Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp accused his players of losing their minds in the wake of their Premier League horror show against high-flying Watford at Vicarage Road yesterday.
A double from prolific hitman Odion Ighalo took the Nigerian’s top-flight tally to 12 for the season after on-loan Chelsea midfielder Nathan Ake had taken full advantage of a calamitous early error from Liverpool goalkeeper Adam Bogdan.
Klopp thought Ake’s opener, which stemmed from Bogdan dropping Ben Watson’s corner on his Liverpool league debut, should have been ruled out for an infringement, but refused to allow his charges to wriggle off the hook.
Liverpool’s showing was a far cry from their away-day thrashings of Chelsea and Manchester City, while the Reds have accrued 12 points from nine matches with Klopp in the hotseat, the same number as Brendan Rodgers managed from eight games.
“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,” said Klopp, whose side sit ninth, five points adrift of the Champions League places.
“We made bigger faults than the ref. But in my opinion, you have got to save the ball, you have to have both hands on the ball and he [Bogdan] had both hands on the ball, so it’s a foul. Mistakes, fouls, refs, whatever, can happen. That’s football.
“It was a bad start and really not the best reaction, not the best reaction to the goals. I would say hopefully it’s the most disappointing moment in my whole Liverpool FC life, from now. We don’t feel good today, of course.”
There were no such problems for immaculate Watford, who won their fourth consecutive top-flight match for the first time since April 1987, while their points tally of 28 equalled their haul during the entire 2006/07 season when they were last in the Premier League.
Watford face Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester City over the festive period, a contributing factor to manager Quique Flores remaining grounded, despite the Hornets surging to seventh place and just one point off the top four.
“Of course we want to dream but we want to remain humble,” he said. “We have a lot of matches and we never underestimate the teams we play. We are completely happy with the performance. It was an amazing victory against an amazing team.”
Hungarian Bogdan claimed he had two hands on the ball before Ake prodded home from close range for his first senior goal in the third minute, from where Ighalo assumed centre stage.
Ighalo and Watford skipper Troy Deeney have created more openings than any other pairing this term and the duo combined to bury Liverpool.
Ighalo latched onto Deeney’s 15th minute forward ball, held off Martin Skrtel and fired past Bogdan from a tight angle. The 26-year-old then headed substitute Valon Behrami’s cross beyond Bogdan with five minutes remaining to take him to 28 goals in 2015 -- best return in England’s professional leagues.