Liverpool ease to 4-1 win over Brentford to maintain title charge


Is Nicol worried about Liverpool's injuries vs. Brentford?

Steve Nicol reacts to Mohamed Salah's return and the injuries Liverpool picked up in their win vs. Brentford.

Mohamed Salah scored and provided an assist on his return from injury as Liverpool kept their foot on the throttle in the Premier League title race with a 4-1 win at Brentford on Saturday.

Darwin Nunez scored with an exquisite chip to open the scoring, bursting through on goal before deftly lifting the ball over a helpless Mark Flekken in the Brentford net.

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Goals after the break from Alexis Mac Allister and Salah effectively ended the contest. It is the first time Jurgen Klopp has won away at Brentford.

Ivan Toney pulled one back for Brentford, but Cody Gakpo grabbed Liverpool's fourth to wrap up a comfortable win for the visitors.

Mohamed Salah is one of four players to have scored more than 10 goals for Liverpool in all competitions this season.
Photo by Adam Davy/PA Images via Getty Images

There was a sour note for Klopp, who was already dealing with a lengthy injury list, as Curtis Jones and Diogo Jota were both taken off in the first half, while Nunez failed to emerge after half-time.

The Liverpool manager, who would have been impressed with the ease with which his side negotiated a potentially tricky away game, was already without a number of key players through injury including goalkeeper Alisson Becker, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Dominik Szoboszlai.

"That's really not good. But we can't change that anymore," Klopp said to reporters when asked about the latest injuries.

"In these situations the performance level could have dropped, but it was the other way around. We played an exceptional game. By far the best game since I've been at Liverpool here at Brentford."

He cut a frustrated figure on the touchline as Brentford snapped into challenges and forced Liverpool back in the early stages, with Toney spurning a couple of chances. But it was the visitors who broke the deadlock thanks to Nunez's fine finish in the 35th minute.

Salah, making his return from an injury suffered at the Africa Cup of Nations, came off the bench to replace Jota and had two chances either side of half-time to add his name to the scoresheet.

He failed to convert a dangerous cross from Luis Díaz that bobbled up in front of him and then straight after the interval stabbed wide after running through with only the keeper to beat.

The Egypt international was the creator for Liverpool's second, however in the 55th minute, as he cut in from the right and fed Mac Allister whose first touch took him past the last man before he stabbed it into the net.

Salah was on target 13 minutes later when a long ball forward from stand-in keeper Caoimhin Kelleher was headed on by Gakpo. Salah pounced as the Brentford defence stood still, beating Nathan Collins before finishing left-footed.

Toney pulled one back in the 75th minute, firing home on the rebound after Sergio Reguilón's shot was superbly saved by Kelleher. But it proved little more than a consolation, and Liverpool ensured there would be no late drama when Gakpo added a fourth in the 86th minute.

The Netherlands forward, who replaced Nunez at half-time, was fed through on goal by Diaz's pass and finished clinically with his left foot.

The victory lifted Liverpool to 57 points, with Manchester City in second and third-placed Arsenal, who can both reduce the deficit later on Saturday, each on 52. Brentford stay 14th with 25 points. 

"I thought we were brilliant in the first 35 minutes and created a lot of good moments, we should have shown quality or coolness but then we conceded the first goal," Brentford boss Thomas Frank said, whose side stayed 14th with 25 points.

"If you want to beat the best in the Premier League you need to be perfect. Unfortunately today we weren't."