Liverpool were dreadful in their 3-1 defeat at Brentford, with few players warranting a positive rating in a performance to forget.
Brentford 3-1 Liverpool
Premier League (17), Gtech Community Stadium
January 2, 2023
Goals: Konate OG 19′, Wissa 42′, Mbeuma 84′; Oxlade-Chamberlain 50′
Alisson – 6 (out of 10)
Saw the ball cross his line four times in the first half but was hardly at fault for any of them, though fingers could be pointed at the goalkeeper with a back line lacking in organisation.
He was then beaten one more time, though. A thankless task.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 5
After Liverpool scraped a 2-1 win over Leicester on Friday, Alexander-Arnold gave a candid interview in which he admitted he had “not helped himself” at times when it came to criticism of his defensive game.
That was again on show as he was caught at the far post for Yoane Wissa’s goal, but so too was the quality he brings as a creative outlet on the right, registering his first assist of the season for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain‘s header.
Ibrahima Konate – 4
Making his first start in almost two months following injury and a run to the World Cup final, it was a difficult night for Konate as Brentford targeted the space behind Liverpool’s defence.
He did looker calmer and more composed as things settled in the second half, which Liverpool will need given the possible absence of Virgil van Dijk.
Wanted a foul as he was brushed off the ball for Bryan Mbeumo’s clincher, but it was just too weak.
Virgil van Dijk – 4
Brentford exposed Liverpool’s left-hand side throughout the first half and a sleepwalking captain was culpable during a brittle 45-minute showing.
Fingers crossed it isn’t a major issue, though, as Van Dijk remains a key player.
Kostas Tsimikas – 3
Replacement for Andy Robertson following a dead leg for the Scot, Tsimikas struggled to fill in before being hooked at half-time.
He was at fault for Wissa’s second disallowed goal with a shoddy pass, and then found himself caught short as Harvey Elliott dummied into danger in the buildup to the effort that eventually stood.
Fabinho – 6
He cannot do it alone, though, with too much asked of the Brazilian, who was booked when covering for Thiago.
Harvey Elliott – 3
He looks lost in midfield at present – unable to offer enough on the ball, offering very little off it – with the absence of other players leaving Klopp to depend on him too regularly.
Thiago – 5
Mohamed Salah – 5
It may take time to adjust to a slightly new role as secondary nuisance, but Liverpool could certainly do with more from their No. 11 as they struggle to dominate games.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 7 (Man of the Match)
Though it is being viewed as a shop-window run for Oxlade-Chamberlain, in the absence of key forwards and with Cody Gakpo ineligible, there have been positive signs from the 29-year-old.
This was certainly the case again on Monday, with Klopp’s lesser-spotted utility man bright and busy, taking his goal well – his first in almost a year.
Darwin Nunez – 7
The embodiment of a meme.
Nunez almost scored a beautiful goal in the first half only to see his effort cleared off the line, and then netted brilliantly two minutes into the second half only to be found offside.
He then shanked one horribly wide as Liverpool chased an equaliser and was booked for a needless foul during a corner routine.
But overall, the positives still outweigh the negatives for a player whose strong performances are contrary to the lazy depictions in the media.
Naby Keita (on for Elliott, 46”) – 6
A convincing candidate to start next time out, Keita at least tried to bring positivity to the midfield.
Joel Matip (on for Van Dijk, 46′) – 6
Offered his now-trademark runs from deep, including one which led to a chance for Keita.
Andy Robertson (on for Tsimikas, 46′) – 6
Got Liverpool on the front foot and tried to rally the troops as stand-in captain.
Curtis Jones (on for Oxlade-Chamberlain, 83′) – N/A
A first appearance in almost two months and hopefully the last of his injury problems.
Subs not used: Kelleher, Phillips, Gomez, Bajcetic, Carvalho
Jurgen Klopp – 6
The continued reliance on Elliott appears to be impacting the No. 19, while Keita has looked ready to take over with his two substitute appearances.
But to his credit, Klopp reacted well to a shocking first half with three substitutes – one forced, two not – and in particular addressing the void in his midfield.
It will need an inquest to solve his overriding problems in defence and midfield, though, with almost a week now to workshop solutions at the AXA.