Roy Hodgson admitted his frustration at a VAR decision going against Watford but felt his side’s display against Liverpool was encouraging.
The Hornets went down 2-0 at Anfield and remain in the relegation zone. Diogo Jota bagged the opener on 22 minutes but the Reds could not find a second until right at the death. That came via the penalty spot as Fabinho stroked home from 12 yards following Juraj Kucka’s foul on Jota.
The hosts were not at their best but did enough to move to the top of the table. Manchester City face Burnley on Saturday afternoon and can knock them off their perch.
Watford are fighting a different battle at the other end of the standings. Hodgson was pleased with aspects of his charges’ display and felt they got no help from the video referee.
“There was a lot to admire in the performance. I was a bit saddened by that VAR penalty decision at the end because there was no appeal by any Liverpool player for a penalty,” he told BT Sport.
“Jurgen and I had no idea what they were checking or what they were doing. So I don’t really think that’s what VAR is about.
“VAR’s done so many good things this season but its not about giving a team a second goal in the 88th minute.
“It destroyed the feeling that 1-0 is a great result and we might even have created a chance or so in that last 10 minutes. But I’m pleased with the players’ performance.”
And the former England boss felt the quality of the opening goal highlighted the gulf in class between the sides.
“The goal came after one of our best chances, that’s why they are top of the league and we’re in the bottom three,” he added.
Hodgson issues Watford rallying cry
Watford have 22 points from 30 games played and are three points from safety. However 17th-place Everton have three games in hand on the Hertfordshire outfit.
The Vicarage Road side do have some winnable fixtures on the horizon but they also must face Manchester City and Chelsea.
And Hodgson believes his men proved that they will not just make up the numbers against the top clubs.
“Today’s performance against Liverpool gave some heart that we can ask them a few questions because there’s no doubt today it wasn’t a walk in the park for Liverpool,” he continued.
“They had to fight and do all the things they are very good at in order to get the result. And we can consider ourselves a bit unfortunate that some of the work we did didn’t result in us coming away with something.”