Beesotted contributors The Gowler and Paul Kowalczyk (@BeesBreakdown) give us the tactical and statistical lowdown of Brentford’s loss at Anfield.
Thomas Frank switched back to a 3-5-2 to face Liverpool. Ben Mee was reintroduced into the starting XI next to Pinnock and Collins. Ajer and Roerslev joined as wingbacks, with Hickey still working his way back from injury. Janelt, Nørgaard, and Jensen made up the midfield trio with Wissa and Mbeumo leading the line. Baptiste made the bench as he worked his way back from injury, joining Maupay and Onyeka looking to make a late impact.
Jurgen Klopp has deployed a 4-3-3 all season, but rarely uses this formation in buildup. Mac Allister was suspended due to yellow card accumulation so Szoboszlai was joined by Endo and Gakpo in midfield. Matip and van Dijk the centrebacks, with Tsimikas and Alexander-Arnold the fullbacks. Jota and Salah were the wide players ahead of them. Nunez, having 4 goals and 3 assists this season, looked to get on the scoresheet for Liverpool up front.
Possession: Liverpool 58% – 42% Brentford
xG: Liverpool 1.4 – 1.5 Brentford
xGOT: Liverpool 2.13 – 1.19 Brentford
Shots: Liverpool 16 – 12 Brentford
Shots on Target: Liverpool 10 – 3 Brentford
Clearances: Liverpool 20 – 31 Brentford
PPDA: Liverpool 6.59 – 10.59 Brentford
Other Brentford stats:
Aerial duels won: 19 (48%)
Brentford ended with more xG, but Liverpool had more xGOT, meaning they took their chances well. Brentford threatened from set pieces, but couldn’t create much from open play. The Bees recorded 0.56 xG from set plays, creating havoc from their 8 corners. Jensen ended with 0.50 xAG and Mbeumo ended with 8 shot-creating actions. It was a shame that some of Jensen’s magical long passes didn’t end up as assists.
Liverpool seemed prepared for Brentford and had multiple ways to create dangerous chances. Klopp knew how difficult it is to beat this Brentford side, even adopting some of the common tactics that Thomas Frank uses, such as setting screens to prevent defenders from challenging dribblers.
Liverpool’s counterpressing and movement in the final third really gave Brentford trouble. The Bees are very difficult to score on when dropping into their low block, but Liverpool were able to take advantage of some transitional moments. Their first goal came directly after losing possession in their own half, with Liverpool’s counterpress winning back possession.
Once Liverpool scored it forced Brentford’s tactics into becoming even more aggressive and risky. Brentford weren’t able to sit back and rely on counters. Unfortunately, Thomas Frank’s gamble didn’t pay off, but a few bounces the other way and this result may have looked a bit different.
Brentford have two weeks off until Arsenal travels to the GTech. The Bees will hope to finally get some players back from injury, with Dasilva, Damsgaard, and Lewis-Potter all pushing for a return.