Liverpool enjoyed an impressive pre-season - beating the likes of Bayern Munich and Athletic Bilbao - but it took them just eight minutes to concede their first Premier League goal of the 2017-18 season.
It came as a surprise to nobody that it was from a set-piece that Watford’s Stefano Okaka broke the deadlock.
Defending set-pieces has been a major problem for Jurgen Klopp’s side for a while now and the issue clearly hasn’t been resolved over the summer months.
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Sadio Mane equalised on the half-hour mark but, just three minutes later, Watford took the lead for the second time through Abdoulaye Doucoure.
No wonder Klopp was so determined to sign Virgil van Dijk from Southampton earlier this summer. He’ll be even more desperate to land the Dutch centre-back after today’s match at Vicarage Road.
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Barton destroys Klopp on talkSPORT
However, if Joey Barton was calling the shots at Liverpool - God forbid - Klopp wouldn’t even be in charge.
Ahead of the Reds’ Premier League opener, the former Premier League midfielder stunned everyone with his brutal assessment of the charismatic German coach.
"He is not trophy-laden like Mourinho or Guardiola, so we have to be sceptical of him,” Barton said in his new role as a pundit for talkSPORT. "He has gone in with all this charisma and seems a down to earth nice guy, but I always worry when I see him prancing up and down the touchline. He is like a giant German cheerleader for them!
"To be a top manager, you have got to have more of that. He has got a terrible record in finals.
"I'm not buying the Klopp aura and that he is this super coach. His career doesn't point that way.
"He has got one league title, one cup, in 2011/12. His Dortmund career ended in a hole in the ground. He lost the players, he lost the dressing room. They were fighting relegation.
"He had a great season last season against the top seven - phenomenal - but where you step up and win the Premier League is against the bottom 13. Against the bottom 13, he lost six games. Why? Because teams sit in and say 'we are not going to chase you down, harass you, you can have the ball in a certain area of the park and we are going to sit back and counter you', which is what Liverpool have done.
"The ego of the big teams is they say 'we have to play against Liverpool and take you on' and that leaves you vulnerable to Liverpool's strengths. The opposite position of that is the teams who say 'actually you can have the ball, we are not interested' and Liverpool have found that a problem. Are they going to find that more of a problem without Coutinho, a magician who can unlock defences? I would say so.
"Liverpool's game plan will be high-intensity, high-distance running, because that is what they did last season ajd that is what they have done in pre-season.
“The players he has brought - Salah, Mane - they are players to get in behind defences if you take that space away and sit deep, it doesn't matter how quick Salah is and how quick Mane is, that is when you need a Coutinho.
"They are not going to have a Coutinho this season. I think it is only a matter of time before he leaves, contrary to what Liverpool people think."
Twitter reaction to Barton's comments
Needless to say, there’s been a mixed reaction to Barton’s comments on Twitter…
Barton criticised Liverpool during Watford match
Barton, meanwhile, also criticised Liverpool on Twitter during the Reds’ 3-3 draw against Watford…
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