Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp criticized referee Stuart Atwell’s performance after Monday’s 3-1 away loss to Brentford, saying the hosts’ third goal was an “obvious mistake”.
It was Liverpool’s first defeat against Brentford in all competitions since 1938, and it came via goals from Yoann Wissa and Brian Mbeumo, as well as an own goal from Ibrahima Konate.
Mbeumu’s goal came in the 84th minute. The striker collected a long ball forward, made slight contact with Konate, who sent the defender to the ground, and slotted the ball into the net past Alisson.
Klopp said after the match that he could not respect the goal, adding: “If you ever play football and you run at full speed and you get a slight push, you go down because you can’t keep balance, that’s the case and you see that with Ibbou (Konate).”
Asked by beIN Sports about speaking to match officials about decisions, Klopp said: “It’s actually exactly the same as when I was talking to my microwave, you really don’t get any reaction. It’s always the same.”
“VAR is hiding behind the words ‘unclear and clear’. The referee has to explain that.”
Klopp also criticized managing the physicality of Brentford players during attacking set pieces, telling Sky Sports they were “broadening the rules” in terms of contact.
“I don’t expect anything in our favour, but I do expect holding on, pushing pushing and fouling fouling. There’s a reason Brentford are so successful at set-pieces offensively rather than defensively. There are things you can do in the other box.”
Brentford appeared to score from a corner three different times during the first half – two goals were ruled out for offside but Konate’s own goal held up.
“I’m not happy with the way we defended from set-pieces. We didn’t behave perfectly but Brentford stretched the rules in these moments. Obviously that’s what you can do now with the referees.
“Don’t get me wrong, that’s clever, but they do. If you tick all the positions, you’ll find five bugs but because they’re so messy nobody sees them in the end. That’s what they do and it’s good, really, really good.”
Asked to respond to the claim that his side are widening the rules, Brentford boss Thomas Frank said: “I think we’ve got some very good referees. We’ve got four on the pitch and then the VAR room and I think it wasn’t difficult to score goals.”
“But of course I’m glad he praised us for the good work we’re doing with attacking set pieces.”
Klopp also lamented the missed chances Liverpool should have taken an early lead, saying: “We started really well in the game. We could have, maybe should have been 2-0 up before they got the first corner. We struggled.” , but it was more a game they wanted than a game we wanted.
“We had moments in the second half and we knew we needed them again and again. We were then in a really good moment, but then we can’t push it. They can dictate that.
“The match was decided by the second goal, which is definitely our fault. It is clear that we are not happy with the performance.”
The result lifted Brentford to seventh in the Premier League table, just two points behind Liverpool in sixth.
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(Photo: Getty Images)
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