Jurgen Klopp described Liverpool’s 3-0 win over Brentford as a “special” performance, given the “horrible” situations the visitors created at Anfield – although Bees boss Thomas Frank felt Wataru Endo should have been sent off.
Liverpool had been frustrated in their past two games, drawing away to Luton in the Premier League and losing at Toulouse in the Europa League, but extended their winning streak at Anfield to nine games at the start of this season on Sunday.
The victory wasn’t as straightforward as the scoreline suggested, though, with Brentford winning the Expected Goals battle and Alisson having to save from a one-on-one chance for Bryan Mbeumo at 0-0.
Afterwards, Klopp was delighted with the response of his team, with those three points putting them firmly in the title race ahead of a trip to Manchester City on Sky Sports after the international break.
“Top performance, top result, super difficult opponent,” he said. “Whatever happens on the pitch, they will have a set-piece and if they have one, how horrible is that? And then outside of set-pieces, they have really good ideas.
“The chances they had in the first half, I can’t remember who played the pass for Mbeumo, but the whole situation, oh my god, these things could have happened much more often.
“These moments, horrible. Couldn’t respect it any more, but they’re horrible. But to put a performance like that on the pitch is really special.
“It was not an easy week, we are super self-critical and the results are one thing, the performances are another thing. I’ve never experienced season with faultless performance every week or three days. Then you have to react.
“Super-difficult opponent. Injury-wise, line-up-wise – the line-up was good, but then we were really young on the bench. Today could have been filled of possible excuses – Cody [Gakpo] playing in midfield, the wind, the opponent, the set-pieces, and I saw just a team who wanted to win this football game and we deserved it.”
Frank: These days Endo tackle is a red
Brentford boss Frank was proud of his side’s display, describing it as their best yet at Anfield. “I really like the way we played,” he said. “The forwards were good, we were brave and aggressive. When we went man to man and high pressure, we opened the game up. That is normally to the advantage of Liverpool.
“We did so many things right, but the big moments we didn’t manage very well. But a lot of positives to take from this game. We’ve created more chances than we’ve done here before.”
However, he did leave the north west with one frustration: that Liverpool midfielder Endo was not shown a red card for his strong tackle on Christian Norgaard shortly after half-time.
Referee Paul Tierney didn’t even award a foul for the sliding tackle in the middle of the park, while VAR Stuart Attwell concluded after a review that it didn’t warrant a sending off.
Frank made it clear he felt it was worthy of a yellow in normal circumstances – but argued recent precedent meant it deserved a red.
“It was a clear foul and a yellow card. But in the old days, and I’m not that old but let’s say five years ago, it was never a red. A yellow probably on the pitch, but these days with the VAR and the way they are being reffed, then I think it’s a red,” he said.
“If you look at the slow motion footage that you use, then it’s clear studs on leg and he’s definitely going over the ball with too much force, Endo on Christian. And then you can look at the four bloody marks on his leg. With that in mind, I just want consistency.
“These examples I’m giving now, I don’t think they’re red cards, but the way it is now, then they’re definitely reds. The Curtis Jones against Tottenham, the [Marcus] Rashford against FC Copenhagen, the Josh Dasilva one for us against Newcastle and then this.
“The level they want to put it into, then it’s a red.”