It was back to winning ways in the Premier League for Liverpool on Sunday afternoon as they ran out 3-0 winners against Brentford at Anfield.
The home side started with high intensity, playing quickly in transition before getting the ball to Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson on the flanks for crossing opportunities. And it was through the air where the first goal came from. The Bees were warned earlier in the game from set pieces when Joel Matip came close to opening the scoring, but they couldn’t do anything about Fabinho who adjusted his feet well before heading home before the break.
Jurgen Klopp’s side continued to dominate after half-time and showed patience when probing the Brentford defence, but the away side almost levelled it with a rare chance when Bryan Mbeumo struck narrowly past Alisson’s post just before the hour mark.
The Reds raised their level after Brentford’s warning shot, with the crowd able to relax more when Robertson’s pinpoint cross was headed home by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, before neat play between Roberto Firmino and Takumi Minamino saw the Japan international score after coming on as a substitute to put the game beyond reach.
Liverpool were clinical with crosses from both set pieces and in open play. Robertson and Alexander-Arnold were standout performers with their deliveries causing all sorts of problems for their opponents.
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The Reds will have to wait to see the extent of Oxlade-Chamberlain’s injury after he was forced off after challenging for a ball just moments after he had scored his first goal in over a year.
Manager rating out of 10
Jurgen Klopp 7 – A strong home performance and a positive team selection ensured Liverpool can at least have some hope in a difficult title race, and the comfortable display allowed Kaide Gordon to come on for his Premier League debut.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Alisson 7 — The Brazil international didn’t have much to do with Brentford’s first shot on target coming courtesy of Ivan Toney late into the second half, though he did control his box well and was quick to distribute the ball.
DF Andy Robertson 9 — The 27-year-old looked back to his best with tireless defending and constant runs up the left flank, complimented by dangerous deliveries that eventually provided an assist for the second goal.
DF Virgil van Dijk 7 — A commanding display from the centre-back saw Jurgen Klopp’s defence rarely flustered, with van Dijk quick to close down any potentially dangerous situations.
DF Joel Matip 7 — Matip was unlucky not to score as he proved to be a threat from deliveries into the box, and he was as positive as ever when stepping forward with the ball, picking the right pass to transition the ball past Brentford’s midfield.
DF Trent Alexander-Arnold 8 — An assist for Fabinho’s header and solid all-round display caps off a strong performance from the 23-year-old who regularly stretched the play, providing an out ball for his midfielders and finding space in shooting areas.
MF Fabinho 9 — Yet another goal for Fabinho who was coming into this clash after recently scoring twice in the FA Cup match against Shrewsbury Town. The 28-year-old was instrumental in the midfield, breaking up play quickly and passing with incisiveness to get his side into promising areas.
MF Curtis Jones 7 — The academy graduate played with confidence and he was close to producing one of the goals of his career had he executed the shot better, slaloming through multiple Brentford challengers before his effort didn’t trouble the goalkeeper enough.
MF Jordan Henderson 7 — Liverpool’s captain organised the midfield well and reacted astutely to Brentford’s press, though his crosses could have been more accurate from wide areas.
FW Diogo Jota 6 — Came close to scoring twice with a first half header that eased over the bar before hitting the woodwork with the score at 1-0,
FW Roberto Firmino 8 — The frontman looked to be steps ahead of the Brentford defence with clever movement and link up play, and his assist was deserved in a display which he looked like he enjoyed on the day.
FW Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain 7 — Oxlade-Chamberlain took calculated risks and it eventually paid off when his run was found by Robertson’s cross. His game will unfortunately be tainted by the injury he picked up.
Takumi Minamino (Oxlade-Chamberlain, 74″) N/R — It took just minutes for Minamino to find the scoresheet, placing the ball past the goalkeeper after some quick passing with Firmino.
James Milner (Firmino, 78″) N/R — On for the final stage of the game to help see out the performance in a professional display from Klopp’s side.
Kaide Gordon (Jota 82″) N/R — A Premier League debut for the 17-year-old who had a chance to score in front of the Kop, but his finish looked too conservative and drew a comfortable save.