Liverpool vs Brentford: The Reds were without Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, but it mattered very little as they cruised to a 3-0 final score at Anfield on Sunday.
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Fabinho opened the scoring after 44 minutes, and though it remained 1-0 until late in the second half, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (69th minute) and Takumi Minamino (77th) eventually got the confirming goals as time wound down.
The victory pushes Liverpool (45 points) back into 2nd place in the Premier League table, two points above 3rd-place Chelsea, but still 11 behind runaway leaders Manchester City. The Reds have a game in hand, with the opportunity to cut the deficit to eight. Brentford, meanwhile, slipped to 14th this weekend after Aston Villa came back to draw Manchester United on Saturday.
Liverpool vs Brentford final score, stats, results
Final score: Liverpool 3, Brentford 0
Goal scorers: Liverpool (Fabinho 44′, Oxlade-Chamberlain 69′, Minamino 77′), Brentford (None)
Shots: Liverpool 27, Brentford 6
Shots on target: Liverpool 13, Brentford 1
Possession: Liverpool 68%, Brentford 32%
2 things we learned – Liverpool vs Brentford
1. No Salah, no Mane, no problem (so far): Liverpool are perhaps feeling rather fortunate that Salah and Mane will likely miss just two Premier League games while on international duty at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations. Fortunate, because the Reds’ attack predictably lacked the cutting edge and final-third expertise typically on display at Anfield. Oxlade-Chamberlain started on the wing in their absences, and though Oxlade-Chamberlain is serviceable in a number of positions due to him being a well-rounded footballer, he possesses very few of the things which make Salah and Mane truly exceptional.
2. Brentford holding on for dear life: The Bees are a little over halfway to completing their first-ever Premier League season, and Thomas Frank’s men look like they could not be any more ready for the end to arrive. Brentford probably did enough (23 points) in their first 19 games that they will be able to limp over the line and stay in the top flight next season, but the highs of August and September feel a decade and a half ago at this point. Constantly under siege at one end, while rarely traveling to and threatening at the other end — such is life for a newly promoted side after the rest of the Premier League gets a few months of film to reveal exactly how they want to play.
Man of the Match: Fabinho – The Brazilian scored the opening goal and propped up Liverpool on both sides of the ball, with four keep passes and seven aerial duels won.
Liverpool vs Brentford highlights
Fabinho heads Liverpool into the lead after Brentford fail to clear (goal video)
In reference to point no. 2 (above), set-piece dominance was the hallmark of Brentford to begin the season. Now, they’re undone by the most elementary of mistakes inside their own box.