Match Review: Brentford 1-4 Liverpool

  • Supporters gathered to check out the game, including Ryan visiting from Sault Ste. Marie

Match Review: Brentford 1-4 Liverpool

Who had already reinstated Mo Salah in their Fantasy Premier League team for this Gameweek 25?

It’s unlikely many of us had, believing it was still too early that he would return in action. But as soon as his name appeared as a sub on the team sheet, I had that gut feeling of having made a big mistake in my fantasy team for this week.

After Diogo Jota was unfortunately injured just before half-time, the Egyptian King came on the pitch, he saw and he set Liverpool on a conquering win at Brentford.

One goal and one assist right away on his comeback from the Africa Cup of Nations and from injury picked up during that tournament. It was good to feel as if he had never left.

Sadly, this scintillating performance was marred by injuries to Curtis Jones, potentially to Darwin Nunez but especially to Jota.

The Portuguese was stretchered off in agony after Bees captain Christian Norgaard had landed on his knee while challenging for the ball.

Jota has been instrumental in picking up the mantle while the Egyptian was away, scoring a very productive 5 goals in the 8 games that his fellow striker was absent.

This latest injury could not have come at a worse time in view of the upcoming Carabao Cup Final on Sunday and the final third of the league season.

That’s why the ever forward looking Jurgen Klopp had a somewhat sober tone in his post-match declarations despite this emphatic win at the Gtech Community Stadium where we had a far less enjoyable time during the previous league outing over there.

The painful experience of last season ensured the initial round observation after kick-off would not yield a clear-cut dominant side. For Liverpool, it was a potential banana skin after all.

Chances from Conor Bradley, Luis Diaz and Jota on the one hand and twice from Ivan Toney on the other, felt like it could go either way on who will open the score.

Darwin, the poet in motion

Finally, it was Nunez who did the honours on the 35th minute.

Captain Virgil Van Dijk repelled a Brentford free-kick from Bees keeper Mark Flekken. His long clearance landed on the head of Jota who flicked the ball to set up the Uruguayan for a one-on-one with Flekken.

This time, it was no shot agonisingly just wide, no hitting the woodwork but an outrageously sublime chip over the keeper to put the gloss over this latest instalment of Poetry in Motion goals. 

This opening of the score went a long way to settle confidence in the Liverpool camp as we then saw the Redmen creating more chances while the home side barely had a sniff for the rest of the first half.

It was no surprise then that the Merseysiders extended their lead 10 minutes after the break.

A Flekken clearance was met with Wataru Endo’s header at the half-way line to Ryan Gravenberch. The Dutchman shrugged off the attentions of Norgaard before feeding Salah who squared it to Alexis Mac Allister.

After a one-touch control, the Argentinian toe-poked past Flekken. By now, the Brentford keeper must be disgusted with his long kicks resulting in both Liverpool goals so far.

For a change, it was Caoimhin Kelleher’s clearance which was at the origin of Liverpool’s 3rd goal. Another headed flick, this time by Cody Gakpo in the centre circle, sent the ball in acres of open space in Brentford’s final third. 

Mo Salah was far quicker than Nathan Collins in getting to it. He turned the Brentford defender inside out before unleashing a left footed shot past Flekken to send the Travelling Kop in raptures. Welcome back Mo!!

At this point, the outcome of this match was practically beyond any doubt although the Londoners reduced the deficit on the 75th minute by the inevitable Ivan Toney who pounced on the rebound after a superb save by Kelleher to deny an initial attempt by Sergio Reguilon.

Quite a shame as that Kelleher save was brilliant enough for the Irishman to merit a clean sheet.

Scaling it for good

Thankfully, nerves were calmed down 10 minutes later with a 4th Liverpool goal by Gakpo who thoroughly deserved to be added on the scoresheet.

Joe Gomez sent a long clearance towards Brentford’s back line and to our delight, a comedy of defensive errors ensued.

Nathan Collins completely failed in his attempt to clear which allowed Diaz to collect, swivel and cross. Somehow, the ball managed to roll in between the legs of Saman Ghoddos before reaching Gakpo who then simply had to finish past Flekken.

After Anfield saw the biggest attendance last weekend since the middle of last century, this is now Liverpool’s first league win at Brentford since March 1938; granted the West London side was absent from top-flight English football for some 75 years as from the 1940s.

Of greater significance, it was a thoroughly professional performance which ensured we shall not be moved. And this despite a reinvigorated Arsenal who are now challenging Man City in challenging us for top of the table.

For their part, City snatched a late draw against Chelsea with Raheem Sterling biting the hand that used to feed him and handing our destiny back in our own hands.

Bring them on next Sunday.

Mike Chung.