In an extremely exciting match at the Brentford Community Stadium on Saturday, Brentford and Liverpool shared the spoils in the sixth round of the Premier League season.
Ethan Pinnock took advantage of a scramble in Liverpool’s six-yard box to give the home team the lead in the 27th minute. Diogo Jota equalized for the visitors with a fine header in the 31st. After the break, it took Mohamed Salah nine minutes to nudge a brilliant pass from Fabinho into the net and turn the game completely around, but the Bees weren’t about to give up. They set the score back level in the 63rd minute through Vitaly Janelt. Liverpool may have thought they would still snatch the three points away after Curtis Jones’ deflected thunderbolt slammed into the top corner four minutes later, but Brentford substitute Yoane Wissa added his name to the scoresheet with eight minutes of the 90 remaining.
The fact that the match presented the enthralled spectators with six goals cannot hide the fact that both teams wasted a number of clear-cut chances.
Salah probably thought he had scored for his team as he beat Brentford goalkeeper David Raya very early on, but Kristoffer Ajer tracked back and diverted the ball outwards inches from the goal-line. The very next Brentford attack saw the same thing happen at the other end, and this time it was Joel Matip who produced a last-gasp clearance to deny Bryan Mbeumo.
Mbeumo and Ivan Toney, Brentford’s attacking duo, worked really well together and created a lot of problems for Liverpool’s arguably best back four. On the other hand, many Liverpool supporters will be feeling that a couple of great chances, wasted by Diogo Jota and most notably Salah when the score stood at 2-3, have robbed them of a highly satisfying triumph. Another goal at that point would’ve likely settled the contest in their favour.
Bees the real deal
After six rounds, it is quite clear that Brentford are an extremely fine addition to the Premier League this season. There is a strong chemistry in their team. The players, each and every one of them, boast superb athletic ability coupled with a highly competitive attitude. They are strong, fast, great in the air, very decent with the ball at their feet, and organized down to the last detail.
Toney is certainly the player to have attracted the most interest so far, having scored 31 goals in 45 Championship appearances last term, coupled with four goal involvements (two goals, two assists) in the Premier League this season already. But looking at the way Brentford play, it’s quite obvious that every member of the team contributes to the cause about equally through grit and quality.
Thomas Frank has put together a fantastic group, one that shouldn’t be worried at all about staying in the English top flight past next summer. So far, they’ve beaten Arsenal at home and Wolverhampton Wanderers away and apart from Liverpool, they held off Crystal Palace and Aston Villa away. They’ve lost only at home to Brighton and Hove Albion, who are proving to be the surprise of the season with the chance to go top of the league if they beat Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Monday.
Some would argue that Liverpool’s defence wasn’t up to its usual standards in this match, conceding three goals and all from inside the six yards, along with quite a few chances. But sometimes you have to take the opposition into the equation as well, and it only goes to prove that not even the players who are widely considered among the best in the game can always get their way on the pitch. All-year-round perfection does not exist.
Meanwhile, Jurgen Klopp and his team should find consolation for the two points (arguably) dropped in the fact that they now remain the only team in the Premier League not to have suffered a single defeat. Chelsea and Manchester United were up there with them going into the matchday, but Manchester City and Aston Villa made sure that wasn’t the case afterwards.
There was plenty of talk at the start of September about the Merseysiders ‘losing the transfer window’, but the need to spend hundreds of millions on signings is questionable for a team that already has plenty of quality in their ranks, coupled with a few highly-rated youngsters coming through.
The Reds now sit atop of the league with 14 points from six matches, and they will stay there unless Brighton emerge victorious from Selhurst Park. Their unbeaten run will, however, be put to a serious test next week at Anfield, when defending champions Manchester City come calling.
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