Jürgen Klopp says Brentford ‘stretched rules’ at set pieces in win over Liverpool

  • Klopp claims referees allowed hosts to ‘create chaos’
  • Thomas Frank delighted as Brentford climb to seventh

Jürgen Klopp admitted Liverpool were outdone by the “chaos” inflicted by Brentford during their chastening 3-1 defeat in west London, suggesting their opponents thrived on dark arts during set pieces.

A woeful defensive display meant Klopp’s side remain four points adrift of the Champions League spots and punctured their recent recovery. He felt Brentford’s third goal, scored late on by Bryan Mbeumo, should have been disallowed for a foul on Ibrahima Konaté and pointed to the mayhem the Bees cause at corners. The opener, an own goal from Konaté, came from one such situation and two further deliveries led to disallowed goals from Yoane Wissa.

“When I say they stretch the rules in offensive set pieces – and they do, don’t get me wrong, they are smart but they do – if you singled out every situation you would find five fouls,” he said. “But because it’s so chaotic, nobody sees it. That’s what they do, and it’s really good, they react to different things. They play like this against us, but against other teams they play football and it’s fantastic.

“You cannot defend long balls all the time, they were super-direct. That limits them in some aspects, but in this kind of game they are able to create chaos and they organised that extremely well.”

Klopp qualified his comments with high praise for Thomas Frank and Brentford, who have gone six games unbeaten and sit a place below Liverpool in seventh. He criticised his team’s defending for the strike from Wissa, shortly before half-time, that put Brentford two up but felt the officials had blundered when Mbuemo settled the issue.

“We conceded a third goal which should have been disallowed,” he said. “It’s a full sprint from two players, and when you get a push in this moment you can lose balance and go down. But Stuart Attwell saw it differently and then the VAR who checked it can hide generally behind the phrase ‘clear and obvious’.”

Liverpool had won their previous three and Klopp acknowledged this reverse was a step back. “We lost, how could it be a step in a different direction?” he said. “We can change our position only by winning games, and tonight it is the opposite. We cannot take positives or confidence from that, but we have to win football games.”

A visibly delighted Frank laughed off Klopp’s concerns about Brentford’s behaviour at corners and free-kicks. “I guess we have some very, very good referees and then we have a VAR rule,” he said. “It’s never been more difficult to score a goal.”

While Brentford are flirting with a challenge for the European spots, he urged a measured approach to their position. “I hope the fans dream big, I hope the players dream big,” he said. “But on the flipside this is a very demanding league and if you get a couple of injuries then it can be very tough.”


Nick Ames at the Gtech Community Stadium

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