As a result of the wall that Watford created in the penalty area, Liverpool’s xG for the match of 0.2 was their worst of the season. In fact, it is their worst xG of any match since February 2019. In other words, the Reds generated almost literally no offense in the match and the last time I checked, Watford is not in the same class as Atletico Madrid or Manchester City.
The Hornets’ xG was 2.73, which is not the best rating they have managed this season as their offense has had fits and starts throughout, primarily based on the quality of their opponents. Their higher xG in this match was more of a result of the combination of their speed and the Reds defensive errors.
Per understat.com, this was the expected points from the match Watford had earned. This is based on thousands of simulations based on the expected goals of each club. A number this high suggests that based on each team’s offensive opportunities in the match there was very little chance that Liverpool would get any result. So if this match was played a thousand times and if each team had the same opportunities each time, Watford would win 967 of those times.
This is Liverpool’s current winning streak in the Premier League and Champions League. Though Liverpool will be facing different levels of competition in each league, Klopp is now facing a massive challenge.
His club is mentally fatigued and has lost the match-to-match drive to do the small things they need to do in order to win matches regardless of opponents. These lapses are leading to uncharacteristic physical errors on the pitch putting them at a disadvantage.
In a previous column, I stated that the only way that Liverpool would lose a league match was for them to beat themselves. Now, that has happened. Klopp will need to find a way to get his charged mentally recharged and focused on bigger tasks ahead. He is one of the best man managers in football. I have confidence that if anyone can do it, he can.