Liverpool’s attackers did enough to take the three points at the Brentford Community Stadium on Saturday evening, but were let down by some sloppy defending at the other end of the pitch.
Mohamed Salah netted his 100th Premier League goal for Liverpool, becoming the fastest player in the Reds’ history to do so, while Curtis Jones produced a stunning strike from distance to send the travelling fans into raptures.
But at the other end there was far too much space for Brentford’s attacking players, and the Bees scored three goals of their own to leave the Reds heading back to Merseyside wondering what might have been.
A disastrous start saw a low cross go all the way across the box and Ethan Pinnock tap in at the far post, but there was an instant response at the other end as Jordan Henderson’s cross was met by Diogo Jota, who bulleted the ball beyond the helpless David Raya.
But the Spaniard had the last laugh the next time they faced off, as he showed lightning-quick reactions to get up off the floor and throw a big right hand in the way of the Portuguese, who thought he had tapped in Liverpool’s second.
Salah beat the offside flag to actually net the Reds’ second, but they were pegged back at the other end when Pontus Jansson hit the crossbar and Vitaly Janelt was quickest to head over the line, despite Trent Alexander-Arnold’s best efforts to clear.
Jones’ rocket, which truly came out of nowhere, gave Liverpool their lead back, but substitute Yoane Wissa showed superb composure to make the most of the space afforded to him in the box and chip over the onrushing Alisson to restore parity.
It could have been worse for the Reds, but Ivan Toney was denied by the offside flag after he had rifled into the far bottom corner with five minutes to go.
In the end, Liverpool’s midfield offered little protection to the defence – but the likes of Alexander-Arnold and Virgil van Dijk were far from at their imperious best at the Brentford Community Stadium.
That will need to improve when the Reds head to Portugal on Tuesday night.