Brentford certainly lived up to their manager’s pre-match promise to ‘attack’ Liverpool, as they battled to a helter-skelter 3-3 draw on a thunderous Saturday evening at the Brentford Community Stadium.
In a thrilling contest, two goal-line clearances in the opening ten minutes were a sign of what was to come in west London.
Despite Liverpool’s dominance of possession, Brentford struck first in the 27th minute, catching their visitors out with a devilish set piece routine that Ethan Pinnock tapped in.
Within five minutes, Diogo Jota nodded Liverpool level as Salah and Jordan Henderson exploited Brentford’s flagging goalscorer struggling with a clear injury that would force him off.
Liverpool’s superior individual quality edged them ahead after the break. Fabinho mercilessly exploited the first hint of space Brentford afforded him on the edge of the box, floating a devastating pass over Brentford’s back line for Salah to coolly volley in his 100th Premier League goal for Liverpool, awarded after a VAR review.
Flooding players forward throughout the match, Brentford’s Vitaly Janelt eventually forced the ball over the line shortly after the hour-mark. Curtis Jones ensured the hosts’ joy was short-lived, thundering a long-range effort, with the help of a deflection, past Raya to make it 3-2.
But Brentford would not be muzzled. Second half substitute Yoane Wissa showed ice cold composure to dink an 82nd minute equaliser over the sprawling Alisson to earn the Bees’ first draw against Liverpool since 1947.
David Raya (GK) – 8/10 – Helpless for Liverpool’s goals, the razor sharp Raya did deny Jota from point-blank range when the score was level.
Kristoffer Ajer (CB) – 7/10 – Brentford’s record signing recovered remarkably quickly from a nasty clash with Jones to deny Salah in the opening exchanges.
Pontus Jansson (CB) – 6/10 – Involved in both of Brentford’s goals, the Bees’ captain had a more significant impact in Liverpool’s box than his own.
Ethan Pinnock (CB) – 6/10 – From ecstasy to agony. In the same half he scored his first Premier League goal, the former non-league stalwart was eventually forced off with injury before half-time.
Sergi Canos (RWB) – 6/10 – Against his former side – who afforded him less than ten minutes of first team football back in 2016 – Canos played the ball across for Pinnock’s opener but struggled elsewhere.
Frank Onyeka (CM) – 6/10 – Offering an attacking threat with bursts into the opposition box, Onyeka spooned an effort over the bar early in the game.
Christian Norgaard (CM) – 6/10 – The man touted as Fabinho’s equal by his manager was always keen to accept the ball under pressure despite mixed results Liverpool’s fierce pressure.
Vitaly Janelt (CM) – 7/10 – With the German national team manager, Hansi Flick, among the crowd Janelt picked the perfect time to score his first Premier League goal.
Rico Henry (LWB) – 5/10 – Tearing up and down the left flank, Henry left his teammates exposed for Liverpool’s first two goals.
Bryan Mbeumo (ST) – 6/10 – Acting as the energetic, buzzing foil for his strike partner, Mbeumo will be ruing the lack of pace on his first half effort.
Ivan Toney (ST) – 8/10 – As a boyhood Liverpool fan, there was no flicker of awe in a typically robust but dexterous display.
Mathias Jorgensen (CB) – 4/10 – Caught napping as Salah tiptoed behind him for Liverpool’s second.
Shandon Baptiste (CM) – N/A
Yoane Wissa (FW) – 8/10 – Among the ferocious intensity of this fevered fight, the late sub showed a level of cool in stark contrast to his surroundings.
Alisson (GK) – 5/10 – Helpless for Pinnock’s tap in, but hesitant when crosses tossed in from Brentford’s invariably threatening dead balls.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (RB) – 5/10 – By his incredibly lofty standards, endured one his quieter nights creatively and left brutally outnumbered for Brentford’s equalisers.
Joel Matip (CB) – 5/10 – On his 100th Premier League appearance for the club, Matip kept Liverpool level early on but struggled against Toney.
Virgil van Dijk (CB) – 6/10 – At times the unflappable ‘Superman’ looked actually flustered by Brentford’s varied and often direct approach.
Andy Robertson (LB) – 5/10 – Much like his opposite full back, didn’t threaten anywhere near as much going forward.
Jordan Henderson (CM) – 7/10 – Bounding forward frequently, Liverpool’s captain arced in the delivery for Jota to level.
Fabinho (CM) – 6/10 – Having initially struggled to exert his air of influence on proceedings, Fabinho’s guile was on full display for Salah’s goal yet failed to stem the tide coming the other way.
Curtis Jones (CM) – 7/10 – On his first Premier League start of the season, Jones left the field with Liverpool ahead thanks to his thunderous effort to watch the ensuing mayhem from the bench.
Mohamed Salah (RW) – 8/10 – In a club which can boast the likes of Roger Hunt, Ian Rush and Kenny Dalglish among their cadre of legends – to name but three – Salah’s status as the fastest to 100 league goals (just 151 games) is all the more astounding.
Diogo Jota (ST) – 6/10 – Crisply converted his fifth Premier League header for Liverpool but was left flabbergasted by Raya’s reflexes.
Sadio Mane (LW) – 7/10 – Drifting centrally Mane, rather than wilt, appeared to seek out the physical approach Brentford’s back-three – ‘the tallest in Europe’ according to Klopp – employed.
Roberto Firmino (ST) – 6/10 – Could, and perhaps should, have scored late on, but Raya’s reflexes kept him out from close range.