Back in August, it may need appeared unimaginable for Brentford to high their 4-0 thrashing of Manchester United, however they got here shut right here in opposition to Liverpool. They had the ball within the internet 4 instances within the first half, at the least, as Liverpool misplaced their heads and suffered a defeat that’s as damaging as it’s embarrassing. Perhaps the harshest reality that Jurgen Klopp should face is that his workforce seemed just like the model of Manchester United these on Merseyside have loved mocking in recent times: weak defensively, missing management throughout the pitch and going through an actual combat to make the highest 4.
Even with out Ivan Toney, Brentford bullied Liverpool, producing the total expertise of what you anticipate from Thomas Frank’s facet on this nook of west London. The injury was carried out within the first half because of Yoane Wissa, and it was sealed late on as Bryan Mbeumo barged Ibrahima Konate apart so as to add Brentford’s third. Without Toney, Brentford weren’t dialled down however fairly powered up by the deployment of Mbeumo and Wissa as break up strikers. Mbeumo was a continuing menace along with his inswinging supply, whereas Wissa greater than replicated Toney’s hustle and bustle. He doubled Brentford’s lead earlier than half-time, after he had seen two different targets disallowed in a frantic interval of play.
All of which is a damning indictment of Liverpool’s alarming regression. This was a show that mirrored the defensive vulnerability and fragility of a few of their worst shows within the early days of Klopp. But a workforce who had been on for the quadruple final season, the mentality monsters, crumbled. They had been a shambles when requested to resist Brentford’s direct assaults, as poor at instances because the Manchester United facet thrashed right here at the beginning of the season. That is likely to be the worst insult of all, and the fact is bleaker nonetheless, given how Erik ten Hag’s facet have turned it round and now sit 4 factors above them in fourth with a sport in hand.
But Brentford’s exceptional Premier League journey continues. With one other top-six scalp below their belts, Frank’s facet have now crushed each Liverpool and Manchester City this season, two of Europe’s excellent sides from final marketing campaign. Brentford are not often accommodating hosts and Liverpool ought to have recognized what was coming. They emerged from Kew Bridge final season with a bloody nostril following a 3-3 thriller and Liverpool once more did not take care of the bombardment that was inevitably going to come back their method. Brentford uncovered the problems in Klopp’s facet that had been fairly lined over by the World Cup break and four-game successful run within the Premier League.
That has now come to an abrupt finish, and the duty Liverpool need to catch as much as the Champions League positions is all of the extra tougher now. The coronary heart of the issues had been in defence, with Virgil van Dijk taken off at half time and Konate struggling on his first look for the reason that final eight minutes within the World Cup last. It was his contact that beat Alisson as Brentford took the lead halfway by means of the primary half, as Mbeumo’s inswinging nook dismissed Ben Mee’s hand and deflected in off the France worldwide’s thigh.
Liverpool had simply been rescued by Alisson when Wissa discovered the area behind Van Dijk to play in Mbeumo, however they didn’t heed the warning as Brentford sparked chaos in Liverpool’s field. It wouldn’t be the final time, both. Shortly after taking the lead, one other Mbeumo nook from the precise was flicked on on the close to publish and scrambled in by Wissa. The striker was offside however Mbeumo had Liverpool frightened along with his inswinging corners to the entrance publish.
Mbeumo then hung one again, discovering Wissa. His shot deflected in off Mee, who was offside this time. It was one other let off for Liverpool, after Alisson had led the livid remonstrations in the direction of the assistant referee. Given that fury, Liverpool’s response was astonishing. From the free kick, Harvey Elliott misplaced possession. Mbeumo rolled it again to Vitaly Janelt. Trent Alexander-Arnold was caught outnumbered on the again publish. Wissa climbed and beat Alisson with a downward header. In the delirium, this one counted.
Liverpool’s heads had been spinning and Klopp was ruthless along with his modifications on the break. Van Dijk, Elliott and Kostas Tsimikas, who missed a transparent alternative to equalise when Liverpool had been 1-0 down, had been introduced off in a triple change. Within two minutes, Darwin Nunez had the ball within the internet because of a composed, volley end previous David Raya, solely it was Liverpool’s flip to have a purpose disallowed. Nunez, as he’s usually liable to do, had strayed offside earlier than latching onto Thiago’s lofted move behind the Brentford defence.
It was extra distress for Nunez, who may need given Liverpool the lead after eight minutes had been it not for some glorious defending from Mee on the road. Mohamed Salah introduced the ball down and his exact move to search out Nunez was as beautiful as his preliminary contact. The striker took the ball round Raya, just for Mee to slip in on the road to divert it broad. It was Nunez’s 18th shot for the reason that World Cup with out scoring. Some of these have been poor finishes, however there have been different examples of dangerous luck, of a participant who can’t get a break. This was one other such instance.
Yet, after half-time, Klopp did discover the response he was on the lookout for. Alexander-Arnold produced a superb cross along with his left foot to arrange Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s header inside 5 minutes of the restart. It was Alexander-Arnold’s first Premier League help of the season whereas Oxlade-Chamberlain had his first purpose in 12 months. If Cody Gakpo had been registered to make his Liverpool debut, maybe Oxlade-Chamberlain wouldn’t have performed.
But Liverpool had been missing attacking inspiration and spark that they’re abruptly determined for Gakpo to supply. Salah was quiet other than his early class. Nunez dragged a shot broad from the precise angle, and this one was dangerous fairly than unfortunate. Thiago had a shot blocked as Liverpool dominated possession however failed to interrupt Brentford down, Frank’s facet had been resilient once more at defending their very own field, this time holding onto the two-goal lead they squandered in opposition to Tottenham on Boxing Day.
The stress from Liverpool was persistent however not unrelenting. Konate headed broad, with Salah arriving on the again publish, however after absorbing a lot, it was Brentford who scored on the counter-attack. Mbeumo raced to gather a ball behind the Liverpool back-line, received on high of Konate, and completed below Alisson. Liverpool, not for the primary time tonight, had been properly crushed.