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Mohamed Salah discussion needed after Liverpool caught cold by Brentford

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Even for Jurgen Klopp, this was probably the breaking of new ground.

Before they had even kicked a ball at the Brentford Community Stadium on Saturday evening, Klopp’s Liverpool had already gone top of the table by virtue of Chelsea’s defeat to Manchester City and their otherwise identical records.

And while the Reds technically extended that advantage in West London on Saturday night, the point that achieved it will feel like scant consolation for Klopp on his return to Merseyside.

Liverpool, though, only have themselves to blame as they turned in an uncharacteristically poor defensive showing to double the tally in their Goals Against column in all competitions across an unhinged 90 minutes of football here in the capital.

Not once, but twice were the home side allowed back into the game to claim a share of the spoils that, in fairness, their efforts deserved.

READ MORE: Liverpool player ratings after the 3-3 draw with Brentford

On a day when Manchester United and Chelsea both suffered defeats, the fact that Liverpool weren’t able to take full advantage will rankle with Klopp for some time yet.

The booming rendition of Brentford’s adopted anthem ‘Hey Jude’ at full time said it all as the locals enjoyed something that resembled Glastonbury at around 7.30pm on Saturday night.

This felt like a win for the hosts and while it was unquestionably ‘one for the neutral’ no-one in Liverpool’s striking new yellow shirt will take comfort from that.

As expected, Klopp made wholesale changes for this one after Tuesday night’s 3-0 win at Norwich in the Carabao Cup, with just Curtis Jones keeping his place in midfield.

Brentford’s home crowd may stand at a relatively modest 17,250 but the din they created seemed to knock the Reds out of their stride early on as the chances fell to both Ivan Toney and Frank Onyeka.

The Reds had Joel Matip to thank for keeping it at 0-0 when he raced back to clear off the line from Onyeka before the Brentford man went looking for a penalty moments later under a challenge from Trent Alexander-Arnold.

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The Bees had the lead when Ethan Pinnock tapped home at the back post inside half an hour.

Liverpool’s slack passes and loose touches were always likely to come back to bite them, but they restored parity four minutes later thanks to Diogo Jota’s seventh away goal in his last eight games.

The Portugal international is not known as one of football’s great target men, but he is deadly when he meets a cross and Jordan Henderson’s inviting delivery was begging to be nodded home.

Jota may not reach the sort of numbers that Mohamed Salah can boast in this Liverpool side, but the Portugal international has already established a healthy habit of registering big goals at key moments in his first year at the club.

This was another to go alongside the strikes against Manchester United, Arsenal, Wolves and that Champions League hat-trick in Atalanta last season.

Jota thought he had a second when he reacted quickest to a Jones effort that struck the post too, but goalkeeper David Raya, incredibly, got a hand to it after springing up from the floor in a flash.

Liverpool started the second period the much brighter of the sides and had their first lead of the game when Salah registered his 100th Premier League goal for the club after a wonderful ball over the top from Fabinho.

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“Mo is absolutely up there with the best I ever saw,” was Klopp’s Friday assessment of his No.11 and there are perhaps now legitimate debates to be had about his current standing in the world game.

Is there a more complete forward playing in Europe at this moment? Wherever you stand on that particular topic, it’s sure to be a lively discussion when it is had.

Either way, there is no denying that Liverpool have one of the world’s elite attackers operating at the peak of his considerable powers right now.

Salah will be the driving force behind any success that comes Liverpool’s way this season.

On what was a rare off-day for an otherwise superlative defence this season, the home side grabbed their leveller when Alexander-Arnold was left to battle in a three-versus-one at the back post before Vitaly Janelt eventually bundled it in.

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The lack of cohesion at the back was out of sync with everything that had preceded it so far, with Liverpool’s only other Premier League concession coming via a well-worked Chelsea corner last month.

Jones fired Liverpool back into the lead with virtually his lack act of the game as Klopp brought on Roberto Firmino and reverted to a 4-2-3-1 with Jota stationed on the right.

But as Klopp’s men pushed for a game-settling fourth, they were caught cold again when a high ball once more left Alexander-Arnold outnumbered and isolated before substitute Yoane Wissa converted.

A mad-dash race to the finish saw both teams hare after a winner in the five minutes of stoppage time and Liverpool thought they had it when a low cross was deflected goalwards, only for Raya to make his second stunning save of the evening.

It’s now 16 games unbeaten for Liverpool in the Premier League but this has been the least cherished of those results that date back to March.

Never has going top of the table felt so flat.



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