Liverpool drew 3-3 with Brentford on Saturday in an electric game. Here are three players we should be talking about coming out of the fixture.
Virgil van Dijk
Virgil van Dijk didn’t have a great game against Brentford. He was uncharacteristically bullied a little by Ivan Toney. Even if the striker didn’t quite ‘get the better’ of Van Dijk, he put him under more pressure than we’ve seen in a while.
Van Dijk only won six out of 11 headers in the game, for instance. That’s eyebrow-raising and while he did make a goal-saving tackle, he just wasn’t firing on all cylinders here.
Part of that is Joel Matip having a shocking game and part of that will be that he’s not fully in his rhythm. The way he dealt with Romelu Lukaku means we’re not too worried but it’s a reminder than Van Dijk isn’t 100% yet.
There were plenty of eyes on Curtis Jones for this one as he stepped into Thiago’s place. This came after a week in which we were really impressed with the Scouser – he showed incredible versatility to play three positions in seven days.
The performance was a good one. You can say he lost some focus ahead of Brentford’s opening goal but Jones’s all-round display was something to shout about.
There was his goal, of course – while it took a deflection, Jones struck it wonderfully well and he’s one of the few midfielders at the club who takes efforts like that.
And defensively, you can’t ask for much more. Jones won three out of three tackles – only Trent Alexander-Arnold won more on either side.
All in all, Jones made a solid case to retain his place vs Porto and, potentially, Manchester City.
Diogo Jota is an interesting case one. Liverpool can simultaneously thank him and blame him for it finished 3-3 against Brentford.
His movement and header for Liverpool’s equaliser was outstanding. But he also blew a couple of chances to score again. Regardless, he remains a fantastic threat for the Reds.
The problem, though, is that Liverpool aren’t as fluid when he plays as a striker. Jota doesn’t drop deep and link with midfield enough – he focuses on getting close to goal.
That makes it hard to play through the middle. You can see it in the stats – Jota had 36 touches vs Brentford. That’s just two more than Alisson and 12 fewer than any other outfield player.
It’ll be interesting to see how Klopp uses Roberto Firmino. The Brazilian offers a midfield link as a False 9 but can Liverpool lose Jota’s threat down the middle?