Virgil van Dijk declared Liverpool’s 3-0 defeat at Watford “not acceptable” – even if his manager Jurgen Klopp opted to draw a positive from the shock result..”

A second-half double from Ismaila Sarr put the Hornets in control before Troy Deeney sealed a stunning result that ended the Reds’ unbeaten run of 44 league games, meaning they fall short of matching Arsenal’s Invincibles from the 2003-04 campaign, who had gone the season and overall 49 matches without defeat.

Van Dijk cut a sombre figure in his post-match interview but insisted the defeat itself was harder to take than seeing their unbeaten run end.

“First of all, credit to Watford,” Van Dijk told Sky Sports.

“They deserved it with the chances they created. They stuck to their plan. They scored three goals and I don’t think we created too many chances. We want to look to ourselves and we have to improve again. It is a tough one to take.

“The last game was one set piece and one good goal. Today, we should be better. If you look at the whole season, we have been good defensively. I think we have the most clean sheets in the league. The good thing about our mentality is that we will work to improve.

“It is not acceptable that we lose here 3-0. Losing hurts. The records are for the media. We never mentioned it.

“We want to keep going and win the next game ahead of us and that is in the FA Cup and then we have Bournemouth at home. We want to strike back and show what we have been doing all season. That is the only way forward..”