Liverpool’s defeat at Watford can be used as a moment to “restart”, according to Jürgen Klopp, who expects the experience to provide a jolt that helps them to recapture the dazzling form they have shown this season.
Klopp said their first Premier League defeat of the campaign, which followed a run of relatively sluggish performances, may have come at a good time to hone their focus for the next three months. The centre-back Dejan Lovren thought similarly and suggested Liverpool have lacked their usual aggression since the winter break.
When asked if defeat could be a kick up the backside, Klopp replied: “Yeah, why not? But none of us has just lost for the first time in our lives. We know how it feels. Still, you don’t want to have it. The reaction, you can hope for. We shall see in the next games.
“Sometimes a little knock is important. So I don’t see anything negative in it. From time to time if you are not good enough, you need to see [the] effect. Not good enough – what happens then? So restart. Maybe the longer the [undefeated] run goes maybe it becomes more important. But I didn’t see that today. Now it is over. We can start again with whatever we did before, and we will.”
Lovren, who had a difficult evening on his first Premier League appearance since 7 December, said the 3-0 defeat was “a proper wake-up call to everyone” and “like someone hit us in our faces”. He agreed recent performances lacked their usual vigour.
“I think the manager knows we are missing something,” he said. “I think it is about the aggression when we lose the ball and recovering the ball as quickly as possible. Always [Watford] were there for the second balls. We should look at this and realise we have to do much, much better.”
The intensity and discipline with which Watford performed might have suggested they spent a tough week perfecting their gameplan. But Troy Deeney, who scored their third goal and set up the second for Ismaïla Sarr, explained the manager, Nigel Pearson, had taken the heat off by turning down their workload.
“Do you want to know the God’s honest truth? This week was the least we’ve done,” Deeney said. “We had a yoga day on Thursday. We came away from the training ground and went to Nuffield [health centre] for a yoga and swimming day because the gaffer wanted to clear our minds. Everyone was putting too much pressure on this.
“That shows testament to the manager, man-managing and not getting caught up in the hype over ‘we have to win this game’. So we had our least demanding week in months.”
Deeney took pride in Watford’s assertive approach and said they had taken inspiration from one of the previous weekend’s sporting success stories. “We took heed from Tyson Fury,” he said. “We thought: ‘We’re going to go on the front foot and have it out with them.”