Liverpool aren't invincible
It took 14 months, 44 league games and 18 consecutive wins but Liverpool have finally lost a game in the Premier League. It happened against Watford, of all teams, and it wasn't even a lucky win. The Hornets were far superior in every way, shape and form, and ran out 3-0 winners at Vicarage Road in front of a largely disbelieving crowd.
That Liverpool needed just one more win to break the English record of consecutive wins is one thing, that Liverpool were clearly going for a unique unbeaten season is another. At the end of the game Virgil van Dijk looked devastated that the record was gone. Manager Jurgen Klopp remained upbeat, but was probably hurting inside. Managers especially tell the media that records don't matter, but they do and an unbeaten league record was high on Liverpool's wish list this season. The fact that it has only been achieved twice in 132 years says it all. One could well imagine that former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger who achieved the unbeaten record in 2003/04 was doing a dance around the Gold trophy when the final whistle went in the game. The trophy was presented to the club when they went unbeaten. That very trophy was then given to Wenger as a parting gift when he finally left the club in 2018.
For Liverpool the fall out can be quashed by beating Bournemouth in their next league game and advancing into the Champions League quarter finals, but one wonders if the wheels are falling off? Winning the league title at this stage is not in question, but will their performances now tail off given that the unbeaten record is gone? Would it be stretching it too far to think that Manchester City could close the gap by at least 10 points? If we look at other leagues it does suggest so. In Germany Bayern Munich in previous years have gone up until February of the season unbeaten and then once they lost a game, they eased to a league title instead of thundering through. The same happened to PSG last season which became quite a joke with the French media when they had four different opportunities to win the league and kept losing games to teams that they would usually beat. In both cases the clubs departed the Champions League with a whimper too, and Liverpool are currently losing 1-0 to Atletico Madrid from the first leg. However only a fool would write off Liverpool not going through with the 2nd leg at Anfield, but questions will be raised.
Let's not forget Watford of course who had 14 goal attempts and limited Liverpool to just 1 shot on target the whole game. Ismaila Sarr was the hero of the day scoring a brace and this is a weekend that will be remembered for some time. The win also lifted the Hornets out of the bottom three although only on goal difference and whilst they should celebrate this win they are not out of the woods and will have a tense ride for the next two months trying to stay in the league.
Premier League Relegation Odds: Norwich 1.00, Aston Villa 1.57, Bournemouth 1.80, West Ham 2.75, Brighton 3.25
Tottenham lost again at the weekend against a rampant Wolves side and one has to wonder if the club have improved under Jose Mourinho? Points wise the answer would be yes. Former manager Mauricio Pochettino earned 14 points in the 12 games he was given this season before being sacked and Mourinho in the same number of games has earned 20 points. But that doesn't seem like a huge improvement. Of course Mourinho has only been with the club for just over 3 months and has had some bad luck with injuries, namely Harry Kane and now Heung-Min Son but Tottenham do not seem to have the Jose Mourinho that lit up the European stage in the mid 2000s.
In the 16 league matches that he has been in charge the club have earned 26 points. Take that as an average for the season and you would have a total of 59 points. Based on last season the club would have finished in 6th place, 12 points behind Pochettino's effort.
Of course a lot of this is playing with theories but at the same time it is also trying to judge how the future may play out longer term with Mourinho in charge at the club and it doesn't seem at least in the league standings that it will bode well for him. Currently Mourinho's win rate with Tottenham is 47.8%, that is his worst return since 2002.
Ancelotti's VAR frustration
Carlo Ancelotti was sent off at the end of a heated game as Everton thought they had beaten Manchester United at the death. Dominic Calvert-Lewin's shot took a deflection and went in, however Gylfi Sigurdsson had ran through on goal in an earlier challenge and was on the floor of the area. Technically offside, but had been challenged, a foul maybe? At the very least was he expected to get to his feet in a nano second? Some say that David De Gea was unsighted but at 6ft 2 no one is going to buy that when the obstruction was laying down on the pitch. As for interference Sigurdsson's superb reflex lifting his legs up meant that the ball went past him and into the goal. Had the ball fell to him and he had then scored, it seems that United would have had a point to make.
It's a complex situation for sure but with officials being able to look and look again from several angles, one can't but help feel on another day that would have been given. Everton were the better side and the same could be said in their previous game against Arsenal and yet they have only 1 point to show for it. No wonder Ancelotti was furious, he knows if some decisions had gone their way the club would be genuinely challenging for a Champions League spot.
Real Madrid return to the top
Finally the biggest club match in world football took place on Sunday night as Real Madrid took on Barcelona and it was Madrid who won the game 2-0. Lionel Messi had a very quiet time as Madrid returned back to the top of the league standings by 1 point. They are the only two teams in the running for the title and the latest odds are Real Madrid 1.72 and Barcelona 2.00. Atletico Madrid are as much as 151.00.