Watford were played off the park away at Anfield on Saturday evening, conceding five goals and barely threatening to add any of their own.
The latter stages of the game looked like a training game for Liverpool and left Javi Gracia all too aware of his side’s frailties.
Though it may be difficult from such a negative performance, the Watford manager now has to take stock and think about what he can learn from the defeat and here are three things that he can focus on over the international break.
1. Mo Salah is unplayable sometimes.
While this might not help Watford too much for the rest of the season, it is something that could give them a bit of comfort, knowing that they were defeated by a true master at the top of his game.
Salah’s goalscoring prowess this season looks to have him in contention for the player of the season award and his performance against Watford may have been the best of the lot.
Receiving a heavy defeat is never a pleasant thing for a football team to stomach, but for Watford, admitting they were simply outclassed by a much stronger outfit could well be the best way for them to move on from this thrashing.
2. Watford need to learn their best defensive line-up
Only Stoke and West Ham have conceded more goals than Watford in the Premier League this season, proof if ever it was needed that some defensive consistency will be required to make sure the hornets do not drop into the relegation zone in their final seven games.
While that seems unlikely to happen, Gracia’s defensive experimenting against Liverpool suggests that he is still unsure about the best way to set up his defenders.
The return of the injured Miguel Britos will have brought some joy to fans before the game, but the Uruguayan looked far from match fit as he endured a punishing 81 minute run out.
3. Watford need to address their away form
This defeat was Watford’s third consecutive away loss and another game on the road without a victory, something the hornets have failed to achieve since new boss Javi Gracia took over.
Something else they have been unable to do under Gracia’s leadership is score an away goal.
Richarlison has now not scored since November and Troy Deeney cut a lonely figure against Liverpool with little in the way of opportunities coming his way.
Watford have trips to Tottenham, Huddersfield and Manchester United still to coming this season and if things continue as they have been, they will be heavily reliant on home form to secure their Premier League status next season.
Survival is in touching distance for Javi Gracia and he just needs his side to trundle over that finish line. Four more points will take them to the coveted 40 point mark before they can start to relax a bit more and plan for next season, but while relegation is still a possibility it is important that they see the task through before becoming complacent.
Picture Courtesy of Alan Cozzi