Liverpool 1 - 0 Brentford
Liverpool: Salah 12’
Jürgen Klopp is not playing around with this ultra-attacking line-up, clearly hoping to bypass Brentford’s defensive style of play. Mohamed Salah, Cody Gakpo, Darwin Núñez, Diogo Jota, and Curtis Jones all in the starting XI. Hopefully a few of them can get the ball into the net tonight.
The beginning of this match is the battle of the set pieces, with both teams getting good chances early on. This is unsurprising from both teams. Brentford because of their defensive strategy that looks to hold off Liverpool’s attack and force free kicks and counters; Liverpool with their direct attacks and resulting corners. Salah gets a shot on goal from a corner kick, but it’s speculative at best, and easily handled by the Brentford goalkeeper.
12 minutes in, Salah got his 30th goal this season in the Premier League and became the first Liverpool player to score in nine consecutive home games. Van Dijk puts in a hard, searching header across the box. Salah gets a weak foot on it from close range. It doesn’t do the trick the first time, but he beats the keeper to the second ball and dinks it in.
The end of the first half, Brentford began to work themselves into the game, getting a long spell of possession. Toney nearly whistles a free kick in a great position just barely wide. Then moments later, Brentford scores, only to have it called back for offside.
Liverpool will be the happier team when the half time whistle finally blew to give them some time to regroup.
The game restarts on the gas, with both Brentford especially pushing forward once again. They’ve tested the defense several times in the first five minutes, thankfully without success.
51 minutes in, Gakpo should surely make it 2-0. Jota crosses the ball in the box directly to his feet right on top of the goal. However, physics was not on their side today, and the combination of the short distance between them, the strength of Jota’s cross, and the speed in which Gakpo was moving kept him from making the contact he needed to tap it in.
Eventually Brentford are bound to score from one of these 10,000 set piece chances, so if one of Liverpool Football Club’s six attacking players currently on the pitch could score another goal soon, that would be much appreciated.
65 minutes in, Klopp makes his first change. Núñez comes off in place of Luis Díaz. Minutes later, before Trent Alexander-Arnold swings in a free kick, Jota comes off for captain Jordan Henderson.
Alexander-Arnold gets off a blistering shot from about 18 yards out, but the keeper makes a diving save to send it out for a corner.
Jones finishes his evening, getting replaced by James Milner as Klopp looks to hold onto their tight lead in the remaining 10 minutes. In the back, Andy Robertson, who’s had a great game today, makes way for Kostas Tsimikas at left-back.
I’m not sure how many chances Gakpo will flub, but he gets another one on a golden platter 83 minutes on. Hickey’s defensive header greatly misses it’s mark of making it to the keeper. It flies to a storming Gakpo who controls it off his chest, but then just misses the mark with his shot.
Brentford spend the last few minutes of the game firmly in Liverpool’s half, picking up one corner after another as they try to grab a last gasp equalizer. The Reds look one step behind as they struggle to keep up with the visitors, but they manage to barely get the job done.
It was dicey there at the end, but Salah’s goal was once again the difference as Liverpool beat Brentford 1-0. They’re now only one point behind Manchester United, who have two games in hand.