Liverpool must take lessons from their 3-0 defeat at Watford on Saturday and aim to 'strike back' immediately, said Virgil van Dijk.

After a run of 44 Premier League matches without a loss, the Reds were beaten at Vicarage Road as goals from Ismaila Sarr (two) and Troy Deeney earned the Hornets all three points.

Van Dijk, who captained the side on the evening, spoke to Sky Sports post-match and reflected honestly on a frustrating outing for the leaders.

The Dutchman also insisted the solution to their disappointment is to return to winning ways at the earliest opportunity next week.

On the reasons for the defeat…

First of all, credit to Watford. They deserved it if you look at the game, the chances they created. They stuck to their plan and obviously scored three goals. I don’t think we created too many big opportunities. So we shouldn’t take the credit away from Watford. Obviously we want to look at ourselves with most of the things and we have to. We have to improve again. It’s a tough one to take, but it’s football as well.

On Liverpool’s defending…

If you concede three goals, that’s something we didn’t have for quite a while. Obviously we have to improve as a team in total. We will. It’s very tough to take this one. The only positive thing might be that we have an FA Cup game in a couple of days, a very good one.

On conceding five goals in the past two games…

The last game [was] one set-piece and one good goal. Today, it should be better obviously, that’s clear. But if you look at the whole season we have been pretty good defensively, I think we have the most clean sheets in the league. But we know there is room for improvement and we will. That’s the good thing about our mentality. We won’t walk away from this. We have to improve, we have to do better. It’s not acceptable that we lose here 3-0 – and also the way [we lost] as well.

On whether the end of the unbeaten run specifically hurts…

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, 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.

On why the manner of today’s defeat was so disappointing…

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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