There was a sense of déjà vu during last Thursday’s pre-match press conference when Javi Gracia was questioned on the dangers of Watford slacking off.

With Watford’s Premier League status all-but secured by back-to-back 1-0 wins over Everton and West Bromwich Albion, the assertion was a fair one, especially given the Hornets’ recent history.

Last season saw Watford reach the all-important 40-point mark under Walter Mazzarri before failing to take a point from their final six games – a run which ultimately put the final nail in the Italian’s coffin.

A similar slump occurred under Quique Sanchez Flores 12-months earlier and Watford picked up a solitary win from their closing six games of the campaign.

Gracia was confident such a downturn in form would not take place under his watch and reiterated the fact he remains focused on taking the season a game at a time.

“We have spoken many times about the points we need and the situation of other teams. I do not like to speak about how many points you need,” he said.

“This is the best attitude. I am happy with 36 points but I know we need more points.”

However, there was evidence the intensity which has informed Watford’s game had dissipated somewhat against Arsenal.

The defensive failings which Gracia had largely managed to iron out were present once more as Sebastian Prodl in particular looked off the pace.

Arsenal made light work of dispatching Watford at the Emirates, despite Troy Deeney passing up a chance from the penalty spot, and Watford rarely looked like exploiting the fractious atmosphere among Arsenal supporters.

Similar flaws will undoubtedly be exploited at Anfield on Saturday as Watford come up against a Liverpool side which has found the net 68 times in the league this season.

Losing at Anfield would be no disgrace but would leave the Hornets heading into the international break on the end of two successive losses.

They return with a run of home games which sees first Bournemouth and then Burnley visit Vicarage Road before making the journey north to face Huddersfield.

Those three games may well define how Watford’s campaign is viewed in its entirety and positive results could take them to within touching distance of a Watford record.

The 45 points occurred under Sanchez Flores in 2016 is the club’s best in the Premier League and 10 more points from Watford’s final eight games would see that total surpassed.

It is a goal well worth chasing and one which would add a tangible reward to Gracia’s first few months in the Vic hot seat.

Further home games against Crystal Palace and Newcastle make this total eminently achievable, and reaching it would provide a positive end to a season which looked like turning sour at times.