Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool ‘couldn’t deal’ as Brentford exploited a weakness in the side. It’s one the Reds must fix quickly.
The one thing we didn’t think we’d get out of Brentford v Liverpool was a high-scoring game. The two teams went into this one having conceded a combined three goals over ten games.
And yet it finished 3-3. Both teams found chances in the game and while Liverpool may have had more, no one can begrudge Brentford their goals.
Jurgen Klopp certainly doesn’t, admitting after the game that the Bees deserved what they got. Liverpool, he says, just couldn’t deal with their opponents going forward.
Klopp on a Liverpool weakness
“They deserved their three goals for the way they played,” Klopp told Sky Sports. “We obviously couldn’t deal with them properly, with those long balls today, for different reasons.
“We should have scored more goals.”
It’s not often that teams try a long-ball tactic against Liverpool. Their defenders excel at handling aerial threats – particularly, Virgil van Dijk.
But Bournemouth found a way to really exploit Liverpool. You can see that in the stats. Ivan Toney competed for 14 headers and won seven.
Even if that’s only 50%, it’s still seven times that Brentford could put Liverpool under pressure. Van Dijk only won 55% of his headers, Joel Matip 45% – they struggled badly here.
One obvious tactic by Brentford, however, was to overload Trent Alexander-Arnold. The full-back isn’t known for his aerial presence anyway – let alone when he’s battling three attackers.
But that was the situation he found himself in for each of Brentford’s last two goals. They clipped it up to the far post, swarmed Alexander-Arnold and scored from the knockdown.
And that’s clearly a weakness in this Liverpool team. Brentford were able to do it twice in one half and the Reds didn’t adapt.
We can’t even blame Alexander-Arnold for that. How is he supposed to win a header against three players? Someone should have offered him more help and it’s a sign of how out of sorts Liverpool’s centre-backs were that he didn’t get it.
Hopefully, this was a learning experience because we can’t imagine it’s the last time that happens this season. Liverpool can’t leave Alexander-Arnold so ridiculously exposed.