sport news Watford set blueprint in Liverpool win... EIGHT THINGS WE LEARNED IN THE ...

Another thrilling weekend of Premier League action saw Liverpool lose their 44-game unbeaten run when Watford came to spoil the party with a 3-0 victory at Vicarage Road.

The result will not change the destination of the title, but the race for the top four took a tantalising turn as Chelsea relied on a late equaliser to claim a point at Bournemouth, while Wolves went level on points with to lead the chasing pack with their win at Tottenham.

Here, we take a look at the things we learned from the eight top-flight fixtures that took place at the weekend.

Physical Watford show Liverpool CAN be frail 

It was Troy Deeney's post-match quotes following Watford's 3-0 victory over Liverpool that were the most eye-catching following the end of the Reds' unbeaten run.

The Hornets captain revealed he targeted centre back Dejan Lovren, believing he could use his physicality to greater effect against the Croatian than the more imposing Virgil Van Dijk.

Whether the Dutchman has at times masked Lovren's frailties this season is a topic up for debate, but there is certainly a point to be made that the latter's display impacted upon the former.

However, there had certainly been no such blueprint to expose the flaws in the centre backs' relationship for Nigel Pearson's men to follow this season.

Liverpool's unbeaten 44-game run in the Premier League ended with a 3-0 defeat at Watford

Liverpool's unbeaten 44-game run in the Premier League ended with a 3-0 defeat at Watford

Troy Deeney and Abdoulaye Doucoure were key physical presences in Watford's victory

Troy Deeney and Abdoulaye Doucoure were key physical presences in Watford's victory

Napoli had kept the scoreline level for as long as possible before striking late twice in September.

switched off when they required peak concentration to allow Adam Lallana to equalise at Old Trafford, and Atletico Madrid's hassling and harrying still didn't prevent Mo Salah and Jordan Henderson from going close at the Wanda Metropolitano last month.

Yet Watford were relentless in their pursuit of beating Alisson in both halves, Craig Cathcart and Christian Kabasele's imperious performances at the back ensured the hosts never lost focus, and their relentless pressure on every Liverpool player saw Lallana's long-range effort against the post represent the only occasion they really came close.

Ismaila Sarr's pace in behind and Deeney's presence are clear reasons behind Watford's win, which saw them jump out of the relegation zone.

But a more nuanced view is that the hosts matched, and at times overpowered, Liverpool with their physical presence at both ends of the field.

De Gea shows Spain have a serious keeper problem 

Kepa Arrizabalaga's high-profile mistakes have seen Frank Lampard drop the Spaniard in favour of 38-year-old Willy Caballero in recent weeks.

But it seems unlikely that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will hand out a similar punishment to Kepa's compatriot David de Gea after his latest howler that gifted Everton the lead on Sunday.

Ben Foster suffered a similarly embarrassing moment when 's quick feet and thinking saw him close down his clearance for a winning goal last season.

But there was no lethargy from Foster in comparison to De Gea, who invited pressure from Dominic-Calvert Lewin, the beneficiary of the United goalkeeper's sluggishness on the ball.

David de Gea gifted Dominic-Calvert Lewin the opener

Jordan Pickford failed to keep out Bruno Fernandes' equaliser at the near post

David de Gea (left) and Jordan Pickford had days to forget as Everton and Man United drew

No goalkeeper has made more errors directly leading to Premier League goals than de Gea's seven since the start of last season, with three blunders coming in this campaign.

He was soon joined on seven by Jordan Pickford after his role in Bruno Fernandes' equaliser, while De Gea did manage to redeem himself slightly with a fine save from Calvert-Lewin a few minutes later.

But his latest error has left Spain, and England with Pickford, with issues in goal ahead of the Euros this summer.  

Marcos Alonso is standing up in Chelsea's time of need

If Kepa requires an example of how to reclaim his place in Chelsea's side, he need look no further than fellow Spaniard Marcos Alonso.

The Chelsea left back appeared destined for the exit door at Stamford Bridge, with talk of a move to Atletico Madrid appearing in the summer and then re-surfacing in the January transfer window.

But injuries to initial first-choice Emerson Palmieri and a switch to a 3-4-3 formation have seen Alonso handed a second chance, and in Chelsea's desperate time of need, it is he who has come up with the goods in recent matches.

Marcos Alonso has scored more Premier League goals than any defender since August 2016

Marcos Alonso has scored more Premier League goals than any defender since August 2016

And the Spaniard's return to the team could serve as a blueprint for goalkeeper Kepa

And the Spaniard's return to the team could serve as a blueprint for goalkeeper Kepa

His arrowed drive against Tottenham ensured the Blues claimed victory over their rivals last week before his double against Bournemouth salvaged a point when it looked like Chelsea were headed to defeat this weekend. 

Alonso's double on the south coast means he now has four league goals this season - as many as winger Willian - and in 17 fewer matches, too.

His overall tally in Chelsea colours stands at 19 non-penalty goals in 105 Premier League matches, the most by any defender since August 2016 when he signed.

Brighton and Potter are 2020's biggest losers 

Brighton remain the biggest losers in the Premier League in 2020, and those with critical eyes will become further skeptical of the six-year contract handed to Graham Potter in November.

Despite their 23 shots in the M23 rivalry with Crystal Palace, the Seagulls remain the only side in England's top four divisions not to have won this calendar year.

The defeat came thanks to Jordan

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