Jurgen Klopp accused Brentford of “breaking the rules” after Liverpool were beaten 3-1 by the Bees on Monday.
An own goal by Ibrahima Konate and a header by Yoana Wissa saw Liverpool lose two goals before half-time as Klopp’s team struggled to handle Brentford’s set pieces.
Liverpool made three half-time substitutions, including the departure of Virgil van Dijk, and those changes appeared to give the Reds hope as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored in his 100th Premier League appearance for the club.
However, Brian Mbeumo ended the game when he forcefully cleared Konate and then hit home late to give Brentford their first victory over Liverpool since 1938.
Klopp was frustrated after a game in which he believed Brentford had fouled, while he criticized referee Stuart Attwell for not taking action on their behavior during set pieces.
“I’m not sure you can really control him all the time because every corner is a huge threat,” Klopp told Sky Sports. “They stretch the rules in these moments with full body contact.
“Today there was only one offensive foul on a set piece that was whistled and that was against us, which is really funny. Holding is holding, and pressing is pressure.
Brentford 3-1 Liverpool: Another memorable night for Brentford in the Premier League. Liverpool are now 15 points behind Arsenal at the top of the table… and they have played a game less. pic.twitter.com/ZuJPQETt3m
— Opta Analyst (@OptaAnalyst) January 2, 2023
“It was more the game they wanted than the one we wanted. They could dictate it because of the way it whistled.
“The two corners they scored, one was offside and the other, of course, we are not perfect, but they break the rules. They really push, they really hold. This is obviously something you can do.
“The third goal I really can’t respect. The referee thought it was not a foul, and then VAR covered up with the phrase “clear and obvious.” The referee should explain this if anyone can ask him.
“There’s a reason they are so successful at set-pieces and still concede a lot of goals defensively at set-pieces, because you can’t do the same there, because in your penalty area it would be a penalty.”
Although Klopp was outraged by the refereeing, he did not justify his team with criticism, saying: “We have to point to ourselves. After all, you won’t lose if you do it right. Of course, we didn’t do everything right.
“We are very critical of ourselves, and today it is right. There were moments when we could change the game.”
Darwin Nunez missed a golden opportunity to put Liverpool ahead by overtaking David Rai, but Ben Mee blocked him from the goal line. No player in the Premier League has missed more big chances this season than Nunes’ 15.
Klopp lamented his team’s extravagance in front of goal, adding: “We conceded the first goal when we should have already been leading 2-0, with super highlights from Darwin and Costas. [Tsimikas]. Darwin Nunez doesn’t expect Ben Mee to slip down there.
“In the next situation, when they play the ball behind the line and we are not there, this is a huge reason for criticism.”