Liverpool will be hoping to bounce back to winning ways in the Premier League when they welcome Brentford to Anfield this weekend.
Liverpool will be aiming to end their three-game winless streak in the Premier League when they lock horns with Brentford at Anfield in Matchweek 22 on Sunday afternoon.
The Reds have not won a league game since their 3-1 triumph over Newcastle United in mid-December, failing to beat Tottenham and Chelsea while losing to Leicester City. The run of results has left Jurgen Klopp’s side 14 points shy of leaders Manchester City, although they have two matches in hand over their rivals.
Liverpool defeated Shrewsbury Town in the FA Cup third round last week but were held to a goalless draw in the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg by Arsenal earlier this week. They will be gunning for a victory on Sunday but will come up against a tricky opponent in the form of Brentford.
The Bees have already taken a point against Liverpool, holding them to an entertaining 3-3 draw in the reverse fixture in September. However, their bright start to the season has faded off in recent weeks, as they have lost four of their last six league outings, including their latest one against Southampton, which they lost 4-1.
With 23 points from 20 games, Thomas Frank’s side are well clear of the drop zone and can even break into the top half of the table should they bag an unlikely victory at Anfield on Sunday.
Team News & Tactics
Liverpool will be without Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita, who are away at the Africa Cup of Nations. Meanwhile, Thiago Alcantara, Divock Origi, Nathaniel Phillips and Harvey Elliott miss out with injuries. Virgil van Dijk, James Milner and Andrew Robertson picked up knocks against Arsenal in midweek but are fit enough to feature.
Jürgen Klopp expects to have the same group of players available when we face Brentford at Anfield on Sunday afternoon 👇
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) January 15, 2022
There are unlikely to be many changes made to the side that started in midweek against Arsenal. Alisson Becker is the undisputed starter in goal for Jurgen Klopp’s side, while the back four of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joel Matip, Virgil van Dijk and Robertson pick themselves. The full-backs will, as usual, be crucial to the Reds’ chance-creation on Sunday.
Fabinho will slot in at the base of the three-man midfield unit and look to break up attacks and recycle possession effectively. Captain Jordan Henderson will support the Brazilian while looking to drive forward when in possession. Milner could drop out of the side against Brentford, making way for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the third midfield slot.
With no Salah and Mane, the onus to lead the attack will fall on the shoulders of Roberto Firmino. The Brazilian international will operate through the middle and will have support from Diogo Jota on the right, while Curtis Jones could start on the left, having made a notable impact in the midweek clash after coming on from the bench. Takumi Minamino will be the one making the way.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Jota, Firmino, Jones
Josh Dasilva, Mathias Jorgensen, Charlie Goode and David Raya Martin are all out with injuries for Brentford, while Frank Onyeka is absent due to his involvement in the AFCON. There is some good news for Thomas Frank, though, as Rico Henry and ex-Liverpool starlet Sergi Canos are fit and available for selection.
The Bees will set up in their usual 3-5-2 formation in front of backup goalkeeper Alvaro Fernandez, who will continue deputising for Martin. Ethan Pinnock, Pontus Jansson and Mads Bech Sorensen ought to form the three-man defensive line for the visitors, who will have their task cut out against the Liverpool attack.
Mads Roerslev and the returning Canos should slot in as the wing-backs on the right and left sides respectively for Brentford. While the onus will be on them to provide the width, the attacking nature of their Liverpool counterparts could force them back, potentially cutting out key outlets. Christian Norgaard, Shandon Baptiste and Mathias Jensen should occupy the middle of the park.
Up top, there is no looking past the lively duo of Bryan Mbeumo and Ivan Toney. The latter had caused plenty of problems to the Liverpool backline the last time these two teams met and will look to do so again at Anfield.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Fernandez; Pinnock, Jansson, Sorensen; Roerslev, Baptiste, Norgaard, Jensen, Canos; Toney, Mbeumo
- This is the first time Liverpool are hosting Brentford in any competition since March 1989, a 4-0 win in an FA Cup quarter-final tie. They last hosted the Bees in a league match in October 1946, winning 1-0.
- Following a six-game winning run in November and December 2021, Liverpool are winless in their last three Premier League games (D2 L1).
- Brentford have lost their last five away games against Liverpool in all competitions by an aggregate score of 12-1, with their previous win against the Reds at Anfield coming in November 1937 (4-3).
- At home, Liverpool are unbeaten in 13 in the Premier League (W9 D4), winning each of the last four in a row.
- Brentford kept a clean sheet in their first two Premier League matches but have only managed two more in their subsequent 18 attempts.
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Bobby Firmino with an outrageous backheel finish 🔥 pic.twitter.com/NmGBchPNim
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) January 9, 2022
As iterated earlier, there will be added responsibility on Firmino over the next couple of weeks as Liverpool cope with the absence of their key forwards in Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, who are participating in the Africa Cup of Nations. The 30-year-old hasn’t been at his best this season, with injuries also hampering him.
Even then, he has posted a respectable tally of seven goals and three assists from 17 games in all competitions, but has scored just once in his last five league appearances. Set to lead the attack for the Reds, the 30-year-old will need to find his best form quickly to help his team navigate through this tricky period successfully, without losing further ground in the title race.
Liverpool 2-1 Brentford
Brentford had managed to hold Liverpool to a draw in the reverse fixture, but the circumstances have changed quite a bit now. The Bees have failed to win their last six games on the road in the league and were hammered 4-1 by Southampton in their previous fixture. Liverpool have not been performing all too well themselves and will be hurt by the absence of both Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.
However, playing at Anfield, the Reds usually find a way to up their game a notch, which should be the case on Sunday, especially after having failed to break down a ten-man Arsenal side in midweek. The Hard Tackle predicts Jurgen Klopp’s side to pick up a narrow victory against Brentford.