Jürgen Klopp's verdict on Brentford 3-1 Liverpool

Press conferenceJürgen Klopp's verdict on Brentford 3-1 Liverpool

Published 2nd January 2023
By James Carroll and Glenn Price at the Gtech Community Stadium

‘We are responsible for the defeat,’ was Jürgen Klopp’s assessment after Liverpool suffered a 3-1 loss at Brentford in the Premier League on Monday night.

The Reds were beaten at the Gtech Community Stadium, with an own-goal from Ibrahima Konate and a header from Yoane Wissa establishing a 2-0 lead at the break for the hosts.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s header halved the deficit almost immediately after the restart; however, the visitors were unable to find a leveller and went further behind late on when Bryan Mbeumo netted a third.

Read on for a summary of what Klopp had to say in his post-match press conference.

On the result and Liverpool's performance...

The start in the game was really good; we had top chances, could have – [and] should have – scored there already before Brentford had their first corner. I know people don't want to hear it, but they use everything in these moments and that’s why it is really difficult to defend. I have to watch it back, but I am pretty sure we could have probably won the header in the first-post area. Then the ball goes through, Ibou couldn’t see the ball when he arrived there, gets it on his knee and the ball is in. You know before the game they are really strong there, you cannot avoid all corners and these kind of things.

Match action: Brentford 3-1 LFC

The game got decided by the second goal in the end, which is absolutely our fault and nothing else. We got away with an offside or whatever it was. That’s all OK and then we are not awake when they just go directly against our line again. They can cross the ball and there they score the second goal and that decided the game in the end. We had big chances in the first half, a free header [from] Ibou, Oxlade in the box when Thiago chips the ball there on the chest [but he] cannot control it. Of course, then [there was] Darwin and Kostas’ chances. The second half, we start super, exactly like we wanted. We had Robbo down the line, crossing the ball in. You have the goal Darwin scores [where] he did exceptional but in the end it was slightly offside. Then we scored this wonderful goal from Oxalde, so that's all OK, but then with time, rhythm breaks, going down and a lot of time running down the watch without any football action, we lost precision, we were not that clear anymore.

We felt the intensity of the game and then in the moment when you try to settle again, we conceded a third goal which should have been disallowed because it is a full-throttle sprint from two players and when you then get a push in this moment, you can lose balance and you go down. It is, of course, not a harsh foul or whatever, it is just a little situation, whistle it away but Stuart Atwell saw it differently. The VAR who checked it, they hide then generally in these moments behind the phrase it is not clear and obvious. So, the second goal decided the game, the third goal shouldn’t have been allowed and we should have played better.

Through set-pieces, Brentford have always the chance to create chaos. That's what they do and they do that really well. I respect that a lot and it is really good and well-organised and everything, but we had a lot of chances in not a top, top, top-class game. We still had these chances and that's what we know, we have to improve that, in other moments – the second goal – it was a present to Brentford and that’s the one I am really angry about. The others, one should have been disallowed the other is unlucky. Yes, it doesn’t feel great. Your BBC colleague asked me how much below we are to last year and he compared the two games – when we played a 3-3 here. I thought tonight we had more chances than we had in that game, so that's OK and the rest was the same wild and chaotic game like that time. They put everything in, we took the fight – it’s not that we didn’t fight, not at all – but in the end we are responsible for the defeat.

On Liverpool's defending...

Where it looked really like they can score the fourth one was after they were 3-1 up – these counter-attacking moments and we threw everything up front. The way they play is clear. And the defending around the second goal didn't surprise me, it's just not right. They just chipped the ball in behind and we can deny the cross, and I think with two players we are there doubling but let him still cross the ball and that they come with two players in the far-post area we knew before the game, so you need to know where they are coming from and then you can step in – but we didn’t do that and that’s why this goal is the one we should have defended. But it's nothing to do with general defending. 

You cannot defend long balls all time. They were super-direct – that limits them in some aspects but for these kind of games it gives them always the chance to create real chaos and that’s what they do and they organise that extremely well, all my respect, so that’s good. But you cannot defend that clear-cut all the time, you have to fight as well and you have to use your own opportunities because their defending is now not like the opponent has no chances. So I think it would have been no surprise if the game was 2-2 after 55 minutes or whatever and from there I would have loved to see the game. But it didn’t happen because of us and then when they scored the third goal you could see after very intense games we had now – and this today was super intense as well – it didn't look like the biggest belief was there anymore.

On the three substitutions at half-time...

Virgil felt a little bit the muscle but said he is fine, and he's a very good judge of these kind of things. But I didn't want to take any risk – the physios looked quite happy when I said we don’t take risks. But I think it is not an injury, he just felt the intensity. Yeah, the other two things were tactical. We had obviously had the opportunities. We could bring Naby, who I think played a really good game, and Robbo – and Robbo with the first action after half-time was exactly what we needed. We needed that speed in behind and so that was the reason for these two changes.

On what he said to his team at half-time...

We started well in the first half as well, didn't we? So nothing really special. We have to just remind the boys of the things we need to do to cause Brentford the problems. So a 2-0 lead is good but is very dangerous as well, and I think we showed that immediately. When it was 2-1, we were much closer to score the equaliser than they were to score the third goal. But it stayed a big fight because they threw everything in. Of course they deserved the win, it’s clear, but in the end, how I said, the second goal decided the game because coming out of half-time and scoring the equaliser would have been much nicer than just the first goal. That's it. 

On Liverpool's position in the table...

So we can change our position only by winning football games and tonight is obviously the opposite, so we didn't gain any points, cannot take anything from it. How I said, we have to win football games and that we have a lot of players not available in the moment, you can see that in changes and when we change it's now not that we can just throw in offensive players and stuff like this to give somebody a rest or say, 'OK, come on, you did enough for today.' So they all pretty much have to fight through. That's the situation and nothing else.

Published 2nd January 2023