Former Arsenal defender Lauren, a member of the famous Invincibles team, has paid tribute to Liverpool after the Reds’ hopes of emulating the unbeaten Gunners ended on Saturday. Liverpool had gone 27 matches unbeaten this term and 44 league games without defeat stretching back to January of last year, but crashed to a shock 3-0 loss to relegation-threatened Watford at Vicarage Road.
Jurgen Klopp’s runaway league leaders are still expected to claim a first title in 30 years, courtesy of a 22-point advantage over reigning champions Manchester City.
But they can no longer claim the additional golden trophy won by Arsene Wenger and the 2003-04 Arsenal team that went all 38 matches without a loss after Ismaila Sarr and Troy Deeney’s goals put them to the sword in Hertfordshire.
Arsenal’s famous streak stretched 49 games – the longest in English football history. In Europe’s top five leagues, that has only ever been bested by AC Milan from 1991 to 1993 who went 58 games unbeaten, while Bayern Munich managed 53 across 2012 to 2014.
Naturally, Liverpool’s loss was greeted by delight in north London with Arsenal fans ecstatic to maintain their proud record of being the only team in England since 1888-89’s Preston North End team to go a full top-flight season unbeaten.
And Lauren, a member of the Arsenal team to have done so 16 years ago, took a moment to congratulate Liverpool on coming close to matching Wenger’s unforgettable side.
The ex-right-back wrote alongside a picture of the 2003-04 Gunners side celebrating their title: “We became legends. We still are… and remain unbeaten!
“Because we are @Arsenal. (PS: Congrats on your extraordinary record, @LFC).”
The former Cameroonian international played 33 of Arsenal’s 38 matches that season and spent six seasons with the club, winning two league titles, three FA Cups and two Community Shields.
- Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp issues challenge to Reds squad after loss
Arsenal’s official Twitter account also paid homage to Liverpool’s feat while expressing their relief their own record remains unparalleled.
Shortly after Watford’s win was confirmed by the full time whistle, the Londoners’ account posted: “Phew…”
They then soon followed that up with: “Congratulations on a formidable unbeaten run, @LFC.”
Liverpool had gone on a joint-Premier League record 18-match winning streak before suffering a reverse at the hands of Watford.
But Reds boss Jurgen Klopp dismissed any suggestion he was disappointed his title-chasing team’s undefeated run came to an end.
“Not really, because I don’t think you can break records because you want to break records,” the German coach declared.
“You break records because you are 100 per cent focused on each step you have to do, whatever record it is – a marathon or whatever – and for that you have to perform.
“The boys performed and that’s why we won the games, but tonight we were not good enough and that’s not now a plus for me that I think in history, when they look back in 500 years and will say ‘Liverpool nearly did it’.
“That’s not my main concern, you cannot change that and it was always clear, sometime we would lose a game.
“We didn’t wait for it, but it was clear it would happen – we didn’t think about it, but we knew it would happen and tonight it happened.
“Now I see it rather positive because the closer you come to these records… I am not bothered, but I am not sure how other people think about it, so now on we can play free football again.
“We don’t have to defend or try to get a record, we can just try to win football games again and that is what we will do.”
Similarly, centre-back Virgil van Dijk declared: “Losing hurts. The records are only for the media, we didn’t even mention it once.
“We keep going, we want to win the next game ahead of us, that’s the FA Cup [vs Chelsea on Tuesday night], and then we have Bournemouth at home.
“We want to strike back, we want to show what we’ve been doing the whole season. That’s the only way forward.
“The whole season, we didn’t lose a game like this. They did very well, but we should have done better. We want to strike back straight away and we will.”
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