Liverpool face battle of perfection – and Brentford lessons could be key

There are just over three months left of this season, and Liverpool still have everything to fight for. Their next opponent presents a timely reminder from when the Reds were last in this position.

Jurgen Klopp‘s side have lost just four games in all competitions this season, and only two in the league – but we know it is often draws that kill you.

So far, Liverpool have had to settle for a point in the league on six different occasions – twice more than Man City – and twice they relinquished a winning position.

When the finest of margins decide who lifts the trophy in May, Liverpool know they must keep their foot on their opponent’s throat – and lessons from a previous Brentford visit could be timely.


Don’t need to look too far back

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 25, 2021: Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk looks dejected after the FA Premier League match between Brentford FC and Liverpool FC at the Brentford Community Stadium. The game ended in a 3-3 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

In 2021/22, when Liverpool were one point and one last day victory away from a quadruple, you could not help but attempt to identify what could have been improved, what could have been different.

That season, Klopp’s men again finished one point behind City after losing less (two defeats to three) but drawing more (eight to six) in the Premier League.

And oddly enough, we’re currently looking at a similar record in the table. The Reds have lost fewer games (two to three) but have settled for a point more often (six to four) than Pep Guardiola’s side.

It should not be that you have to win every game to lift the trophy, but that is where we are at currently, and as one of those draws in 2021/22 unfolded at Brentford, it’s a timely reminder.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 25, 2021: Liverpool's Curtis Jones celebrates after scoring the third goal during the FA Premier League match between Brentford FC and Liverpool FC at the Brentford Community Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The trip to the Brentford Community Stadium in 2021/22 may have only been the sixth matchday of the campaign, but the Reds twice relinquished a lead that day and took home one point instead of three.

Mohamed Salah and Curtis Jones both saw their goals cancelled out after Diogo Jota had put Liverpool back in level footing, with the Bees scoring with eight minutes left of the 90 to secure a 3-3 draw.

Eight members of the starting XI that day remain at the club and seven could yet start again on Saturday, fitness permitting.

And, in fact, both trips to Brentford since their return to the topflight has seen Thomas Frank take four points of a possible six – a record that the Reds cannot afford for him to continue.


Take nothing for granted

LONDON, ENGLAND - Monday, January 2, 2023: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp with Brentford's manager Thomas Frank before the FA Premier League match between Brentford FC and Liverpool FC at the Brentford Community Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Frank, who has been one of the names mentioned in the search for Klopp’s successor, hasn’t found much joy at Anfield, but he harnesses his home ground well against the Reds.

This season, though, Brentford have won four and lost five of their 12 home games and currently sit 14th in the table – a dip from their ninth-place finish last season.

Liverpool cannot afford to take that at face value, though, as half of their league draws this season have been against teams currently placed ninth and below.

When any team faces the Reds it is with renewed energy, belief and a firm desire to get one over on them – unfortunately, we’re not as fortunate as City when others roll on their back for a tickle.

You can be sure the Bees will do the former and not the latter on Saturday, and armed in the knowledge that it hasn’t been a happy hunting ground, Klopp’s men need to be ready from the first whistle.

It is an early 12.30pm start in the capital and the Reds’ squad is to be bolstered by the return of a few faces, ones who are armed with the lessons of the past and capable of winning at Brentford for the first time since 1983.