Underdog wrecks Liverpool’s perfect run

Liverpool's ambitions of going through the Premier League season unbeaten have come to an end after a surprise 3-0 loss at Watford, marking the runaway leaders' first loss in 45 top-flight matches stretching back to January last year.

All of Watford's goals, through Ismaila Sarr's double and Troy Deeney, came in the second half as Liverpool's record-tying 18-match winning run since October disintegrated against a team languishing in the relegation zone.

From looking unbeatable, Liverpool played like a relegation candidate against Watford even though the home team lost one of its most dangerous players, Gerard Deulofeu, to what looked like a serious knee injury in the first half.

Liverpool conceded a sloppy first goal in the 54th when a throw-in bounced over defender Dejan Lovren, Abdoulaye Doucoure drove the ball across the face of goal, and Sarr tapped home.

Sarr was given freedom to race behind Liverpool's defence and onto Deeney's through-ball before chipping goalkeeper Alisson for the second in the 60th. Then, in the 72nd, Deeney stroked the ball into an unguarded net after Sarr intercepted a sluggish back-pass from Trent Alexander-Arnold that was aimed for Alisson.

Liverpool's Adam Lallana, centre, reacts after Watford's Troy Deeney scores his side's third goal. Picture: AP Photo/Alastair Grant
Liverpool's Adam Lallana, centre, reacts after Watford's Troy Deeney scores his side's third goal. Picture: AP Photo/Alastair Grant

 

West Ham, meanwhile, moved out of the Premier League's bottom three after a 3-1 win over Southampton.

Jarrod Bowen, Sebastien Haller and Michail Antonio scored the goals to lift David Moyes' east Londoners up two places to 16th, two points above the drop zone.

Bournemouth picked up a vital point with a 2-2 draw against fourth-placed Chelsea while Crystal Palace pinched a 1-0 win at Brighton.

In the day's early kick-off, Jordan Ayew scored the only goal on 70 minutes to put Palace 12th while Brighton remain 15th, just three points above the relegation zone.

Brighton dominated possession but could not find the breakthrough, while Ayew ran on to a fine pass from Christian Benteke to slip the ball past Socceroos goalkeeper Mat Ryan.

"I'm very proud," Palace manager Roy Hodgson said, in what was his 100th game in charge.

"I think it was a game we knew we would have to dig in, we'd have to fight plenty of battles." Brighton manager Graham Potter said the result was difficult to take. "It's a sore one for us. That's football, you have to put the ball in the net," he said. We created stuff, we tried, had shots, had chances, they didn't have too much." Elsewhere, Newcastle were held to a 0-0 draw at home as Burnley extended their unbeaten Premier League run to six games.