EPL

Liverpool 3-0 Brentford: Oxlade-Chamberlain on target as Reds go above Chelsea

By Sports Desk January 16, 2022

Liverpool moved second in the Premier League with a 3-0 victory over Brentford at Anfield.

These two sides played out a thrilling six-goal draw in the reverse fixture but Sunday's contest was decidedly more one-sided, as Jurgen Klopp's men showed a good reaction to their goalless draw with 10-man Arsenal in the EFL Cup.

Fabinho headed in a first-half opener before Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's first league goal of the season and a tap-in from Takumi Minamino sealed the points in the closing stages.

Virgil van Dijk went closest to breaking the deadlock in the opening half-hour, his attempt following a corner brilliantly turned away from the bottom-right corner by Alvaro Fernandez.

The hosts created little else but gifted Brentford some openings with some slack play at the back, with Ivan Toney shooting narrowly wide after a poor Joel Matip clearance.

An offside flag then intervened in another promising Brentford break, and they were behind three minutes later, Fabinho nodding in at the far post after Trent Alexander-Arnold's inswinging corner had bounced through a crowded box.

Bryan Mbeumo fired just past Alisson's left-hand post at the start of the second half, while at the other end, Diogo Jota smashed a shot off the base of the post and Fernandez smothered Roberto Firmino's rebound.

Fernandez again denied Jota when the Portugal forward burst into the box, but Liverpool's pressure eventually told, Oxlade-Chamberlain diving at the back post to head home Andy Robertson's cross from the left.

Firmino then pounced on Brentford's sluggish attempt to pass out from the back before laying the ball off to Minamino to slot home a birthday goal.

What does it mean? Liverpool looking like Manchester City's sole challengers

City's 1-0 win over Chelsea put them 12 points ahead of the European champions at the top of the table, and Liverpool's win here sent them into second place.

Should they win their game in hand over Pep Guardiola's side, the Reds will cut the gap at the summit to eight points – hardly small, but not beyond their means.

They are now arguably the only side who can mount any sort of threat to City's title bid.

Ox in the box

Deployed in Mohamed Salah's usual position on the right of the attack, Oxlade-Chamberlain showed the kind of efficiency in his play to make the Egypt star proud.

While he had the fewest touches (38) of any starting Liverpool player, he created a joint-high three chances and showed great determination to meet Robertson's cross.

Bees lose their sting

After Liverpool's struggle to break down Arsenal in their previous game, Brentford might have viewed this as a chance to build on their impressive performance in the home fixture.

As it was, they failed to muster an attempt on target until a tame Toney effort in injury time as they slumped to a fourth defeat in five league games.

What's next?

Liverpool face Arsenal in the second leg of the EFL Cup semi-final on Thursday before a league trip to Crystal Palace in a week's time. Brentford have two full days to recover before the visit of Manchester United.

Related items

  • Philippe Clement urges Rangers to embrace intense environment of run-in Philippe Clement urges Rangers to embrace intense environment of run-in

    Philippe Clement has told his off-form Rangers players they must embrace an intense environment where results dictate whether they go to “heaven or hell”.

    The Gers were widely lauded after a consistent run of form that saw them wipe out Celtic’s eight-point advantage at the top of the cinch Premiership to briefly take over at the summit in February.

    However, they go into this Sunday’s Scottish Gas Scottish Cup semi-final against on-song Hearts having been ferociously criticised after slip-ups away to Ross County and Dundee over the past week left them with just two wins from their last eight games in all competitions and their title hopes hanging by a thread.

    “If you win 10 games in a row, you have more belief than when you lose two times but this is Rangers, this is a club where you always have to fight,” said Clement.

    “Every point you lose, it’s like you’re going to hell. That’s this world, and that’s good. That’s also the challenge and it’s interesting to see which players can live in that way.

    “But it’s an exciting place to be because on the other side you can go also to heaven when you win games and when you win trophies.

    “In other teams, where it’s not so important to win points or when it’s not something dramatic when you lose points, you cannot go to heaven also because those are not the clubs that win trophies. This is something you need to embrace.”

    Clement insists he is comfortable with the intense scrutiny and criticism he has faced amid Rangers’ recent “bumps in the road”.

    “I know it’s part of the job,” he said. “I’ve been now more than 30 years in this world and I’ve been buried a lot of times as a player and as a manager, so I know what I’m doing in a club. I know what I’m doing in this club. I know we are on the right road together.”

    Clement described the demands of being in charge of Rangers as similar to managing former club Brugge in his homeland.

    “Winning, becoming champion, is the only thing that counts,” he said. “But I’ve been like that all my life. There is nobody who can be more critical than me because I want to win everything.

    “Everybody who knows me from when I was a child, whether it was basketball, tennis or table tennis or whatever sport, I want to win. I made a lot of fights with my wife about that, that I wanted that mentality with my children because I did it with them also.

    “If I played a game with them and they were three years old, I wanted to win. That is the mentality that is necessary in a club like this, but you need to embrace that.

    “It’s also because of that that you can be successful and you can win trophies and have these exciting moments that will stay with you for the rest of your life. That is what Rangers is about and that’s why I love to be here.”

    Clement galvanised Rangers earlier in the season after replacing Michael Beale in October.

    Asked what he would say to supporters who fear the resurgence is fizzling out, the Belgian said: “The same thing I said in October. I think this team since October did improve in results, in attitude and resilience, and in six months they proved it several times.

    “So it’s there, they can do it. They’ve shown it several times with quality. That’s what they need to do again. So, yes, my belief is there 200 per cent.”

  • Hamstring operation puts Nathan Patterson’s Euro 2024 hopes in doubt Hamstring operation puts Nathan Patterson’s Euro 2024 hopes in doubt

    Nathan Patterson’s Euro 2024 hopes have suffered a major blow after the Scotland and Everton right-back was told he needs an operation.

    Patterson has been ruled out for the rest of the domestic season after suffering a hamstring injury against Chelsea on Monday.

    The news will be a serious concern for Scotland head coach Steve Clarke, who also has a major doubt over Brentford right-back Aaron Hickey’s fitness.

    Everton manager Sean Dyche said: “Patto will be out for the season, he will need surgery. It’s a very unfortunate injury. We’re disappointed in that one, for him as much as us as well.

    “It’s a shame for Patto, he came on and looked sharp the other night, he’s been training really well, just getting back to where I think he can be – because I think he’s a very good player – and he’s very unfortunate with a really awkward fall.

    “He won’t make another game this season, I’m sure.”

    When asked about Patterson’s hopes of playing in the European Championship, Dyche said: “I don’t know on the medical side of the times other than this season, as in playing for us.

    “But he will have surgery, so we hope that goes well and then it’s how quickly it settles, I’m sure.”

    Hickey has not played since October – he also suffered a hamstring injury at Stamford Bridge – and is unlikely to play for Brentford again this season, but has not given up hope of making the Euros.

    Celtic right-back Anthony Ralston has been in recent squads while versatile Bristol City player Ross McCrorie, who has featured at right-back in his career, was also a late call-up recently.

    Clarke suffered a major blow earlier in the week when it was revealed that in-form Bologna midfielder Lewis Ferguson had suffered cruciate ligament damage, ruling him out of the summer tournament in Germany.

    There was better news for Clarke from Norwich this week when it was revealed Grant Hanley is expected to return to training next week.

    The defender pulled out of the Scotland squad for recent friendlies against Netherlands and Northern Ireland after suffering a setback following his recent return from a long-term Achilles injury.

  • Wolves v Arsenal: ‘What we still have to play for is beautiful’ – Arteta Wolves v Arsenal: ‘What we still have to play for is beautiful’ – Arteta

    Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta set out to remind his team that they still have something “beautiful” to play for despite their Champions League exit.

    The Gunners slipped out of UEFA’s flagship club competition in midweek when they went down 1-0 to Bayern Munich, losing 3-2 on aggregate.

    That defeat followed on from a 2-0 loss to Aston Villa last Sunday – a reverse that significantly dented Arsenal’s title hopes, with the Gunners now two points behind Manchester City who, after this weekend, will have a game in hand.

    Arsenal face Wolves on Saturday and, with City in FA Cup action, a win would see them move back to the top of the table, at least temporarily, so Arteta offered a reminder that all is not lost.

    “I can guarantee you we are fully focused on Wolves and everybody's lifted,” he said following the loss in Munich.

    “What we still have to play is beautiful and I said before, it's time to be next to our players and in this moment, not when you win 10 in a row and a draw, that's easy to prize our players and to be behind them and to say really nice things. The moment is now to be next to them.”

    On Friday, in his pre-match press conference, Arteta added: “As an experience, [the Champions League was] the best one.

    “I am now fully focused on the times ahead of us. We are now behind Manchester City and will give it a good go. The context is clear. If we win we are top of the league.”

    Wolves sit 11th, though they could do with snapping a four-game winless streak in order to get their European hopes back on track.

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Wolves – Matheus Cunha

    Cunha has been involved in nine goals in his last nine Premier League games, scoring six and assisting three. His 11 goals overall this season is the fourth most by a Wolves player in a single Premier League campaign after Raul Jimenez (17 in 2019-20, 13 in 2018-19) and Steven Fletcher (12 in 2011-12).

    Arsenal – Bukayo Saka

    Saka has been involved in eight goals in his last seven Premier League away games, scoring seven and assisting one. His 13 away goal involvements overall this term (eight goals, five assists) is the most by an Arsenal player in a single Premier League campaign since Alexis Sanchez’s 20 in 2016-17.

    MATCH PREDICTION: ARSENAL WIN

    Arsenal lost a Premier League game for the first time in 2024 against Villa last time out. Since the start of last season, only twice have the Gunners suffered consecutive league defeats, doing so in May 2023 (v Brighton and Nottingham Forest) and December this season (v West Ham and Fulham).

    Wolves are winless in their last four Premier League games (D2 L2), though they have won their last two at Molineux against sides starting the day in the top two of the table, beating Man City 2-1 in September and Spurs by the same score in November.

    Arsenal have scored in their last 32 meetings with Wolves in all competitions.

    Wolves have now lost each of their last five against the Gunners, failing to score in both home defeats in that run.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Wolves – 21.5%

    Arsenal – 51.2%

    Draw – 27.3%

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.