Arsenal’s record safe as Watford stun Liverpool and end 44-game unbeaten run

Ismaila Sarr scored twice as Liverpool's unbeaten run came to an end at Watford
Ismaila Sarr scored twice as Liverpool’s unbeaten run came to an end at Watford (Picture: Getty)

Ismaila Sarr scored twice as relegation threatened Watford recorded a stunning upset to end Liverpool’s marathon unbeaten run.

Jurgen Klopp’s side had gone 44 games without tasting defeat in the Premier League, just five matches short of Arsenal’s all-time English record, and had threatened to match Arsene Wenger’s 2003/04 Invincibles.

Liverpool nearly came unstuck at Anfield against West Ham on Monday night, coming from behind to edge a five-goal thriller, but they had no answer to a relentless Watford side who have been transformed under the management of Nigel Pearson.

Despite Tuesday’s FA Cup fifth round tie against Chelsea on the horizon, Klopp selected his strongest possible starting XI with only Joe Gomez absent through injury.

Liverpool lacked their usual cohesion, however, and failed to trouble Ben Foster during a largely subdued opening period, during which the home side carried the greater threat, even after Gerard Deulofeu was forced off with a serious knee injury.

Troy Deeney scored Liverpool's third goal in a stunning win over Liverpool
Troy Deeney scored Liverpool’s third goal in a stunning win over Liverpool (Picture: Getty)

A half-time pep talk from their manager failed to wake Liverpool from their slumber and the hosts deservedly took the lead in the 54th minute when Abdoulaye Doucoure latched onto a long throw and crossed for Sarr who prodded home from close range.

Watford’s record signing doubled the lead just six minutes later when he latched onto Troy Deeney’s through ball, outpaced the Liverpool defence and calmly chipped the ball over Alisson Becker.

Klopp responded by throwing on Adam Lallana and the former Southampton midfielder, who scored the equalising goal on the only other occasion the runaway leaders have dropped points this term at Old Trafford back in October, immediately threatened with a curling shot that thumped against the woodwork.

Shortly after that reprieve Watford killed the game when Trent Alexnader-Arnold’s errant backpass was collected by Sarr who kept his nerve and teed up Deeney for the clinching goal.

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