EPL: Watford End Liverpool’s Run With Shock Win
WATFORD caused a monumental upset after becoming the first team to beat Liverpool in the Premier League this season with Ismaila Sarr’s second-half double helping to condemn the league leaders to a stunning 3-0 loss at Vicarage Road on Saturday.
Sarr nipped in to break the deadlock after 54 minutes, before then racing through to double the Hornets’ lead six minutes later.
Watford captain Troy Deeney rounded off the incredible scoreline after taking advantage of yet more sluggish defending from the visitors with 18 minutes left to play.
Nigel Pearson’s side move out of the relegation zone thanks to a first league win since December 28, while Liverpool remain 22 points ahead of Manchester City, albeit having now played a game more than the champions.
Liverpool arrived in Hertfordshire needing just four more wins to claim a first top-flight title in 30 years, not that you would have known it from the opening 45 minutes.
The visitors produced a strangely laboured and disjointed display before the break as Watford – who started the match a massive 55 points behind the league leaders – harried them into distraction.
The returning Dejan Lovren – in for injured centre-back Joe Gomez for his first league start since December 7 – in particular looked rusty at the heart of the back-line in the first half, with Watford unfortunate not to be ahead at half-time.
Gerard Deulofeu curled one early effort inches over the bar, while minutes later Abdoulaye Doucoure saw his close-range effort crucially blocked by Virgil van Dijk as the home team looked to get after their opponents.
It was Deulofeu who was causing Liverpool’s defence most problems, that is until the Spanish forward came off worse after a clash with Van Dijk just past the half-hour mark that saw the influential player stretchered off.
Watford came desperately close to taking the lead in first-half stoppage time after a scramble in the box saw Alisson spill the ball straight at the feet of Deeney, only for the Brazilian to make amends by reacting smartly to then block the striker’s close-range effort.
Lovren allowed a long throw to bounce in the box without realising Doucoure was behind him, with the midfielder then squaring for Sarr to convert from close range and the forward soon had a second.