Liverpool change has given Jürgen Klopp what he needs to gain major Premier League title advantage
The contrast between Liverpool’s 3-3 draw with Brentford and their 1-0 win away at Wolves might seem small — only a late Divock Origi winner stopped it being a fifth Premier League draw in 15 games — but the reality is somewhat different.
Against Wolves, while they left it very late to get the winning goal they deserved having missed a plethora of huge chances (and not just that one from Diogo Jota), the Reds were absolutely worthy winners on the afternoon.
The Liverpool defence was largely untroubled, and Jordan Henderson, Fabinho and Thiago Alcântara, while not performing as collectively perfectly as they did against Everton, helped pen Bruno Lage’s men back in whenever they lost the ball.
Even when Liverpool lost possession, it was not long before they won it back; the only problem was that they missed the opportunities they generated as a result.
Against Thomas Frank’s Brentford, losing the ball meant that a chance would come for the opposition, and it is not the only example of that either.
Brentford had 14 shots and scored three times against Liverpool; West Ham United only had seven but it was a familiar pattern when Jarrod Bowen, in particular, was allowed to waltz through midfield with ease.
In contrast, against Wolves, whose game plan was to sit deep and then counter, there were only three shots that Alisson saw aimed at his goal across the course of the game, with those efforts accumulating an expected goals value of just 0.13.
West Ham managed an expected goals value of 0.12 just in the first half against the Reds, while they ended up with just over one. Brentford, meanwhile, notched 2.72 expected goals in all.
Not so long ago, Liverpool were conceding chances and allowing their opponents to counter-attack them, leaving their backline exposed and looking fragile.
Since the international break, that has simply not been the case, with five consecutive wins in all competitions yielding 15 goals scored and four clean sheets.
Where not so long ago there was chaos, there is now calm. Be that dominant against most sides, and it won’t take a last-gasp strike from Origi to seal the victory.