West London woes: How Brentford tore Liverpool asunder

Ibrahima Konate’s stumble at the slightest touch from Bryan Mbeumo perfectly summed up Liverpool’s shambolic performance against Brentford at the Gtech Community Stadium. The Frenchman was knocked off his stride with considerable ease, allowing Mbeumo to calmly slot past Alisson and secure a 3-1 win for the west London outfit. 

It was a night where Liverpool were outplayed, out-manoeuvred, and simply outfought — something you would never have expected from a Jurgen Klopp side. And yet, it has become all too frequent in the 2022-23 season. From the first whistle, Liverpool just couldn’t cope with Brentford’s intensity, and despite some fleeting moments where it looked like something was salvageable from the match, the Reds just couldn’t do justice to themselves despite their status as favourites in the football betting

Perhaps things would have been different if Darwin Nunez had converted a glorious early chance. The Uruguayan latched onto a through ball from Mohamed Salah, skipped around goalkeeper David Raya but could only smash his effort against the body of the retreating Ben Mee. Nunez’s profligacy has been a running theme this season, with the striker having missed a league-high 15 ‘big chances’ so far in this campaign.

After that, Brentford seemed to grow in confidence, and Liverpool wilted fast. The opening goal came from some slack defending from a corner, with the ball ricocheting off the unfortunate Konate and into the Liverpool net. 

With the atmosphere reaching fever pitch, Brentford continued to push, and frankly they could have found themselves 4-0 up at half-time, such was their dominance. After a couple of goals were ruled out for offside, Yoane Wissa finally made it 2-0, nodding home after Liverpool were overloaded at the back post. 

The half-time whistle was welcome relief for the breathless away side, and it was no surprise that Klopp rang the changes, with Andy Robertson, Naby Keita and Joel Matip entering the fray. 

The Reds briefly sparked into life, pulling one back through Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, but there was to be no full revival. Mbeumo’s goal was the final nail in Liverpool’s coffin, on a night where they could have no complaints about the scoreline. 

In their two previous matches, Liverpool were somewhat fortunate to escape with successive victories. The performances against both Aston Villa and Leicester City left a lot to be desired, and although both matches ended with three points earned, the cracks which Brentford exploited so effectively had already appeared.

It’s been a stuttering season for Klopp and co, who missed a golden chance to gain ground on the teams above them. If they are to recover their campaign and qualify for next season’s Champions League, it will take a real turnaround as far as performances are concerned.

The signing of Cody Gakpo offers a ray of hope. The Dutch striker proved at the World Cup that he has an eye for goal, and if he can come in and convert some of the chances that Nunez has been squandering on a regular basis, then it will go a long way towards helping this former winning machine rediscover their best form. 

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