On Monday, Liverpool suffered a shocking 3-1 loss to Brentford, hurting their chances of finishing in the top four of the Premier League.
The beginning of 2023 was a nightmare for Jurgen Klopp’s team, and they alone are to blame for the horrific show in west London.
Although Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain pulled one back, Yoane Wissa increased Brentford‘s advantage, and Bryan Mbeumo sealed Brentford’s first victory over Liverpool since 1938.
Konate shared most of the blame for Liverpool‘s awful defensive display in his first game since helping France lose the World Cup final to Argentina in December.
However, Liverpool’s performance, which left them in sixth position, four points behind fourth-placed Manchester United who play their game-in-hand against Bournemouth on Tuesday, was far from the only one that deserved criticism.
It was startling to see Liverpool pulled apart so easily, particularly though seventh-placed Brentford is on a six-game unbeaten streak in the league, including an excellent victory against champions Manchester City shortly before the World Cup.
Darwin Nunez was yet another representative of Liverpool’s difficulties when he was acquired from Benfica for £64 million ($77 million) last year.
The 23-year-old had 13 shots in his previous two league games without scoring, and at the Brentford Community Stadium, he was unlucky once more early on.
The Brentford defense was shaken by Mohamed Salah’s brilliant ball, and when Nunez went around David Raya, it appeared as though his barren streak would come to an end.
Nunez grabbed his head in surprise as Ben Mee dashed back to clear his attempt off the line.
With a powerful effort that Alisson Becker parried for a corner, Mbeumo came close.
For Liverpool, it was only a little reprieve as Thomas Frank’s team took the lead on the ensuing set-piece in the 19th minute.
Mee attempted to flick on, but Konate got the decisive touch as the ball bounced off his leg and slid past an unprepared Alisson.
When Wissa scored from close range after the Reds botched a corner clearance and Brentford was denied by an offside call, Liverpool was fortunate to escape more set-piece agony.
The caution went unheeded by Klopp’s team, as Wissa was left unmarked to score from yet another risky corner until another offside call against Mee spared Liverpool’s face.
Wissa ultimately scored in the 42nd minute as a result of Liverpool’s inability to contain Brentford’s aerial threat due to their defensive chaos.
Wissa was set up by Mathias Jensen’s cross, and the Congo forward dribbled past Trent Alexander-Arnold to head the ball narrowly over the goal line before Alisson could grab it.
On the sidelines, Klopp was furious as he yelled at his players for being shell-shocked.
Liverpool experienced a brief spurt following Klopp’s substitutions, and Nunez had an attempt disallowed for offside before they closed the gap in the 50th minute.
After being plagued by crosses in the first half, Liverpool turned to the air as Oxlade-Chamberlain headed in Alexander-precise Arnold’s pass.
That goal wasn’t enough to lift Liverpool to a thrilling conclusion; instead, the Reds lost their groove as the half went on.
As it turned out, Liverpool’s injury to Brentford was self-inflicted when Konate was unable to deal with a long pass to Mbeumo, who went free and slid the ball past Alisson.