Lessons Learned: Brentford

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Where to even start with this one. A hard watch for all Reds against Brentford, as Liverpool were outfought, outrun and came away with what they deserved from the Gtech Community stadium. The outcry on social media was vast and no-one escaped, all the way from the manager to the owners. Liverpool’s season appears to be on the precipice right now and after a few good recent results, the performance wasn’t unexpected. We try and salvage some lessons learned from this…

Midfield a Mess

Another game, another open midfield. It’s unfair to single young Harvey Elliott out, but there was real concern when the youngster was named in the starting line-up and his being hooked at half-time told its own story. Liverpool were without their captain Jordan Henderson due to a concussion and in truth they could have used his presence here, though it likely wouldn’t have changed everything. Fabinho’s return was welcome but a lack of recovery pace was exposed in an open midfield where Thiago had some nice moments but looked tired and in need of a rest.

It was telling that the introduction of a player who can now sign a pre agreement with another club in Naby Keita, provided a boost with his willingness to drive and commit players. This isn’t anything new for a midfield that’s looked short on pace, running power and energy all season. Whether it’s personnel, structural or whatever stance you wish to take (I believe it’s both personally) then it requires major surgery. If only there was a period you could bring in players to help…

Defensive Dramas

It was a nightmare day for the defence and especially the centre backs, as Brentford got behind them time and time again. Ibou Konate and Virgil Van Dijk had torrid evenings with the Dutchman’s game ending at half times as an apparent precaution but not before he’d been outpaced by Mbeumo and rescued by Allison. The majority of Reds were happy at the reintroduction of Konate into the starting line up, but an own goal and a lack of physicality at best for the third despite any of Jurgen Klopp’s post-match comments made it an afternoon to forget for him.

The introduction of both Joel Matip and Andy Robertson in the second half definitely helped as did the withdrawal of Tsimikas with Brentford having repeatedly found joy down his side, as the Greek badly struggled against the barrage and missed a great chance to equalise. The talk of the high line has been dismissed as lazy punditry based on style and the joy Liverpool have had in recent years. On the current evidence and with the personnel in the form they’re currently in, it maybe one for Jurgen Klopp to revisit.

Salah Issues

This had a feeling of the Forest game, where the talisman looked far too wide before being moved up top after the pattern had been set. For all the chatter around Darwin Nunez, if Liverpool are going to enjoy any part of this season then the Egyptian king will
be absolutely key. There’s a suspicion that his position is being altered to fit or assist the Uruguayan, but Salah is Liverpool’s main man and changing his posts on continuously doesn’t seem to benefit anyone at the moment. With Gakpo coming in and Firmino likely back soon, this should hopefully help. Especially as it looks like we’ll have to outscore teams with regularity.

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