Villaflor: Reds falter anew

Noel Villaflor

A FEW columns ago, I asked whether Liverpool had peaked too soon.

This was after Liverpool, defending Champions League titlists, was stunned by Atletico Madrid, 1-0, at the Spanish club’s home ground in the Round of 16 last month.

And now another shocker: a 3-0 loss away to Watford in the English Premier League.

That’s two losses in its last three matches.

Watford, which was playing in the relegation zone, was fighting for dear life with only 11 matches left.

Up against Liverpool on Sunday, March 1, the club and its supporters must have expected things to stay the same.

Against Liverpool, which was unbeaten this season and was poised to win a record-breaking 19th straight win, Watford stood little chance of improving its lot.

How wrong everyone was.

As though straight from a movie script, manager Nigel Pearson’s squad fought as if their mere existence depended on this match.

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool played with only two changes in the lineup from their previous match.

The visitors dominated possession and passed the ball around more accurately than their opponents, and it looked like they would go on to break a record.

The Reds didn’t do much wrong except when and where it mattered.

Liverpool created half of the chances Watford made and was on target only once.

Watford, in contrast, made 14 shots, converting three of the five that were on target.

The minnows clearly wanted to win more badly, and so they get to fight another day.

Of course, Liverpool’s bid for the Premier League title is no way under threat.

The English giants are still 22 points clear of its nearest rival, Manchester City.

While the domestic title looks in the bag, Europe is where Liverpool is in danger of faltering with its current form.

Its blistering run up to this point could have taken its toll in the club.

Klopp talks about being unburdened now that there’s no more record to pursue.

It would be interesting how Klopp would deal with the burden of trying to win back-to-back Champions League titles.