Watford - Liverpool centre-back Virgil van Dijk lamented an "unacceptable" display after the team's run of 44 games without defeat in the Premier League ended with a shock 3-0 loss away to strugglers Watford on Saturday.
"First of all credit to Watford, they deserve it... It's a tough one to take but that's football," van Dijk told Sky Sports after the stunning reverse at Vicarage Road. "We have to improve and we will."
Reigning European champions Liverpool, bidding for their first title of the Premier League era, were undone by Ismaila Sarr's second-half double and a 72nd-minute goal from Troy Deeney.
Defeat ended Liverpool's hopes of winning their first English championship crown in 30 years with an unbeaten season as they lost in the league for the first time since January 2019.
"We have to improve we have to do better," said van Dijk, with Liverpool still a mammoth 22 points clear of second-placed Manchester City, the current English title-holders, despite this defeat.
"It's not acceptable we lose 3-0 here."
Saturday's remarkable loss put paid to Liverpool's hopes of equalling Arsenal's celebrated 'Invincibles', who enjoyed an unbeaten campaign while winning the 2003/04 Premier League title as part of a sequence of 49 top-flight matches without defeat.
But Dutch international van Dijk said: "Losing hurts, the records are only for the media. We want to win our next game (against Chelsea in the FA Cup on Tuesday), we want to strike back straight away."
Victory saw Watford climb out of the relegation zone, albeit on goal difference alone, and elated goalkeeper Ben Foster said: "It's easy if you do it like that - we had a game plan and stuck to it really well."