Brentford v Liverpool - The PL Preview
With two victories and one game to go, the Christmas and New Year’s Premier League fixture list has started very well for the Reds. After a decent Boxing Day trip to Villa Park, Jurgen Klopp followed that up with a home win against Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester City. Though that 2-1 victory came with some very poor performances, hopefully some changes can be made to ensure a slightly smoother encounter this Monday evening.
Brentford’s last game saw them successfully overcome West Ham, as they mounted more pressure on under fire Hammer boss, David Moyes. That 0-2 away win came off the back of another impressive result, as they held Tottenham to a hard fought 2-2 draw. With a very good return of 23 points from 17 games played so far this season, Thomas Frank continues to over-perform with one of the smaller London clubs. As their desired status of Premier League mainstays improves each week, their hard working and aggressive nature could well be the exact style that can disrupt Liverpool right now.
On the availability front, Shandon Baptiste, Kristoffer Ajer, Aaron Hickey, and now Ivan Toney are all out injured, whilst there is hope that Thomas Strakosha and Frank Onyeka will be fit enough to make the match-day squad. In terms of a likely line up, David Raya will start in goal behind a back three consisting of Ben Mee, Ethon Pinnock and Zanka. Both Rico Henry and Mads Roerslev Rasmussen should continue as wing backs, with a midfield comprising Christian Nørgaard, Mathias Jensen and Josh Dasilva. Up front could see the injured Toney replaced by either ex Liverpool player, Sergi Canos, or Saman Ghoddos. Either of these would play off Bryan Mbeumo, who would inevitably lead the Brentford line.
Liverpool come into this game on a good run of four straight wins, though form has once again been concerning since the leagues restart. With some really abject displays against Leicester, Jurgen Klopp will surely make the changes that are needed to ensure more intensity. The injuries are making decisions tricky for the German right now, with Arthur Melo, James Milner, Luis Diaz, Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino all out. Andy Robertson and Harvey Elliott both picked up knocks on Friday, therefore are likely not to be risked.
Alisson Becker will start in goal, with both Virgil van Dijk and Trent Alexander Arnold also likely to be retained. Kostas Tsimikas could come in for Andy Robertson and Ibou is a real candidate to come in for Joel Matip. The midfield should see Fabinho return after some personal time away, with Naby Keita looking to make a first start of the season. This game should see Thiago possibly held back, with a gluttony of games over a short period, possibly pushing his playing load too far. The right of midfield should see Henderson dropped after his horror show last week, with perhaps Stefan Bajčetić coming in to add some more determination. Unless Cody Gakpo is registered in time, it’ll be a choice between Alex Oxlade Chamberlain or Fábio Carvalho in joining Darwin and Salah up top.
The Reds will be desperate to add form to a result, with a desire to not concede. With a concerning habit of conceding the first goal, the visitors will surely be looking to sharpen their defensive awareness. Brentford will now have to look beyond the superb abilities of Ivan Toney, with a guarantee that’ll ensure they are both aggressive and competitive.
With fatigue perhaps playing a part here, I believe the quality of Liverpool will see them collect maximum points. Darwin Nunez has been threatening to score plenty of goal and this could just be the occasion to see that trait emerge.
Player to watch – Darwin Nunez
Brentford 1 – 3 Liverpool