Invincible no more, Dejan Lovren admitted Liverpool were “ashamed” after their 44-match unbeaten run crashed and burned.
One anaemic performance at Vicarage Road does not dismantle an empire. The title is still returning to Anfield after 30 years on tour.
But, holy moly, it raises serious questions about the Treble.
Pussyfoot around like this at Stamford Bridge tomorrow night and Liverpool will come a cropper in the FA Cup against Chelsea .
Give the ball away as cheaply against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League next week and the European Cup will be gone, too.
Lovren, who was bullied into submission by that shrinking violet Troy Deeney, insists Liverpool can still complete a “perfect” campaign if they learn from the shock result of the season.
But the dream of matching Arsenal's invincible class of 2004 has gone. This was one almighty blot on a 'perfect' landscape.
Watford we can deal with in short measure.
What on earth were they doing in the relegation zone when they can dismantle the champions -in-waiting so comprehensively in front of their biggest crowd for 32 years?
Two-goal record signing Ismaila Sarr is so quick he can catch pigeons, while skipper Deeney – who completed the rout – should be on England's radar this summer as an alternative target man if he can rough up the country's meanest defence.
Liverpool, who took their medicine with class, deserve only our admiration for an unbeaten run spanning 422 days, but for once they ticked all the wrong boxes.
They were strolling, complacent, pedestrian, lethargic. And hopeless.
Kop messiah Jurgen Klopp's holy trinity of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mo Salah – 105 goals in their previous 69 starts as a three-line whip – was non-existent.
And they missed Jordan Henderson's leadership in midfield like a car would miss its steering wheel.
Lovren, making his first Premier League appearance in almost three months, admitted: “We felt a little bit ashamed. We should have done better. There is no excuse for that performance.
“The manager looked at us when we came into the dressing room afterwards. He knew that we knew it wasn't our best performance.
“I think this was a proper wake-up call to everyone. I don’t want to say that it is good, but it can be a benefit to help us get to the end of the season.
“We need to remember how it should be. Yes, we are nearly there (for the title) but the performance means (the assessment) was simple. We didn’t deserve anything.
“I think the manager knows we are missing something (since the mid-season break). I think it is about the aggression when we lose the ball and recovering the ball as quickly as possible.
“We know there is always an end for everything. It is here where our unbeaten run ended. We will not look at this result and think it was a bad season because of losing here.
“One performance won’t ruin everything. But this is always a learning process. From tomorrow, we look forward and until the end, we can still make this a perfect season.
“The last couple of games hadn’t been the best performances but we won. This one was like someone hit us in our faces – and we deserved it.
“It’s strange, to be honest. It hurts, really hurts. A defeat is a defeat but, you know, this was strange. Right from the beginning until the end, it was missing the usual things that we have. We deserved to lose.
“Maybe it is a wake-up call for us. If you look back at the last couple of games, the result was there and we got the performance that we needed, but I think this was a proper wake-up call to everyone.
“I don’t want to say that it is good, bu it can be a benefit to help us get to the end of the season. We need to remember how it should be. Yes, we are nearly there (for the title) but the performance means we didn’t deserve anything.”
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