It was almost as though the last four years hadn’t happened.
Liverpool were entangled in an end-to-end thriller, creating chances at one end and cut open regularly at the other.
For neutrals watching at home, it was a throwback to the early days of Jurgen Klopp’s reign that made the Reds manna from heaven for television executives.
Even the Reds boss admitted to being caught up in the moment, his decision to substitute goalscorer Curtis Jones for Roberto Firmino based on a desire to go for more goals rather than tighten up the rearguard.
Ultimately there could be few grumbles with the 3-3 draw at promoted Brentford, who underlined why they’ll prove a pest for most leading teams this season.
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It was, though, far, far removed from the Liverpool team that swept all before them in the previous few years and had conceded just seven goals in their previous 15 unbeaten Premier League games.
While still easy on the eye and capable of explosive moments of attacking prowess, the more recent Reds vintage has made control their watchword.
Intensity is the identity but composure has become key in preventing the type of whirlwind encounters that shave years off the lives of managers and are rarely sustainable over the long run.
Of course, the challenge presented by Brentford – both in terms of formation and tactics – is not something Liverpool will have to contend with every week, a high-energy game under Thomas Frank that has echoes of early Reds under Klopp but with a far more direct, abrasive approach.
Liverpool, caught cold in the first half, did at least learn quickly, their second-half showing much improved even if Brentford’s sheer bloody-mindedness and belief in their system meant they more than merited their point.
But what was clear during the rollercoaster final quarter was that the Reds would have benefited from someone simply keeping possession, slowing the game down and allowing the ball to do some of the running.
And that’s why Thiago Alcantara’s absence was keenly felt, this precisely the kind of game that needed his qualities, even if only in cameo form in the closing stages.
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Thiago, long over the travails that hampered the start of his Anfield career, grew in influence during the final stages of last season in which Liverpool sprinted to a remarkable third-placed finish.
This season he had impressed in starts against Leeds United and Crystal Palace – extending the unbeaten run of results when selected alongside Fabinho in the engine room – until being sidelined by a calf injury.
Thiago will be absent until at least after the international break while, rather worryingly, a photo on social media on Sunday suggested he was using crutches.
Of course, there were other options available to Klopp on Saturday – James Milner the obvious call – only for the Reds boss to make use of just one of his three permitted substitutions.
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The experience and nous of Milner, who had been suffering from illness earlier in the week, may well be needed this week with the Champions League trip to Porto on Tuesday followed by the Premier League visit of champions Manchester City on Sunday.
Liverpool, meanwhile, will hope Thiago is back available for a season-shaping October calendar that continues with successive away games at Watford, Atletico Madrid and Manchester United.
Certainly, Klopp will know a lot more about what can be achieved this campaign come the full-time whistle at Old Trafford.
Every player will be required during that period – and the calm, composed Thiago cannot return soon enough.