Liverpool continued their recent resurgence as they earned a hard-fought 1-0 win against Brentford.
Liverpool have found their form in recent weeks, winning their last five fixtures and were unbeaten in seven to move within four points of the top four places ahead of today’s Anfield clash.
Brentford put in a brilliant performance last time the two sides met back in January, running out 3-1 winners in west London, though the Bees have only claimed four league wins on their travels this season.
After a lively start, it was Liverpool who took the lead in just the 13th minute. Fabinho clipped a lovely ball into the box to find Virgil van Dijk at the back post, before the Dutchman had the foresight to nod it back across goal to pick out Mohamed Salah who poked home from close range, his 100th goal at Anfield.
Brentford saw a first-half Bryan Mbeumo goal chalked off for a tight offside, while they posed a threat going forward throughout the encounter, though Thomas Frank’s side often lacked that killer final ball – ending the match with just one shot on target.
The win saw Liverpool move to within a point of Manchester United, though the Red Devils have two games in hand, and speaking after the game, Jurgen Klopp was full of praise for how well his side dealt with Brentford’s set pieces, praising his their ‘focus’ in what was a ‘tricky’ game.
100 GOALS FOR SALAH AT ANFIELD! ✅🔴 pic.twitter.com/vMrrNW7ZzY
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) May 6, 2023
“That game today was the best defensive set-piece session I ever saw in my life against the best set-piece team I have ever played, most creative,” he told Sky Sports. “We didn’t concede a real chance with 50, 60 set-pieces – that’s how it felt at least. It was because the boys were really focussed. Could we have controlled the game better in places? Yes, but it was really tricky because they break the rhythm.
“I saw a lot of positive things. From a focus point of view, it was really good because we stayed in these moments, really concentrated and front-footed. The boys did really well today so I am really happy.”
Trent Alexander-Arnold once again operated in a midfield role, and Klopp was asked if it was a position he expected him to play in for the long term.
“It depends on the players we bring in,” he said. “It suits him extremely well. The chance he set up for Darwin [Nunez] was a very special ball.
Trent Alexander-Arnold's game by numbers vs. Brentford:
17 final third passes
6x possession won
5 duels won
4 take-ons attempted
3 take-ons completed
1 big chance created
Impressive again in his new role. #LIVBRE pic.twitter.com/OJSPMZMyrJ
— Squawka Live (@Squawka_Live) May 6, 2023
“He is defensively very strong, he still has to adapt to the formation because I think he struggled a bit in the last game. It is not him, he cannot be everywhere. Trent played pretty much all minutes in this really intense period. It’s outstanding what he is doing.”
Mohamed Salah’s goal was his 186th for Liverpool, moving him level with Steven Gerrard as the club’s fifth-highest goalscorer, and Klopp said the Egyptian was already an ‘all-time great’.
“I cant see him stopping, that’s just his nature,” he said. “You need to have this desire to score goals. People often forget how many goals he also sets up. He is very often involved.
“When he sits in a studio in a few years as a pundit, everybody will know how good he was when we were all watching him. A lot of people don’t appreciate players when they are still playing. For us, it’s clear. He is an all-time great.”
Asked about the club’s pursuit of Champions League football, Klopp said: “If Manchester United win their games in hand, then they are seven points away and it is pretty much done. We know that. Brighton, if they win all their games in hand which is absolutely possible they are above us. It’s an interesting period.
“We have to make sure we keep the teams behind us, behind us because they are coming. Nothing is decided and that’s good.”
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