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Match Reports

Liverpool 3 Brentford 0

Away defeat for Bees at Anfield

16 January 2022

Brentford’s first trip to Anfield for a Premier League match ended in defeat. Liverpool scored late in the first half and then added two more after the interval to secure the points. The final 3-0 score line was probably not quite as comfortable as it looked, but there was little doubt Liverpool deserved the win.

The home side got their goals at important times. Brentford looked set to get to half time level before the hosts struck and they had a good chance to level just before Liverpool’s second. Ultimately, Liverpool did enough to win the game and Brentford left with nothing.

Liverpool had the better of the first quarter of the contest and most of the game was played in Brentford’s half. The home side dominated possession and pushed The Bees back. It took them a few minutes to start to find gaps, but they created a series of openins in the first quarter of the match, albeit mostly from set pieces.

An Andrew Robertson corner was missed at the near post by Jordan Henderson and the ball bobbled around the Brentford penalty area. Diogo Jota got a shot off that Brentford defenders managed to scramble away. Henderson then set up Jota after good work on the right, but the shot was superbly blocked by Kristoffer Ajer. The resulting corner was half cleared, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain crossed for Jota to head wide from 12 yards.

Liverpool were forcing mistakes and when Álvaro Fernández failed to get sufficient distance on a clearance, Trent Alexander-Arnold raced back towards the Brentford goal. He created room to shoot, but Rico Henry got back to make a block. A cross-cum-shot from Fabinho almost created the opening goal. Oxlade-Chamberlain tried to head in but failed to make contact and Fernández had to spring to his left to save. Oxlade-Chamberlain was adjudged to be offside so any goal would probably not have counted.

Alexander-Arnold fired narrowly wide from distance and then delivered a deep free kick that Joel Matip could not turn home at the far post. A corner from Alexander-Arnold soon after caused problems when it was flicked across at the near post and beat Fernández. It reached Virgil van Dijk at the far post, he lashed it back, but Fernández recovered to make a fine save.

Roberto Firmino shot wide from distance, Fernández gathered a van Dijk header and Matip saw an effort deflected and saved after weaving forward from the back as Liverpool continued to spend most of their time in Brentford territory. There was also an important block from Pontus Jansson when Firmino tried to head in a first-time volleyed ball from Robertson. But as the half wore on, Brentford grew in confidence. Liverpool were not keeping The Bees in their own half as they did for the first half hour and the game was more even.

Brentford started to put together some attacking possession. Ivan Toney was testing the home defence, playing in the channels on the last line. A few times he was adjudged offside, including once when a Vitaly Janelt shot was blocked inside the six-yard box. On second look, Toney was not offside And any goal would have counted. Toney also saw a snapshot fly wide from 25 yards and Janelt whizzed an effort narrowly over.

When it looked like it would the game would be level at half time, Liverpool struck. It started with a brilliant move on the Liverpool left. Firmino set up Jota for a shot, but Henry got back to make a block and conceded a corner. That was delivered from the left by Alexander-Arnold, bounced all the way across and was headed in from close range by Fabinho. There was a melee of bodies in the centre of the goal, but no-one got a touch and Fabinho was able to nod home unchallenged.

That gave Liverpool a half time lead and Brentford were forced in to a change early in the second period when Henry walked off uncomfortably to be replaced by Sergi Canós. Fernández saved from Fabinho when Brentford failed to clear their lines and then held on to a drilled shot from Curtis Jones. Alexander-Arnold blasted well over and a Matip header was blocked as Liverpool continued to have the initiative.

But Brentford had more of the ball in the early stages of the second half than they did for much of the first. Liverpool definitely had the upper hand, but The Bees were able to put together spells of possession, and they could have levelled. Toney won the ball in the centre of the field and a reverse pass from Christian Nørgaard found Bryan Mbeumo inside the area. He was able to turn free and get a shot off that beat Alisson and flew just past the post.

Liverpool were having more of the ball and the chances and Oxlade-Chamberlain lashed well wide before Alexander-Arnold bundled his way in to the penalty area and created space for a Jota shot that smashed off the far post. Firmino got to the loose ball, but his low shot was saved by Fernández. Firmino then created a chance for Jota to weave in to penalty area. He found himself with only Fernández to beat, but the Brentford goalkeeper made himself big and kept him out.

Liverpool did find a way through soon after. A drilled cross from the left by Robertson found Oxlade-Chamberlain diving to head in from ten yards. The cross arced delightfully over the Brentford defence and Oxlade-Chamberlain could not miss.

Brentford went up the other end and almost pulled one back as Ajer crossed from the right, Mads Roerslev dummied, and a Toney shot was blocked when it looked like it would trouble Alisson. Ajer blocked from Robertson after good work by Jones and Alexander-Arnold lashed over from distance.

Liverpool killed off the game with a third inside the final 15 minutes. Brentford played in to trouble in their own penalty area and Liverpool won the ball. Firmino unselfishly squared and Takumi Minamino tapped in from close range.

The game was even more open in the closing stages as Brentford looked for a goal and Liverpool used the space provided. Fernández saved a Minamino lob before making a fine one-on-one block from Kaide Gordon. Alexander-Arnold got on to the loose ball and fired just past the far post.

Minamino had another shot blocked before Janelt and Yoane Wissa combined to find Canós in space at the other end. His shot was blocked. A fabulous pass from Mathias Jensen released Toney at the death, but he was unable to beat Alisson with a low shot. Referee Jonathan Moss brought the game to a close moments later and Liverpool had the win.

Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Jones; Oxlade-Chamberlain (sub Minamino 74 mins), Firmino (sub Milner 78 mins), Jota (sub Gordon 82 mins)

Subs (not used): Kelleher, Konaté, Gomez, Tsimikas, Williams, Morton

Brentford: Fernández; Ajer, Jansson, Pinnock; Roerslev, Baptiste (sub Wissa 67 mins), Nørgaard, Janelt, Henry (sub Canós 49 mins); Toney, Mbeumo (sub Jensen 75 mins)

Subs (not used): Lössl, Stevens, Bech, Bidstrup, Ghoddos, Forss

Bookings: Ajer (19 mins)


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