderson, Lucas,Can, Lallana (Ibe 74), Firmino (Benteke 74), Coutinho

Subs Not Used: Toure, Allen, Fulton, Randall

Man of the Match: Odion Ighalo

Match rating: 8/10

Attendance: 20,707

Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear)

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