Liverpool drop two points away to Brentford in a crazy match that saw both teams score three goals.
Brentford vs. Liverpool
Brentford: Pinnock 26’, Janelt 63’, Wissa 81’
Liverpool: Jota 30’, Salah 54’, Jones 67’
Following a loss by Manchester United, Liverpool could see themselves three points clear at the top with a win today against Brentford. Andy Robertson returns to the line-up, replacing Tsimikas at left-back, while Curtis Jones replaces Thiago Alcantara in the middle. Konate, who got his first Premier League start and performed well against Crystal Palace, loses his place to the healthy Joel Matip.
The game sprints to life at the sound of the referee whistle. Brentford looked to take control of the game and were clearly going for it. Both teams had huge chances that required desperate clearances from defenders to keep the game scoreless. First by Kristoffer Ajer, who cleared Mohamed Salah’s opening effort off the line. Then, minutes later, it was Matip on the other side, saving Alisson when Frank Onyenka got past the keeper and would have found the back of the net without his quick feet.
Brentford draw first blood in the 27th minute off of a free kick. The ball was sent whizzing in front of the goal, escaping every Liverpool defender, before landing at Ethan Pinnock’s feet on the edge of the goal.
After less than five minutes of Liverpool pushing for the equalizer, it came off of Diogo Jota’s head. A beautiful, quick attack down the pitch got rewarded when Henderson made a good run in behind that Trent Alexander-Arnold found. Henderson lofted a high cross into the box, and Jota jumped up to put away an easy, elegant header.
39 minutes in, Jones rattled Raya’s goalpost with a low, long range effort only a centimeter wide. Jota latched onto the rebound, but somehow Raya got barely enough on it to force the ball away from his goal.
Brentford goal scorer Pinnock limped off the pitch after clearly struggling for 15 minutes with an injury. The center-back was replaced by right-back Matias Jorgensen.
Robertson worked on his cross-country running skills, running in and out and away from Brentford players clear across the pitch, until getting fouled on the very edge of the penalty area.
The second half started in much the same way that the previous one had ended: with Liverpool attacking and Raya denying Jota from close range.
However, Salah made it right in the 53rd minute when he initiates a perfect run to stay just onside. Fabinho sent it into him with a great ball right to his boot, and Salah tapped it home with his first touch. It was called offside, before VAR corrected the decision. That’s Salah’s 100th Liverpool league goal. Our Egyptian king just keeps knocking off milestones for fun.
It was a muddle in the middle as Brentford peppered Liverpool’s goal with shots, until finally one crossed the line. Vitaly Janelt made it 2-2 with about 30 minutes left to play.
In this wild back and forth match, it was Jones who struck next. The young Scouser had tried his hand at several long range efforts, and 67 minutes in, he got his goal. Jones did a great job of maneuvering past the Brentford defenders to get plenty of space to work with. A touch to center himself, and he placed a bullet into the near corner.
And that was his last touch of the game, as his celebration was cut short by the fourth official’s board going up with his number. Newly-returned Roberto Firmino came on in his place, as Klopp tried to expand his attacking options.
Salah nearly made it 4-2 as Brentford began to tire and offered him lots of space to move. It seemed it was almost too much space in the end, as Salah took a touch too many and sent the ball over the crossbar. Moments later, Mané did the same thing, but to no avail.
They came to rue the missed opportunity moments later when, after yet another absurd scramble inside of the box, it was Yoane Wissa who got the final touch to make things square at 3-3 with less than 10 minutes remaining. The Reds’ defensive line was a bit of a shambles in this game.
Final Thoughts and Man of the Match
In the end, it was hard to say that a draw wasn’t a fair result, giving the performances by the two sides. Liverpool’s defense couldn’t handle Brentford’s persistence and they paid for it again and again. Overall, though, it was an entertaining match from start to finish, despite the disappointing scoreline.