Liverpool host Brentford in the English Premier League at Anfield on Saturday. The Reds have won five successive league matches and still have hope of reaching the top four. Brentford have won two matches in a row after a six-match winless streak. The Bees won 3-1 in the reverse fixture in January.
The Reds have now won five matches in a row. Their return to a high level began by coming from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at home with Arsenal (with 3.96 xG created). A 6-1 win at Leeds was resounding before three set-piece goals to beat Nottingham Forest 3-2. A 2-1 win at West Ham saw them have 20 shots.
Last Sunday, they were superb to go 3-0 up vs Tottenham in 15 minutes. They lost control in the second half and conceded in the 93rd minute to make it 3-3 before Diogo Jota’s winner a minute later. In midweek, they toiled a bit to beat Fulham 1-0 at home. Prior to these five wins, they had suffered a 1-0 loss at Bournemouth and a 4-1 loss at Man City in a five-match winless streak in all competitions.
Liverpool Team News
Central midfielders Naby Keita and Stefan Bajcetic are not expected to play again this season and neither is Thiago Alcantara. Andy Robertson is set for a recall after a partial rest in midweek. Diogo Jota is available but he hasn’t been able to train and will feature from the bench.
Roberto Firmino remains a major doubt. Cody Gakpo could be recalled as the central striker after Darwin Nunez got a start in midweek and won a penalty. Curtis Jones and Jordan Henderson are set to start in midfield ahead of Harvey Elliott.
Klopp’s side need to win this match to close the gap to Man Utd to just one point. They will want to put pressure on the Red Devils ahead of their trip on Sunday to West Ham.
Liverpool will attack in this match and will want to better control the second half. In both of the last two fixtures, they’ve gone into their shells after the interval with a lead to protect.
Thomas Frank’s side have had a great season. After losing 4-0 at Aston Villa in October, they went on an extraordinary run of just one defeat in 16 matches in the league. A tough run of results followed as they were first beaten 1-0 at Man Utd. A 2-1 home loss to Newcastle followed as they surrendered a lead.
After a 2-0 loss at Wolves, they’ve refocused and are three fixtures without defeat. They led 1-0 at home to Aston Villa but conceded an 87th-minute goal to drop two points. A fine 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea followed. Last weekend, they scored two late goals to come from a goal down to beat Nottingham Forest 2-1 at home.
Brentford Team News
The Bees will go to their usual big-game shape of a 3-5-2 for this one. Pontus Jansson’s season is over due to a hamstring injury but Kristoffer Ajer is fit. He will compete with Mathias Jørgensen to be the extra centre-back who comes in.
Christian Norgaard has an Achilles issue and missed this match. Josh Dasilva will hope his winner against Forest will earn him a start in the midfield three. Thomas Frank must pick between Brian Mbuemo and Yoane Wissa to partner Ivan Toney up front.
Brentford beat Liverpool earlier this season by focusing on set plays and counters. Against the tougher teams, they go more direct and look to force mistakes.
They will play to win this match as they did away at Chelsea. They could potentially still finish in the top seven and earn a place in Europe next season.
Liverpool have scored 44 goals in 17 home matches this season (EPL)
Liverpool’s Salah has 10 goals in his last 11 league matches
Liverpool have won 5 league matches in a row, scoring 16 goals
Brentford are unbeaten in 3 league matches (DWW)
Brentford have beaten Man Utd, Liverpool, Man City and Chelsea this season
Brentford’s have seen only one side on target in seven of their last 9 away matches (4 blanks, 4 clean sheets)
The Bees have shown themselves to be very capable of beating the big sides this season. They will make life very difficult for Liverpool. The Reds may toil in trying to break them down but this feels like a game where the first team to score, will win the match.