Brentford 1 – 4 Liverpool – The Postmortem 

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Nunez, Mac Allister, Salah and Gakpo on Target as Liverpool Smash Brentford

This was a game that had me slightly worried before kick-off, given the same fixture last season and horrid Liverpool performance which resulted in a one sided (and deserved) 3-1 defeat. The reds were battered and bullied that day and the scoreline could have been far worse. The returning (from a long suspension) Ivan Toney remains one the finest central strikers in the country, therefore, it was always going to take robust physicality and determination to overcome a decent footballing side in their own Community Stadium.

The Starting Eleven

Below is how the team lined up, with match details following.

  • GK – Caoimhin Kelleher
  • RB – Conor Bradley
  • RCB – Ibrahima Konaté
  • LCB – Virgil van Dijk (c)
  • LB – Andy Robertson
  • RCM – Alexis Mac Allister
  • CDM – Waturu Endo
  • LCM – Curtis Jones
  • RF – Diogo Jota
  • CF – Darwin Núñez
  • LF – Luis Díaz


  • Ryan Gravenberch – Curtis Jones (34 mins)
  • Mohamed Salah – Diogo Jota (44 mins)
  • Cody Gakpo – Darwin Núñez (45 mins)
  • Joe Gomez – Conor Bradley (83 mins)
  • Harvey Elliott – Alexis Mac Allister (83 mins)


  • Brentford 0 – 1 Liverpool: Darwin Núñez (Diogo Jota) 35 mins
  • Brentford 0 – 2 Liverpool: Alexis Mac Allister (Mohamed Salah) 55 mins
  • Brentford 0 – 3 Liverpool: Mohamed Salah (Cody Gakpo) 68 mins
  • Brentford 1 – 3 Liverpool: Ivan Toney (Cody Gakpo) 75 mins
  • Brentford 1 – 4 Liverpool: Cody Gakpo (Luis Díaz) 86 mins

Important Match Stats

  • Possession: Brentford 37% – 67% Liverpool
  • Total Shots: Brentford 15 – 15 Liverpool
  • Crosses: Brentford 8 – 15 Liverpool
  • Corner Kicks: Brentford 7 – 18 Liverpool
  • Goalkeeper Saves: Brentford 4 – 5 Liverpool

The First Half

The opening period of this game was an even exchange between two sides that clearly had a tactical mandate to follow. Liverpool was aggressive and organised, despite one early chance drifting wide from the effort of Ivan Toney. The hosts did not have too much more to get excited about, until the first of two worrying injuries arose. Following a bright first 35-minutes, Curtis Jones twisted and fell to the west London turf, before leaving the field with suspected ankle ligament damage.

Photo: IMAGO

Ryan Gravenberch came to the fore as the first substitution of the game, directly replacing the man that hobbled from the field of play. It would only be a minute later that the bustling Diogo Jota would win possession from a Virgil van Dijk clearance, one that Sean Dyche would have been fond of. The Portuguese menace was strong and measured with his halfway line header, which fell perfectly into the path of the advancing Darwin Núñez. As the enthusiastic striker approached the goal unmarked and with all defensive pieces in his wake. his confidence and sublime finish were a creation of brilliance, as he lifted the ball over the outstretched keeper, whilst travelling at top speed. The scores had adjusted to the reds advantage, before another worrying injury presented itself.

Due to a coming together with a Brentford player, the ever-impressive Portuguese forward, Diogo Jota, was also forced to leave the field after that collision and the resulting weight which landed onto his knee. The stretcher and post-match knee brace did not make for good viewing, as the first half closed with Mohamed Salah entering the field. That would represent Liverpool’s second substitute of the initial period, with the EFL Cup Final just a week away.

The Second Half

On resumption of the second half, there was rumours of Darwin Núñez having sustained a knock, before subsequently being withdrawn. I would be inclined to believe that a choice to remove a man (destined to play only 55-minutes) was made during the interval, so that the reds final in game substitution(s) could be retained for the latter part of the game. Premier League sides are allowed to make five alterations in any one match, with three non-concussion stoppages being called for in said game.

The half time break offers an extra moment to make a change, which does not infringe on the managers allotment of three. The fact that the former Benfica man is also poised on eight yellow cards is also something that must be considered, which makes his participation (from the start) of the Luton game unlikely. The reds welcome the relegation battlers to Anfield on Wednesday night.

Photo: IMAGO

The second half started brightly for Klopp’s men, as a lacklustre and outgunned Thomas Frank side struggled to compete with their higher quality guests. It would be in the 55th minute that Alexis Mac Allister would benefit from some neat work by the Egyptian King, who assisted his South American teammate to score from close range. This was the first game back for the reds record breaking forward, who looked both strong and refreshed for the final few months of the season. A mere thirteen minutes after assisting that second goal of the game, the reds top scorer then showed a brilliant combination of power and clinical finishing, to all but end the contest. A flighted ball was nudged on by the eager Cody Gakpo, allowing Salah to muscle his way beyond the challenge of his marker, before finding the bottom corner across the helpless keeper.

Despite a couple of brilliant saves either side of the half, the reds backup keeper, Caoimhin Kelleher, was finally beaten after a saved effort found its way to Ivan Toney, who scored from close range. Jürgen Klopp will be hoping that the self-proclaimed Liverpool supporter will be able to inflict more goal scoring mayhem on Manchester City next week, as they visit the Etihad on Tuesday evening. The home sides renaissance was short lived, as after some well-timed substitutions, the league leaders extended their lead from 1-3 to 1-4, after Luis Díaz laid on a late chance for Cody Gakpo, who calmly altered the scores to match the overall game state.

The game and the performance were perfect, yet the injuries may be detrimental to what comes next.

What Are My Final Thoughts…?

This was a game that could have been a horrible ninety minutes to navigate, however, this Liverpool v2.0 look resilient and determined to reward their beloved coach with a season ending plethora of silverware. Manchester City would later draw with Chelsea, as Arsenal thumped a hapless Burnley.

The reds are top of the Premier League and the need to keep winning remains, which was achieved with aplomb at the Brentford Community Stadium.

Pre-game prediction:

Brentford 1 – 2 Liverpool

Steven Smith

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