Jurgen Klopp explained how Liverpool were unable to control the game in their defeat to Brentford, whom he felt dictated the match into the way they wanted it to be.
Liverpool started 2023 with a defeat after they were beaten 3-1 by Brentford. The hosts took the lead when Ibrahima Konate turned the ball into his own net, before they doubled their advantage via a goal from Yoane Wissa.
By that point, Brentford had already had a further two goals ruled out for offsides. Wissa was denied for the first and then his effort for the second was deflected in off a teammate (Ben Mee) in an illegal position.
Even with those goals ruled out, Liverpool had been stunned by Brentford.
They had a disallowed goal of their own shortly after the break, when Darwin Nunez was offside. Soon after, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain headed in Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cross to pull one back, but Bryan Mbeumo scored late on for Brentford to make it 3-1.
After consecutive Premier League wins at the back end of 2022, Liverpool have come back down to earth with their first fixture of the new year.
Now, Brentford are just two points behind them in the table (albeit having played a game more).
According to Klopp, Brentford made sure it was the game they wanted rather than what Liverpool were hoping for, including in terms of some on-field decisions.
Klopp told Sky Sports: “It’s a wild game, one Brentford wants, I’m not sure you can really control it all the time because each corner is a massive threat, obviously they stretch the routes in these moments.
“We conceded the first goal in the moment where we should already be 2-0 up, I think, super chances from Darwin (Nunez) and Kostas (Tsimikas), pretty much alone in front of the goal.
“Darwin doesn’t expect Ben Mee to be shooting there and, of course, the shooting technique can be better but we didn’t use that.
“It was more the game they wanted than we wanted which dictated, because of the game, the way it got whistled and how the situations were with set-pieces.
“We have to accept that but, of course, we have to be much more clear in the situations where we are in control of the game.”
Klopp explains triple substitution for Liverpool against Brentford
In a separate interview with BBC Sport, Klopp insisted his side – who had more shots overall than Brentford, but fewer on target – looked threatening too.
The manager said: “We should have scored tonight an awful lot of goals as well. When we were direct, when we had runs in behind, we were pretty much always dangerous.”
Klopp made a triple substitution at half time, taking off Virgil van Dijk, Kostas Tsimikas and Harvey Elliott for Joel Matip, Andy Robertson and Naby Keita.
Only one of them was enforced by an injury concern, which in itself isn’t worrying Klopp or the player in question too much.
Klopp told beIN Sports: “Virgil felt the hamstring a little bit. He said he is fine, but when I said we don’t take any risks, the physios were quite happy with that.
“I think it is nothing serious, but that’s why we changed him. In the other two positions, we wanted to have fresh legs and different skillsets.”
Liverpool are next in action on Saturday when they host Wolves in the FA Cup third round.
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