The total number of clearances by the Watford defense out of their defensive zone.
Liverpool had 730 passes and completed 618 (85%) of them during the match. They had 71% of the possession as the Hornets were content to hunker down and counter when opportunities presented themselves. This is how the match played out in December, however, Pearson’s men were much more organized and physical on Saturday. As a result, LFC only managed to complete twenty passes in Watford’s penalty area out of 45 attempts.
The number of errors committed by the Liverpool defense that directly led to shots. The last of these mistakes led to the last goal putting the match out of reach. Trent Alexander-Arnold played a weak back pass that ended up on Sarr’s foot who fed it to Deeney for the goal.
There were other major and uncharacteristic lapses that were punished by Watford. On the first goal, the defense was left flat-footed after a throw-in that eventually ended with Sarr punching an easy ball into the net. On the second goal, Van Dijk was caught out of position on a pass that went to the streaking Sarr.
Many fans have pointed to the fact that Dejan Lovren started at center-back in the match over Joel Matip after Joe Gomez was ruled out due to injury. Though he made errors himself, the whole defense slept through most of the match as if they had watched the Star Wars prequels on an endless loop for 48 hours.
LFC have now given up five goals in their last two league matches. How many goals had they given up in the previous 14 EPL matches? You guessed it. Five.
Per understat.com, this is the average number of Watford passes allowed by Liverpool in their defensive zone before they committed a defensive action (PPDA). This was a further example of the Reds not playing as sharply as usual. In their previous match against the Hornet’s, LFC’s PPDA was a stifling 5.04.
One of the hallmarks of Klopp’s defense has been the relentless pressure inflicted on their opponent’s passing game by pressing and cutting off passing angles. Most of their matches this season resulted in PPDA numbers below 10. In this match, LFC did not press as tightly which resulted in more time and space for Watford to move. The Reds also only intercepted five Watford passes in the match.
In an odd twist, Pearson’s defense allowed a PPDA of 33.00 in the match. As previously stated, Watford was content to hunker down during the Red’s offensive pushes. In December, their PPDA was 17.77 against the league leaders. They were much more physical and organized on defense in this match, but not through pressing against the attack. Watford chose to protect the penalty area keeping goal opportunities by Salah and company to a minimum.