By Steve Tongue
LONDON (Reuters) – Last week Liverpool’s extrovert manager Juergen Klopp was dancing down the touchline in front of jubilant fans after Divock Origi scored deep into added time to earn a 2-2 draw with West Bromwich Albion at Anfield.
However, any suggestion his new club were back on track after a feeble defeat by struggling Newcastle United the previous week disappeared on Sunday with the heaviest defeat Liverpool have ever suffered against Watford, who were worthy 3-0 victors.
For Klopp the honeymoon enjoyed by any new manager is now over, with the five-times European champions only one place higher in the table than when Brendan Rodgers was sacked two months ago.
To his credit the German acknowledged a “deserved win”
for hosts Watford and was more concerned that, not for the first time, his own team’s reaction to conceding a goal was inadequate.
He previously criticised them for dropping their heads when Southampton equalised at Anfield with a quarter of an hour still to play.
This time it was in the first 15 minutes that Liverpool suffered, letting in two bad goals at seventh-placed Watford and failing to react until receiving a stern halftime team talk.
“You have to react better,” Klopp told reporters. “We didn’t play how we wanted to play, we played how they wanted us to play.”
There were equally harsh words from Liverpool great Graeme Souness who believes Klopp has a huge task on his hands to restore the club to former glories.
“I don’t think the players are good enough,” Souness told Sky Sports. “They (the first two goals) were simple, avoidable mistakes and you’re looking for your players to be angry, not feel sorry for themselves.
“There’s lots of work ahead for him and it’s not a quick fix. They’ve got some players that might get better but it’s going to be a long road.”
One consolation is that Klopp, who left striker Christian Benteke on the bench for 75 minutes, will have the opportunity to sign players in the January transfer window.
The other is that with most of the other fancied teams misfiring, ninth-placed Liverpool are still only five points off the Champions League places.
Three games in the next fortnight, starting at home to shock leaders Leicester City, will offer a clue as to whether life since Rodgers has really improved.
(Editing by Tony Jimenez)