With football no closer to being resumed as the coronavirus pandemic continues, players across Europe's top-five leagues have lots of time to pore over their performances from this season.

Using Opta data, we have already examined some of the worst attacking numbers from 2019-20, so now it's the turn of those ball-playing technicians: the pass-masters.

We have analysed nine key metrics for outfield players to play in at least 10 league games this season, thereby giving us a good summary of those whose passing could use some improvement. Those metrics are focused on the number of passes (overall, in a player's own half and their opponent's half), the accuracy of those passes, corners and crosses, and losing possession.

As always when it comes to data, context is key. For instance, we have included overall accuracy percentages to give balance to the simple number of passes. A team's playmaker or set-piece taker, for example, is arguably more likely to have a larger number of misplaced passes than team-mates simply because he will be attempting more of them, and often in difficult areas.

It's also worth noting that the number of times possession has been lost excludes 'Hoofs' (which, by their nature, make losing the ball more common), while corner and crossing accuracy is taken only from those to attempt, on average, at least one per game.

That said, the below gives a good indication of some passing figures that need improvement - and there are one or two surprising names...

THE WORST PASSING STATS IN EUROPE'S TOP-FIVE LEAGUES 2019-20:

BUNDESLIGA:

Most passes failed: Robert Andrich (291)
Worst passing accuracy: Anthony Modeste (55.4 per cent)
Most passes failed, own half: Jamilu Collins (110)
Worst passing accuracy, own half: Kai Proger (60.5 per cent)
Most passes failed, opposition half: Sebastian Andersson (215)
Worst passing accuracy, opposition half: Anthony Modeste (42.1 per cent)
Most corners/crosses failed: Filip Kostic (199)
Worst corners/crosses accuracy (minimum 10): Wendell (0 of 22)
Most times possession lost: Filip Kostic (616)

LALIGA:

Most passes failed: Leandro Cabrera (352)
Worst passing accuracy: Enric Gallego (48.6 per cent)
Most passes failed, own half: Pervis Estupinan (94)
Worst passing accuracy, own half: Sergio Leon (57.1 per cent)
Most passes failed, opposition half: Joselu (283)
Worst passing accuracy, opposition half: Leandro Cabrera (43.5 per cent)
Most corners/crosses failed: Jesus Navas (134)
Worst corners/crosses accuracy (minimum 10): Karim Benzema (0 of 19)
Most times possession lost: Pervis Estupinan (534)

LIGUE 1:

Most passes failed: Issiaga Sylla (281)
Worst passing accuracy: Suk Hyun-jun (44.8 per cent)
Most passes failed, own half: Fabien Centonze (111)
Worst passing accuracy, own half: Suk Hyun-jun (50 per cent)
Most passes failed, opposition half: Andy Delort (238)
Worst passing accuracy, opposition half:  Suk Hyun-jun (44.4 per cent)
Most corners/crosses failed: Mathieu Dossevi (142)
Worst corners/crosses accuracy (minimum 10): M'Baye Niang (0 of 11)
Most times possession lost: Angel Di Maria (539)

PREMIER LEAGUE:

Most passes failed: Trent Alexander-Arnold (480)
Worst passing accuracy: Christian Benteke (52.4 per cent)
Most passes failed, own half: Cesar Azpilicueta (132)
Worst passing accuracy, own half: Matej Vydra (50 per cent)
Most passes failed, opposition half:  Trent Alexander-Arnold (359)
Worst passing accuracy, opposition half: Christian Benteke (48 per cent)
Most corners/crosses failed:  Trent Alexander-Arnold (246)
Worst corners/crosses accuracy (minimum 10): Gabriel Martinelli (0 of 22)
Most times possession lost:  Trent Alexander-Arnold (867)

SERIE A:

Most passes failed: Stefano Sabelli (324)
Worst passing accuracy: Lautaro Martinez (59.5 per cent)
Most passes failed, own half: Stefano Sabelli (94)
Most passes failed, opposition half: Stefano Sabelli (230)
Worst passing accuracy, own half: Florian Aye (58.5 per cent)
Worst passing accuracy, opposition half: Roberto Inglese (54 per cent)
Most corners/crosses failed: Erick Pulgar (134)
Worst corners/crosses accuracy (minimum 10): Kevin Lasagna (0 from 13)
Most possession lost: Stefano Sabelli (494)

AND THE TOP NINE:

Most passes failed: Trent Alexander-Arnold (480)
Worst passing accuracy: Suk Hyun-jun (44.8 per cent)
Most passes failed, own half: Cesar Azpilicueta (132)
Worst passing accuracy, own half: Suk Hyun-jun and Matej Vydra (50 per cent)
Most passes failed, opposition half: Trent Alexander-Arnold (359)
Worst passing accuracy, opposition half: Anthony Modeste (42.1 per cent)
Most corners/crosses failed: Trent Alexander-Arnold (246)
Worst corners/crosses accuracy (minimum 10): Wendell and Gabriel Martinelli (0 of 22)
Most times possession lost: Trent Alexander-Arnold (867)

As the world continues to battle against the coronavirus pandemic, football fans across the globe face another weekend scratching around for something to fill the void.

The domestic calendar in England was halted last week in a bid to reduce social gatherings and the Football Association confirmed its leagues would not return until at least the end of April.

While we cannot say for sure how this weekend's Premier League fixtures would have gone, our friends at Opta have come up with a system to predict the outcomes.

What chance would your team have had? Take a look below.

 

Predictor explainer:

The Opta Predictor estimates the probability of each match outcome (win, draw or loss) given each team's attacking and defensive quality. The team's attacking and defensive qualities are based on four years of historic results, with more weighting given to their most recent results. The model will take into account the quality of the opposition that a team scores or concedes against and reward them accordingly.


 

BURNLEY v WATFORD

Home win: 49 per cent
Draw: 26 per cent
Away win: 25 per cent

Watford may have handed Liverpool their first defeat of the Premier League season, but with just one victory in their past three visits to Turf Moor it is Burnley who are expected to win by the predictor. Sean Dyche's side have gone unbeaten in seven top-flight matches to move into a more comfortable position in the middle of the table.

CHELSEA v MANCHESTER CITY

Home win: 30 per cent
Draw: 24 per cent
Away win: 46 per cent

Manchester City are the pick to prevail at Stamford Bridge, a ground where Pep Guardiola has lost on two of his three Premier League visits. Kevin De Bruyne's winner in September 2017 fired City's charge to a 100-point title romp but goals from N'Golo Kante and David Luiz saw the Blues hand Guardiola's men the first league defeat of their triumphant 2018-19 campaign. Kante and De Bruyne were both on target when the sides met at the Etihad Stadium back in November, before Riyad Mahrez sealed a 2-1 comeback win for the hosts.

LEICESTER CITY v BRIGHTON

Home win: 62 per cent
Draw: 22 per cent
Away win: 16 per cent

Brighton won at Arsenal back in December, but that was just one of two away victories for the Seagulls so far in the Premier League this season, so their prospects at Leicester were inevitably looking bleak. After a worrying slump, Leicester looked to have rediscovered their mojo by the time the league ground to a halt, with Jamie Vardy back on the goal trail following a drought. Leicester’s nine wins at the King Power Stadium this term looked highly likely to become 10.

LIVERPOOL v CRYSTAL PALACE

Home win: 76 per cent win
Draw: 16 per cent
Away win: 8 per cent

A predicted triumph for Liverpool at Anfield is by no means a surprise given they are on a top-flight record of 22 straight home wins. With just an eight per cent chance of winning, Palace had the lowest chance of victory in this round of fixtures. However, with City predicted to come out on top against Chelsea, the Reds' wait to clinch the Premier League title would have continued.

MANCHESTER UNITED v SHEFFIELD UNITED

Home win: 48 per cent
Draw: 30 per cent
Away win: 22 per cent

The halt in football action came at a bad time for Manchester United, who were on a magnificent roll - 11 matches unbeaten with eight victories. The Opta predictor backed the hosts to continue that run, but at 48 per cent, a home win was seen as far from a certainty. Amid an amazing season, Sheffield United are just two points behind Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men and at 30 per cent, it is the most likely contest on the matchday to end in a draw. That was also the outcome in a thrilling 3-3 draw at Bramall Lane in November.

NEWCASTLE UNITED v ASTON VILLA

Home win: 54 per cent
Draw: 24 per cent
Away win: 22 per cent

The predicted win for Newcastle is something Aston Villa – second from bottom and 10 points shy of Steve Bruce's men – could ill afford in reality. Newcastle are unbeaten in five matches at St James' Park, although that run includes three consecutive 0-0 draws. Villa have lost four in succession in the Premier League and only won three times in the top flight since beating the Magpies 2-0 in the corresponding fixture on November 25.

NORWICH CITY v EVERTON

Home win: 28 per cent
Draw: 26 per cent
Away win: 46 per cent

Norwich prop up the Premier League table and the predictor reflects as such, with Everton having a greater chance of victory on the road. The Toffees' last win at Carrow Road came in 2004, though, and Everton were beaten 2-0 at home by Daniel Farke's side back in November, Todd Cantwell and Dennis Srbeny with the goals at Goodison Park.

SOUTHAMPTON v ARSENAL

Home win: 28 per cent
Draw: 24 per cent
Away win: 48 per cent

Southampton’s resurgence during December and January had given way to a worrying patch of form over February and early March. Ralph Hasenhuttl's men did beat Aston Villa at home, but this Arsenal side under Mikel Arteta’s leadership are a different prospect to the team Saints held 2-2 in north London back in November. The Gunners are unbeaten in the Premier League in 2020, and they would have fancied claiming all three points on offer at St Mary's.

TOTTENHAM v WEST HAM

Home win: 70 per cent
Draw: 17 per cent
Away win: 13 per cent

The Hammers were not predicted to fare particularly well at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, but they did defy the odds with a 1-0 win at the same venue in April 2019, Michail Antonio scoring the winner. Tottenham were the victors in the reverse fixture this season, a 3-2 triumph in Jose Mourinho's first match in charge.

WOLVES V BOURNEMOUTH

Home win: 58 per cent
Draw: 23 per cent
Away win: 19 per cent

Wolves are unbeaten in all three of their Premier League matches against Bournemouth, including a 2-1 win in the reverse fixture, and the predictor has them as the more likely winners on this matchday. That would come as a welcome relief to Wolves, who have won just one of their last five home top-flight matches, while Eddie Howe's men would be primed for a seventh consecutive away loss.

The Premier League has been suspended until at least April 30 due to the coronavirus pandemic, so what does that mean for the rest of the season?

Decisions made by UEFA and CONMEBOL to push back Euro 2020 and the Copa America until 2021 opened the door for domestic competition to continue longer than initially planned.

Upon announcing a four-week extension to the initially planned hiatus on Thursday, the Football Association (FA) revealed it would allow its leagues to continue beyond the June 1 deadline set out in its regulations.

The eventual run-in could prove to be heavily congested. Some Premier League teams are still competing on three fronts, others possess a game in hand, while UEFA is still hoping for a round of international matches in June.

If no games are cut out, we look at how the calendar for English teams could hypothetically shape up if competitions across Europe were able to resume following April 30.

 

May 2/3 - Matchday 30

May 7 - Postponed Europa League last-16 first legs and unplayed matchday 29 games

May 9/10 - Matchday 31

May 12/13/14 - FA Cup quarter-finals

May 16/17 - Matchday 32

May 19/20/21 - Champions League and Europa League last-16 second legs

May 23/24 - Matchday 33

May 26/27/28 - Champions League and Europa League quarter-final first legs

May 30/31 - Matchday 34

June 2/3/4 - Champions League and Europa League quarter-final second legs

June 6/7 - Matchday 35

June 13/14 - International week

June 20/21 - Matchday 36

June 23/24/25 - Champions League and Europa League semi-final first legs

June 27/28 - Matchday 37

June 30/July 1/2 - FA Cup semi-finals

July 4 - Matchday 38

July 7/8/9 - Champions League and Europa League semi-final second legs

July 11 - FA Cup final

July 15 - Europa League final

July 18 - Champions League final

Everton have placed their first-team squad and coaching staff in self-isolation after a first-team player reported symptoms consistent with coronavirus.

The news comes as the Premier League prepares to stage an emergency meeting on Friday to discuss how to proceed with forthcoming fixtures and the ongoing season, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to compromise existing arrangements.

Carlo Ancelotti's team are scheduled to face Liverpool in a Merseyside derby at Goodison Park on Monday – a fixture that now appears highly unlikely to take place.

A statement issued by Everton read: "Everton Football Club can confirm that, as a precautionary measure, its entire first-team squad and coaching staff are undertaking a period of self-isolation following medical advice.

"The step has been taken after a first-team player reported symptoms consistent with coronavirus. The club is in regular contact with the player in question and is monitoring the well-being of all players and staff."

Additionally, Everton have closed down all club facilities, including Goodison Park, its Finch Farm training base and its headquarters at the Royal Liver Building in Liverpool city centre.

On Thursday, the Premier League publicly committed to fulfilling its fixtures this weekend in line with UK government advice that did not recommend the cancellation of sporting fixtures, although events have since escalated.

Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta and Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi have both tested positive for COVID-19.

A Manchester City player, reported to be full-back Benjamin Mendy, is self-isolating as a precaution after a family member was hospitalised with symptoms of a respiratory illness.

News from Arsenal, Chelsea, City and Everton added to Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers confirming three of his players had been isolated from their team-mates after displaying mild symptoms, meaning a quarter of the clubs in England's top flight were directly affected.

Leicester are due to travel to Watford on Saturday, although Hornets boss Nigel Pearson told reporters one of his players is awaiting test results after a number of his squad were symptomatic.

"We've had players who have had symptoms of not being well," he said. "We've got one player awaiting test results on his symptoms. We are trying to be proactive and hopefully the Premier League will make a strong decision based on what is good for everybody.”

Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers has confirmed three of his players have shown symptoms of coronavirus and have been isolated from their team-mates.

Speaking at a news conference ahead of this weekend's scheduled Premier League match against Watford, Rodgers explained the club had acted as a precaution against the potential spread of COVID-19.

"We've had a few players that have shown symptoms and signs [of the coronavirus]," Rodgers told the media on Thursday.

"We've followed procedures and [as a precaution] they have been kept away from the squad.

"Working in football, it's about having that agility to move with what’s happening in football. We're guided by football and federations. We have to press on with our work and prepare as normal."

In a subsequent statement, the club said: "Leicester City Football Club can confirm that, as a precautionary measure, three members of its first team squad have undertaken a period of self-isolation following recent medical advice.

"In recent days, all three players presented with extremely mild illness and were advised by club medical staff, consistent with current government guidance, to stay home and contact the NHS 111 service.

"All three players were subsequently advised by NHS 111 that their symptoms were consistent with common seasonal illness and that a seven-day period of self-isolation was appropriate as a precaution.

"There was no recommendation that further testing would be necessary. The club is in regular contact with the relevant players, whose symptoms remain mild and self-manageable.

"In the current medical climate, the club is acutely aware of its responsibilities to all of its employees and has issued extensive internal advice consistent with current recommendations from the government and medical professionals on COVID-19 (coronavirus).

"All staff experiencing moderate symptoms of ill-health have been advised to stay at home, to contact NHS 111 and to follow their recommended advice."

Rodgers is hopeful Saturday's trip to Vicarage Road goes ahead as planned but is not a fan of matches being staged behind closed doors.

"It would be a shame [if the Watford game were to be postponed], but the public's health is the most important in all of this," he said.

"The game is all about the players and the fans and if you have one of those not there, it's obviously not the same."

Rodgers also confirmed right-back Ricardo Pereira will face around six months on the sidelines with an anterior cruciate ligament injury, while playmaker James Maddison is also out with a calf problem.

Leicester lie third in the Premier League with nine games of the season remaining.

 

Leicester City defender Ricardo Pereira will miss the rest of the season - and most likely Euro 2020 - after damaging his anterior cruciate ligament.

The Portugal international hurt his knee during Leicester's 4-0 victory over Aston Villa in the Premier League on Monday.

Brendan Rodgers confirmed the right-back will be unavailable for selection for the rest of the campaign.

"We've got Ricardo Pereira who will be out for the rest of the season. He had a challenge and has hurt his ACL," Rodgers said on Thursday.

"He's not had an operation. He's just with the medical team. It's a blow for us. It's an opportunity for someone else. It's a shame.

"You've just got to see how the player reacts. You're looking between four to six months.

"That will be the time we are expecting."

There was further bad news for the Foxes in relation to James Maddison, who will be out until after the international break with a calf injury.

Furthermore, Rodgers also announced three Leicester players had "shown symptoms and signs" of coronavirus and were now isolated away from the rest of the squad.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to widespread cancellation of sporting events and fixtures, though some will take place as scheduled but behind closed doors.

There have been 590 confirmed cases in the United Kingdom, with eight deaths.

Leicester sit third in the Premier League and are due to face Watford at Vicarage Road on Saturday.

Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers has confirmed three of his players have shown symptoms of coronavirus and have been isolated from their team-mates.

Speaking at a news conference ahead of this weekend's scheduled Premier League match against Watford, Rodgers explained the club had acted as a precaution against the potential spread of COVID-19.

"We've had a few players that have shown symptoms and signs [of the coronavirus]," Rodgers told the media on Thursday.

"We've followed procedures and [as a precaution] they have been kept away from the squad.

"Working in football, it's about having that agility to move with what’s happening in football. We're guided by football and federations. We have to press on with our work and prepare as normal."

Stats Perform understands all players put into isolation have only displayed mild symptoms, meaning they have not met the threshold to be tested for the virus.

Rodgers is hopeful Saturday's trip to Vicarage Road goes ahead as planned but is not a fan of matches being staged behind closed doors.

"It would be a shame [if the Watford game were to be postponed], but the public's health is the most important in all of this," he said.

"The game is all about the players and the fans and if you have one of those not there, it's obviously not the same."

Rodgers also confirmed right-back Ricardo Pereira will face around six months on the sidelines with an anterior cruciate ligament injury, while playmaker James Maddison is also out with a calf problem.

Leicester lie third in the Premier League with nine games of the season remaining.

Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers has confirmed three of his players have shown symptoms of coronavirus and have been isolated from their team-mates.

Speaking at a news conference ahead of this weekend's scheduled Premier League match against Watford, Rodgers explained the club had acted as a precaution against the potential spread of COVID-19.

"We've had a few players that have shown symptoms and signs [of the coronavirus]," Rodgers told the media on Thursday.

"We've followed procedures and [as a precaution] they have been kept away from the squad.

"Working in football, it's about having that agility to move with what’s happening in football. We're guided by football and federations. We have to press on with our work and prepare as normal."

Liverpool came from behind to beat Bournemouth 2-1 and set a record for the most consecutive home wins in England's top-flight history.

Jurgen Klopp's side edged closer to a first Premier League title thanks to goals from Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, after Callum Wilson had put the Cherries ahead at Anfield.

Arsenal were given a tough time by West Ham before Alexandre Lacazette came off the bench to drag them closer to the Champions League places, but Wolves slipped up against Brighton and Hove Albion.

At the foot of the table, Norwich City are beginning to look a lost cause, but Newcastle United gave their own survival hopes a real boost.

LACAZETTE KEEPS CHAMPIONS LEAGUE HOPES ALIVE

Arsenal are now five points behind fourth-placed Chelsea and three adrift of Wolves in fifth after battling to a 1-0 win over West Ham.

David Moyes' side managed 14 shots to the Gunners' nine, hit the post through Jarrod Bowen and were thwarted more than once by Bernd Leno, but they were undone by substitute Lacazette with 12 minutes to play.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's shot deflected to Mesut Ozil, who headed the ball to Lacazette to allow the striker to lash home the winner, the goal awarded after a VAR check overturned the initial offside call.

Wolves are only three ahead of Mikel Arteta's side, having missed out on the chance to move into the top four after failing to break down Brighton in a 0-0 draw at Molineux.

 

CENTURION SALAH GETS REDS BACK ON TRACK

Having lost three of their past four games across all competitions, Liverpool's Anfield home was not exactly in good spirits when Wilson tapped in Jefferson Lerma's cross to give Bournemouth a ninth-minute lead.

Bournemouth, though, are a team who had lost their previous five league games against Liverpool by an aggregate score of 17-0, so banking on them keeping the leaders at bay was always a long shot.

Unfortunately for Eddie Howe, Bournemouth rather gifted Liverpool their goals. Salah scored his 70th Liverpool goal in his 100th league appearance after Jack Simpson carelessly lost the ball to Mane, and it was 2-1 before the break when the visitors gave up possession in midfield and Virgil van Dijk played Mane in to score.

It was not a vintage display, but it did give Liverpool a record 22nd top-flight home victory in a row and put them 25 points clear at the top. Bournemouth remain 18th, behind Watford on goal difference, the Hornets having lost 1-0 at Crystal Palace.

MAGPIES ON THE UP BUT CANARIES ARE IN TROUBLE

Newcastle's run of five league games without a win - and four without a goal - came to an end with a 1-0 defeat of Southampton on the south coast.

Matt Ritchie, who signed a new contract at Newcastle this week, saw a penalty saved in the first half, not long after Moussa Djenepo had been sent off in a separate incident for a reckless challenge on Isaac Hayden, but Allan Saint-Maximin struck 79 minutes in to lift the Magpies eight points above the bottom three.

Norwich, though, are still six points from safety after a Billy Sharp goal and another fine performance from Dean Henderson saw them lose 1-0 at Sheffield United, who sit sixth.

Gerard Deulofeu is to undergo surgery on the ruptured anterior cruciate ligament and torn meniscus injury he sustained in Watford's surprise win over Liverpool.

The Spanish winger twisted his knee in the first half of the 3-0 triumph over the Premier League leaders at Vicarage Road on Saturday following a challenge with Virgil van Dijk.

Watford provided an update on Twitter, which read: "Gerard Deulofeu is set for surgery after scans confirmed a ruptured ACL and torn meniscus suffered during the first-half of our win over Liverpool.

"Come back stronger, Geri, we're all with you!"

Hornets boss Nigel Pearson had confirmed the former Barcelona forward would play no further part in the 2019-20 campaign during an interview with Sky Sports on Sunday.

"Unfortunately for us the scan results really show he is probably going to be out for the rest of the season," Pearson said.

"The initial scan results show that he has got an ACL [rupture], which is a really bad thing for us because he has been such an important player for us."

Watford's win over Liverpool, which was the Reds' first Premier League loss of the season, lifted Pearson's men out of the bottom three on goal difference.

Andy Robertson felt compelled to apologise after Liverpool saw their unbeaten Premier League season ended in stunning fashion at Watford.

Jurgen Klopp's runaway league leaders were beaten 3-0 at Vicarage Road on Saturday by a Watford team who had gone six games without a victory in all competitions.

The result ended Liverpool's hopes of a record 19th consecutive win in England's top flight and ensured they cannot follow Arsenal's 'Invincibles' of 2003-04 by going an entire league season unbeaten.

The Reds managed only one shot on target against the Hornets, who fully deserved three points secured through two goals from Ismaila Sarr and one from Troy Deeney.

Left-back Robertson accepted his side fell too far short of the exceptional standards they have set for most of the past two seasons.

"Watford were at it from the start and we took time to get going," he told Liverpool's website. "We had a couple of good moments but nowhere near enough for this Liverpool team.

"It's a performance that has not been expected for a number of years by the fans and we can only apologise for this performance.

"It's up to us to now bounce back because today wasn't good enough, simple as that. Watford deserved the three points; they were brilliant to a man. And we weren't.

"It's up to us to now show that this defeat hurts and up to us to now go and put a run together that will crown us champions."

Liverpool remain 22 points above second-place Manchester City, having played a game more, and still appear almost certain to end the season as Premier League champions.

"Our message has always been the same: we can't get carried away," said Robertson.

"Of course, fans are going to get carried away and enjoy the moment we're in and that's nice for us because if our fans are enjoying the way we're playing and what we're doing, it means we're doing something right.

"We really need to put in a proper LFC performance and show everyone that this was just a blip, that now we're going to crack on and get to where we want to be. Everyone knows where that is – but it's up to us to now show it."

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp claimed he is not obsessed with breaking records after their hopes of going unbeaten for a whole Premier League season ended against Watford on Saturday.

The Reds suffered their first Premier League defeat of the season, ending a 44-game streak without a loss, after they were beaten 3-0 by the Hornets at Vicarage Road.

Watford's victory also denied Liverpool a chance to notch up the longest winning sequence in the English top flight after they entered the game with 18 consecutive wins.

However, Klopp explained he was not focused on reaching such milestones and only had eyes on the performance of his players.

"The boys already have so many records that we are not that greedy that we think we have to beat every one," Klopp told Sky Sports.

"You cannot get every record that you want. You have to perform. The result is a result of the performance.

"Tonight, we did not perform well enough. That's my concern. That's what I think about. Not that we cannot now be the best Premier League team ever.

"Now we can win football games again and set a new mark.

"It is always clear at one point we would lose a game - it's not that we were waiting for it. Actually, the opposite."

Klopp felt Liverpool were simply not up to their usual high standards against the Hornets.

Ismaila Sarr scored twice for Watford while skipper Troy Deeney put the gloss on the result with the third for Nigel Pearson's side.

"Why has it come to an end? We were not good enough - easy as that," the German said.

"I knew that it was always very difficult but with the extra things around it's extra motivation for who can beat us the first time.

"We don't have that. We just have to win a game, and everything is fine. Win more games and everything is fine. Win a lot of games - an unexpected number of games - and everything is fine.

"We are human beings and the boys did outstandingly well, so tonight does not have anything to do with games we won before."

Multiple Liverpool players looked short of their best and Klopp accepted his side made too many errors.

He added: "Watford did exactly what they wanted to do, we did exactly what we didn't want to do.

"First half was a lot of running, second balls and open situations. We didn't cross and pass in the right moment.

"We changed it but could not get the benefit of it because we conceded a goal from a throw-in. It's not decisive at 1-0 if you react well.

"At 2-0 it's also not decisive but the third one we had a hand in. It was a game that Watford won and congratulations, well done. We have to accept it."

Virgil van Dijk branded Liverpool's performance in Saturday's shock 3-0 defeat to Watford as "unacceptable" as their 44-match unbeaten run in the Premier League came to an abrupt end.

The Reds went to Vicarage Road on the back of 18 successive league wins, one short of setting a new record, but they were nowhere near their best as Watford ran out deserved winners.

Ismaila Sarr was the star of the show, scoring Watford's first two and then teeing up Troy Deeney for the clincher 17 minutes from time, all three goals coming after the lively Gerard Deulofeu was forced off with a potentially serious knee injury.

Liverpool rarely threatened Ben Foster's goal and Van Dijk accepts the Reds simply were not good enough, with the Dutchman particularly critical of the manner of the loss.

"If you concede three goals – that's something we didn't do for quite a while – obviously we have to improve as a team in total, and we will," Van Dijk told Sky Sports.

"It's tough to take this one. I think the only positive is we have an FA Cup game [against Chelsea] in just a couple of days.

"In our last game, [we conceded] one set-piece, one good goal. Today [Saturday] it should be better, that is clear, but if you look at whole season we've been good defensively, I think we've the most clean sheets in the league.

"But we know there's room for improvement. That's the good thing about our mentality, we won't walk away from this either, we have to improve, do better.

"It's unacceptable that we lose here 3-0, in this way as well. The whole season we didn't lose a game like this, I think they did very well, but we should've done better. We want to strike back, and we will."

Defeat means Liverpool will be unable to go the entire season unbeaten, though Van Dijk insists such situations never went through the players' minds anyway.

When asked if the defeat or missing out on an 'invincible' season hurts most, Van Dijk said: "Losing hurts, the records are only for the media and everyone who is talking about it.

"We didn't mention it once. We keep going, we want to win our next match in the FA Cup, then we have Bournemouth at home and we want to strike back, show what we've been doing the whole season and that's the only way forward."

Despite the loss, Liverpool remain 22 points clear of Manchester City at the summit.

For the first time since January 3, 2019, Liverpool have tasted defeat in a Premier League match.

Ismaila Sarr's second-half double and Troy Deeney's strike earned relegation-threatened Watford a surprise 3-0 victory at Vicarage Road on Saturday.

Though it is unlikely to prevent the Reds from lifting the title - with Jurgen Klopp's side still 22 points clear of Manchester City - it did stop them from surpassing Arsenal's record sequence in Premier League history.

Here we recall how the longest unbeaten runs in Premier League history ended.

 

ARSENAL (2003-04) - 49-MATCH STREAK ENDED BY 2-0 LOSS TO MANCHESTER UNITED

Behind fans of the Hornets, Arsene Wenger's 'Invincibles' were probably the happiest about Liverpool's loss on Saturday.

Their record run, which spanned between May 2003 and October 2004, included an entire campaign unbeaten - just the second in English top-flight history after Preston North End in 1888-89.

It was their great rivals of the time that prevented them from reaching 50 unbeaten, though, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Wayne Rooney scoring in a 2-0 victory at Old Trafford in a contest best remembered for 'Pizzagate', with Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson hit by a slice in the tunnel after the game.

 

LIVERPOOL (2019-2020) - 44-MATCH STREAK ENDED BY 3-0 LOSS TO WATFORD.

The Reds arrived at Vicarage Road having dropped just two points all season.

Yet in their 28th Premier League game of 2019-20, they were left with an unfamiliar feeling as Nigel Pearson's Hornets succeeded where no one else had in the campaign.

It was all the more remarkable given the Reds had won their previous 18 successive league games and Watford were winless in their past eight meetings against the Reds.

CHELSEA (2004-05) - 40-MATCH STREAK ENDED BY 1-0 LOSS TO MANCHESTER UNITED

The Blues were dominant in Jose Mourinho's maiden season in his first spell at Stamford Bridge, winning the title and finishing 12 points above Arsenal with 95 in total.

A 1-0 away loss to Manchester City in October 2004 was their only top-flight loss of that campaign and it was 13 months before they tasted defeat again, in the same city.

Darren Fletcher scored the only goal as United beat Mourinho's side 1-0 at Old Trafford, though it was Chelsea who would end the season with the last laugh as champions again.

 

ARSENAL (2001-02) - 30-MATCH UNBEATEN STREAK ENDED BY 2-1 LOSS TO EVERTON

Wenger's great teams had a habit of avoiding defeats and the bulk of this sequence occurred during their double-winning season of 2001-02.

Everton were beaten twice in a 13-game winning run to end that term but they got their revenge the following October through a then largely unknown striker.

It appeared as if the Gunners were on course to make it 31 unbeaten at Goodison Park but a 16-year-old Rooney had other ideas, curling a brilliant 30-yard strike in off the crossbar in the final minute for his first Premier League goal.

MANCHESTER CITY (2017-18) - 30-MATCH UNBEATEN STREAK ENDED BY 4-3 LOSS TO LIVERPOOL

Pep Guardiola's side from two seasons ago was perhaps the best the Premier League has ever seen as they won the title with 100 points and having scored 106 goals.

Yet they did suffer two league losses in that campaign, the first occurring as Klopp's men won a thriller at Anfield by scoring three times in an eight-minute spell to go 4-1 up.

City netted twice in the final six minutes but fell short at a ground where they had not won since 2003.

Liverpool's 44-match unbeaten run in the Premier League came to an abrupt end with their first loss of the season in a 3-0 reverse at Watford on Saturday, Ismaila Sarr and Troy Deeney combining to down the Reds.

Jurgen Klopp's men went into the clash at Vicarage Road on the back of 18 successive league wins, one short of a new record, but the bright Hornets were thoroughly deserving of the victory to boost their survival hopes.

Watford's promising start looked as though it might go to waste when Gerard Deulofeu – their chief threat – was forced off with a potentially significant knee problem before half-time.

But the home side maintained their level after the interval and the lively Sarr was hugely effective with two goals, and Deeney finished them off 17 minutes from the end as Liverpool's hopes of an 'invincible' season were vanquished.

Liverpool offered little in a muted first-half display, with Watford looking much livelier in attack through Deulofeu.

He troubled Trent Alexander-Arnold twice early on as he put a couple of shots just off target, cutting inside and curling an effort just over the top-right corner inside the box for the second.

But the Spaniard's match ended early in the 37th minute when he had to be carried off on a stretcher, having seemingly suffered a serious knee injury during a tussle with Virgil van Dijk.

Watford were unlucky to not lead just before half-time – Alisson making a mess of a routine collection, but Deeney failed to capitalise.

Liverpool failed to improve after the interval and Watford eventually got a deserved opener, as Abdoulaye Doucoure latched on to a throw-in and lashed the ball into the danger zone for Sarr to prod home.

The winger got a second in even more impressive circumstances soon after, chasing Deeney's brilliant throughball behind Van Dijk and cheekily lifting his finish over the approaching Alisson.

Sarr was crucial again for Deeney's clincher, chasing down Alexander-Arnold's woeful back-pass and teeing up his strike partner who calmly turned in with Alisson in no-man's land.

What does it mean? Watford give the rest hope and boost survival chances

Liverpool's lead at the Premier League summit remains a hugely impressive 22 points even with this defeat, but Watford exposed their weakness – playing behind the full-backs – impressively, potentially giving a little inspiration to the rest of the pack.

Manchester City certainly will not be predicting a collapse from the Reds that allows them a way back in, but if anything can renew hope, it is this, with Watford - now out of the bottom three on goal difference - surely full of confidence in their relegation tussle

Sarr quality

Watford's young winger has enjoyed some impressive performances in big games this season, but this was on another level. Two goals and an assist, you cannot ask for much more than that.

Alexander-Arnold all at sea

The Liverpool and England right-back has rightly received much praise for his creative abilities this season, but questions have been raised about his defensive attributes and concentration at the back, and they will likely appear again after this horror show.

What's next?

Liverpool turn their attentions to the FA Cup next, as they go to Chelsea in the fifth round on Tuesday, before hosting Bournemouth in the Premier League four days later. Watford's fight to avoid relegation resumes at Crystal Palace the same day.

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