Liverpool will have the chance to grab the summit of the Premier League when they take on Brentford at the Brentford Community Stadium on Saturday.
A packed Saturday beckons us in the Premier League, as Gameweek 6 of the 2021/22 season kicks off, with as many as seven games on show. The final match-up on the day will be played at the Brentford Community Stadium, where Liverpool will pay a visit to Brentford, hoping to continue their unbeaten start to the season.
Brentford have been quite impressive at the onset of their maiden Premier League campaign, losing just once in their first five outings. In particular, the Bees’ defensive solidity has been admirable, as they have conceded just two goals so far – only Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City have let in fewer strikes. All that and more has helped Thomas Frank & co. climb into the top half of the table.
Liverpool, on the other hand, have been eager to make amends following a disappointing defence of their Premier League crown last season. The Reds are yet to lose a game in any competition so far while in the Premier League, they have an identical record to leaders Chelsea, who are perched atop the standings solely due to the alphabetical order of club names.
Brentford and Liverpool will be facing off for the very first time in the Premier League on Saturday and ahead of their maiden meeting in the competition, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.
Team News & Tactics
💬 The latest team news
"No injuries, everyone is fit and available
— Brentford FC (@BrentfordFC) September 23, 2021
Thomas Frank barely has any roster issue hampering the preparations of his team ahead of the visit of Liverpool. On Saturday, the Brentford manager will be bereft of the services of just two first-team players, with Mads Sorensen (knee) and Joshua Dasilva (hip) unavailable.
The good news, though, comes in the form of the returns of Rico Henry and Shandon Baptiste, with the former overcoming a minor ankle injury to declare himself available while the latter has served a one-match ban after being sent off against Wolverhampton Wanderers last time out.
Baptiste and Henry’s availability is crucial for a Brentford side that revels in minimal tinkering, meaning much of the starting lineup from the game against Wolves ought to be retained. In goal, David Raya is a certainty, with Brentford likely to line up in their usual 3-5-2 system that will focus on numerical advantages in the defensive and middle third to ensure Liverpool are never on top.
Kristoffer Ajer, Pontus Jansson and Ethan Pinnock will form the three-man central defensive unit, with the trio largely remaining compact in the defensive phases while spreading out when in possession to open up more passing avenues. Sergi Canos and Henry will be the two wing-backs who will drop deep to create a back five off the ball while providing width higher up the pitch.
Baptiste will be one of three central midfielders, who will have the onus on them to keep a check on the movement of the ball around the middle of the park. The other midfielders will likely be Vitaly Janelt and Christian Norgaard. Finally, Bryan Mbuemo and Ivan Toney will form the strike partnership, with the duo having the responsibility of being clinical in the final third.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Raya; Ajer, Jansson, Pinnock; Canos, Janelt, Norgaard, Baptiste, Henry; Mbuemo, Toney
Unlike his counterpart in the Brentford dugout, Jurgen Klopp has fresh injury concerns to deal with ahead of the trip to the Brentford Community Stadium. On Saturday, the Liverpool manager could have to make do without as many as five first-team players.
The latest player to be sidelined is Naby Keita, who sustained a knock on his foot earlier in the week against Norwich City in the Carabao Cup and will miss out versus Brentford. The other players who are unavailable are Neco Williams (match fitness), Thiago Alcantara (calf), Harvey Elliott (ankle) and Roberto Firmino (match fitness).
The latest team news from both sides ahead of #BRELIV 👇
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) September 24, 2021
However, there is some good news as well, with Trent Alexander-Arnold and James Milner recovering from their respective illnesses to be available to take on Brentford. Alexander-Arnold will return to his usual right-back spot, with Andrew Roberson starting on the left flank. At the heart of the Liverpool defence, there is no looking past Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk.
Up ahead in midfield, Curtis Jones is set to make his first Premier League start this season, owing to the absence of Keita and Thiago. Jones will have the indomitable Fabinho and Jordan Henderson alongside him in the middle of the park.
Finally, with the game coming too soon for Firmino, Diogo Jota will once again pair up with Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah in the final third. Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino will be options off the bench, although the duo would have hoped for a rare league start after their heroics in the EFL Cup fixture earlier this week.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Jones; Salah, Jota, Mane
- Brentford have eight points from five matches so far – no promoted side has started a Premier League season that well and gone on to be relegated.
- Liverpool are unbeaten in this season’s top flight, conceding just one goal in their first five games for the first time since 1977. The Reds have the longest current unbeaten league run in England’s top four divisions, spanning 15 matches (W12 D3).
- Only Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City (one each) have conceded fewer goals than Brentford (two) in the Premier League this season.
- Liverpool have scored an unrivalled 16 Premier League goals from corners since the start of last season.
- Ivan Toney has scored 33 league goals since the start of last season, the joint-most by any player in the top four divisions.
Player to Watch
Ivan Toney and Sadio Mane are interesting candidates for this section this weekend. However, we are going ahead with Mohamed Salah owing to the fact that the Egyptian wing wizard is on the cusp of creating history, which has left his countrymen as well as Liverpool fans waiting with bated breaths.
Currently on 99 Premier League goals, Salah will have the chance to become the 13th player to reach a century of league goals for the Reds. Having recently completed a century of Premier League goals, reaching the milestone surely will be quite a special achievement for the 29-year-old.
Brentford 0-1 Liverpool
This is one of those games that might not serve us too many goals. Brentford are quite frugal when it comes to shipping goals. Letting in just two strikes so far is nothing short of mighty impressive, and the Bees are likely to leave Liverpool frustrated as well on Saturday.
However, in the end, the sheer gulf of quality between the two sides ought to do the trick in favour of Liverpool. Mohamed Salah should be in business to score the only goal of the game, which will in turn seal all three points for the Merseysiders while also completing a century of Premier League goals for the Reds.