Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Liverpool 3-0 Brentford: Three talking points as Liverpool fly past Bees

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Liverpool welcomed Brentford to Anfield on Sunday afternoon in what was the 21st match of the Premier League campaign for both teams. The home side expectedly emerged triumphant, with Fabinho heading in at the far post from a corner in the 44th minute, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain doubling the advantage with a header of his own in the 69th, and Takumi Minamino taking advantage of some excellent work from Roberto Firmino to set the final score in the 77th.

Better from Liverpool

Liverpool are currently coping without their two best attackers, with Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah both away at the African Cup of Nations representing Senegal and Egypt, respectively.

Last Thursday, they hosted Arsenal in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semifinal clash, and apart from one glaring opportunity wasted by Minamino at the very end, they completely failed to make their advantage in numbers count after Granit Xhaka picked up a straight red card in the 24th minute. It was quite different this time around.

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Liverpool not only scored three times, but they also forced a number of difficult saves from Bees’ goalkeeper Alvaro Fernandez. The trio of Firmino, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Diogo Jota finally showed that they actually can do very well without Mane and Salah, as did Minamino and young Kaide Gordon after their introductions in the 74th and 82nd minute. Curtis Jones also looked very lively towards the end, having been pushed from midfield onto the left wing after James Milner came on to replace Firmino in the 78th minute.

The only worry Klopp will have had from this game is that Oxlade-Chamberlain picked up a fresh injury. The manager spoke about it after the match and expressed belief that it wasn’t serious, but nothing could’ve been said for certain at that point.

Brentford have no worries yet

Thomas Frank’s side showed their usual level of resilience and physical prowess, but unfortunately for them, Liverpool were better prepared than they were at the Brentford Community Stadium earlier in the season, when their contest ended 3-3.

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The Bees will not be thinking too much about this particular clash; let’s be honest, not many newly promoted Premier League teams go to Anfield with a realistic hope of getting away with anything. Further more, Brentford stand in a notably better position than fellow newcomers, Watford and Norwich City at this point. Unlike those two, Brentford can hardly be said to be in the relegation battle, and that’s always a good sign for a team whose aim at the beginning of the campaign was surely just to stay up.

Too little, too late?

For all of Liverpool’s improvement compared to the Arsenal match and the positive result achieved in this one, the season appears to be all but over when the Premier League title race is concerned. Manchester City beat Chelsea by 1-0 at the Etihad on Saturday, thus enabling Liverpool to move into second place with a game in hand, but the gap between them and the defending champions remains at 11 points.

The clash between City and Chelsea was the one Liverpool probably looked towards the most in terms of Pep Guardiola’s team dropping points, apart from their own trip to Manchester in April, but Kevin De Bruyne made sure it didn’t happen with a fantastic strike. Liverpool now need not only to beat City directly, but they also need City to drop points on at least two occasions more than themselves.

In all honesty, that’s extremely unlikely to happen, given the levels of consistency City are showing year after year. As for Liverpool, they remain well within a shot at all three remaining trophies on offer – the Carabao Cup, the FA Cup, and the Champions League. They will surely be going strong for the latter, though at this point, the Carabao Cup seems within their sights. Nonetheless, they have to beat Arsenal at the Emirates first, and then prove that they indeed deserve to be ranked higher than Chelsea in the final.


Veselin Trajkovic

Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on seven different football blogs.



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