And that silenced The Kop

17 Jan

Liverpool 3 Brentford 0. The Bees returned to Anfield for the first time since that 1989 FA Cup tie for the return Premier League fixture following our 3-3 draw at Lionel Road earlier this season. This time, however, there was no contest. The odd flurry of chances aside – Bryan Mbeumo channelling his inner Richard Cadette for the closest of these – it really felt like one-way traffic. Yet with Manchester United next up there were still plenty of positives to take ahead of Wednesday night’s home game. Primarily, the return of Rico Henry and the backs to the wall defending – a mile away from the Southampton horror show – that accompanied the opening 44 minutes. Liverpool dominating and pushing but unable to find a way through.

Bryan runs at the Liverpool defence

We don’t do full fat match reports on these pages, albeit the player review is now up. For now, the headlines surround two levels of Bees’ defence. That opening phase where despite the hosts having 75% possession, there was no way through. Kris Ajer ploughing through Jota. Pontus heading it clear time and again. Most exciting of all, the return of Rico Henry. His substitution just into the second half confirmed by Thomas Frank as being nothing more than precautionary, with the left back apparently available for Manchester united during the week. Whilst he was on the pitch, there was no holding back the man who is on a fast track to challenge for our player of the season.

Yet when the goals came, they were awful. Awful. A corner that bypassed the entire defence for the opener. A cross that could have been claimed or cleared for the second. A totally needless attempt to play it out from the back that culminated in the inevitable disaster for the third. What Alvaro Fernandez was thinking not once but twice before Minamino wrapped it up I have no idea. A huge shame because he has kept us in it as much as anyone prior to that with a series of smart saves.

What can you say? Resolute defence and valiant effort count for nothing when the final scores are read. Moreso when the nature of the goals conceded was as frustrating as we all saw. Yet having contained our hosts for the vast majority of the opening period and only falling out of sight relatively late on, the contest always felt even. At least in terms of Brentford potentially hauling themselves back in to it. Had Bryan gone the other side of the post with the away support already cheering the equaliser, who knows what might have been? Instead, class eventually shone through and the game ended as comfortably as the scoreline and the statistics suggest.

Ah, yes. Class. Let’s not forget who we were up against. And where. A team second only to Manchester City in the race for the Premier League title. A transfer budget, spending power and sheer quality of playing staff. A stadium with three times the amount of supporters than is possible at Lionel Road.

At face value these were insurmountable odds but we gave it a damn good shot before administering the fatal blow ourselves. That’s not to be harsh. This was a huge learning curve and should Premier League football be on the agenda for next season (Liverpool do seem safe, to be fair) then this sort of experience will only stand us in good stead.   

The Brentford fans were magnificent, btw. What an atmosphere being generated at the away end. What a noise. Singing throughout and cranking it up as the game progressed. In contrast, The Kop less a 12th man as more a library. Certainly, by the sound of things. The fabled atmosphere very much muted for vast swathes of the game.

Keep it like that for Wednesday and who knows what could happen.

Special mention for the rail seating, btw. Everyone stands away from home, anyway, so nothing new there but great to see this legitimised. Hopefully more to follow in our own West Stand shortly off the back of a trial that is only going to get formal approval based on all the evidence seen so far.

The only thing probably worth being aware of as we progress our own drive towards this type of standing, being how anybody lacking in stature gets to see the game. Specifically the kids. Our Harry spent the opening period staring into the backs of the fans in front given, unlike a traditional terrace, there was no room to move. The obvious answer is to stand on the seat, which he did, much to the chagrin of two Brentford ‘fans’ behind him who then started taking photos and went crying to the stewards about it. This despite the eight year old’s head being lower than everyone else in the rest of our group. My word. Seriously? Hats off to the stewards, too, who after ten minutes of their nonsense told him to stand on the seat and get on with it. He wasn’t overly phased whilst all this was going on and, instead, spent the time asking why it was called The Kop rather than The Klopp.

Rail seating looks here to stay based on the evidence

On the other hand, it was so good seeing all the other friendly faces. Including Harry Potter, whom I still can’t get used to seeing in anything beyond his now absent Gunnersaurus coat (Burgundy is not the new green), and somebody who came ‘full Sherlock Holmes’. The good vibes culminating in a chorus of “We’ll race you back to London” as the Liverpool fans poured out before full time.

Overall, a result which was expected by many observers but despite pressure, pressure, pressure The Bees held strong for so long. Had Bryan’s second half chance gone in at 1-0 down well, it would have been dreamland for Brentford, wouldn’t it? It was inches wide of the post. And that…silenced the Kop.

RIP Tony Gubba.

See you all on Wednesday for Manchester United

Nick Bruzon

8 Responses to “And that silenced The Kop”

  1. Barney Rubble January 17, 2022 at 8:41 am #

    No offence but do you think that we really needed our ‘fabled’ atmosphere for a team like Brentford ? Get a little real.

    • nickbruzon January 17, 2022 at 6:56 pm #

      Teams like Brentford . Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Got to love that famous Scouse sense of humour. Glad that’s still with us, even if the Anfield atmosphere isn’t

  2. Gaz January 17, 2022 at 9:53 am #

    I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve seen Fernandez beaten on his near post. Not acceptable for a GK.

    We look like a Sunday league side defending at the moment. Southampton’s first was exactly the same.

    • Statto Jim January 17, 2022 at 12:22 pm #

      He’s made 16 appearances all comps, conceding 28. Stoke, Norwich, Newcastle, Man City, Liverpool the near post goals. However, worth noting he’s also made 58 saves in those 16 games including 10 against Liverpool yesterday. Brentford are 6th worst in the PL for allowing shots on target so the problem isn’t solely Fernández as we need to do better at shutting down shots. He’s certainly a far better second keeper than so many others we’ve seen over the years

  3. HerzyBee January 17, 2022 at 10:11 am #

    Nick, good to meet you at the end of the game, ‘look out, make way….it’s the Bruzons’😂 was me…..completely agree with your analysis and the stad, add ‘race you back to Norway/Denmark/Sweden’ to the list of Anfield tourists….. can I throw out a new challenge for away games…..Most modes of transport to get to & from the match…..I’ll start….. car/train/plane/train/taxi/bus/train/plane/train/car….. and start &finish times….mine was 0600 leave home 22.00 return…..

    • nickbruzon January 17, 2022 at 6:52 pm #

      And you 🙂 A top, top end to the afternoon

  4. Bernard Quackenbush (@BernardQuack) January 17, 2022 at 6:30 pm #

    Its somewhat frustrating that 3 awful defensive errors were ultimately the difference for the second game running. The normally reliable Pontus & Ethan having 2 stinkers in a row and Alvaro costing us yet another goal.

    We simply cannot keep shipping a goal a game due to Alvaro’s errors, and with so many goals being conceded from corners we need a stronger presence between the sticks.

    You all came over loud and proud on the illegal American broadcast i was watching, it was just a shame the performance couldnt match it. Loving the new ‘League 2 champions, youll never win that’ chant!

    And shame on those supporters wanting to deny a child a view of the game, i just dont get some people.

    • nickbruzon January 17, 2022 at 6:51 pm #

      I thought Pontus played well. First half especially. I thought Ethan and Alvaro did not. AS for the miserable biddies behind us – they looked like they’d dressed for a day at the races rather than an afternoon at the football

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