Paul Tomkins, Andrew Beasley, Daniel Rhodes and other TTT regulars will give their thoughts on the match for 24 hours after the game, so the article received via email is unlikely to be the final version. There's statistics from the match and videos too.
Well, that was chastening. A team playing a little like Jürgen Klopp's old Dortmund, with energy and and pressing and fresh ideas, made his current Liverpool side look very ordinary, aside from a bright start to each half that gradually faded.
An equaliser at 2-1 would not have been unmerited as the Reds knocked at the door time and again, but then the ideas and belief seemed to dissipate in the final 15 minutes, and the home side got a breakaway goal from their only second-half effort.
If the Reds had the luck on Friday, they lacked it tonight.
Liverpool had several unlucky near misses, and two of Brentford's goals that stood would have been ruled out by other VARs and refs (Darren England is atrocious for the Reds, Stuart Attwell is atrocious for the Reds), when they also had two others ruled out for huge offsides, but Klopp's men continue to as give up so many big chances that each game feels edgy.
Even so, to concede when the ball brushes an opponent’s hand in order to knock it (accidentally) onto the leg of the defender it goes in off (which is effectively scoring via the handball), and to concede after a foul on the last defender that, while clearly soft, would definitely be given in almost all other games because of the nature of the way knife-edge decisions favour the defender in those situations, is galling; as was having a goal ruled out by a much tighter offside than Brentford's two – but where at least that objective decision was indeed correct, which is what VAR is good at (objective offsides).
After four league wins in a row it's not a disaster, with other clubs struggling to win all their games over the testing (and this year, unique) festive period, but the Reds' midfield – either the personnel, or how they are positioned – feels chaotic. Teams have worked out a way to prosper against Klopp's men.
It's also worth noting that Liverpool were unable to select four game-changing attackers (amongst about 10 absentees), three due to injury and one due to the weird way you can't get a work permit even after the transfer window opens, and the deal was concluded days earlier. With those, the bench would look much stronger, the XI would be fresher, and maybe the game would be won by the subs.
In the end, maybe half the team played fairly well, but half were either passengers, or worse. And no one played well for the 90 minutes.
Some looked jaded after a busy festive period, with no rotation options up front. Even so, after Darwin Núñez had his shot cleared off the line, the team's belief from a bright start seemed to wane. Ditto in the second half.
About a minute before Brentford took the lead I'd noted in the match thread that Liverpool had start to pass too slowly over the previous five minutes. The slow, safe, everyone-taking-too-many-touches passing is a sure sign of a team that's not quite right. It goes from side to side, and energetic teams just press the Reds.
As it was in the individual battles, it was between the two teams: Liverpool's passing versus Brentford's physical power. Overall, the latter just edged it, in part by winning a lot of those individual duels; but for 30 minutes in the first half, it was a chasm.
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