Liverpool welcome Brentford to Anfield on Sunday, hoping to overcome the loss of three key players and close the gap to Manchester City
Liverpool hope to keep the pressure on Manchester City in the Premier League title race, as Brentford travel to Anfield on Sunday afternoon.
The Reds will have to cope without a trio of key first-team players, with Mohamed Salah, Naby Keita and Sadio Mane all away representing their countries at the African Nations Cup. The likes of Takumi Minamino and Curtis Jones deputised in the Carabao Cup semi-final on Thursday, but couldn’t find a way past a stubborn Arsenal despite controlling 80% of possession.
Brentford’s form has lurched from good to bad on multiple occasions this season, but they come into the game with a 12 point cushion on the relegation zone, which every Bees fan would have snapped your hand off for, if offered at the start of the campaign.
Thomas Frank’s side know there’s still a long way to go yet though, with games against Manchester United, Wolves, Manchester City and Arsenal on the horizon and having just shipped four at Southampton in a disappointing display.
Barring any late COVID outbreaks or another batch of false positives, Liverpool have four definite absentees that won’t be involved in Brentford’s first ever top flight visit to Anfield. Thiago Alcantara, Divock Origi, Harvey Elliot and Nathaniel Phillips are the quad of injured players, with Origi and Elliot returning to full training in the next week.
Brentford have plenty of worries too, with six missing for the long trip north. Josh Dasilva, Frank Onyeka, Julian Jeanvier, Charlie Goode, Mathias Jorgensen and David Raya will all sit this one out, but Rico Henry could return after injury.
When the sides met earlier this season, it was one of the most entertaining games of the campaign so far, with the spoils eventually shared in a 3-3 draw. Jurgen Klopp was full of praise for how the Bees approached the game, and a late equaliser from Yoan Wissa ensured the home side on that occasion got something for their efforts.
That was one of just 16 occasions these two sides have ever met, and you have to go all the way back to 1938 for the last time Brentford beat Liverpool, running out 2-1 winners over a Liverpool side that featured Matt Busby.
Liverpool take on Brentford at Anfield on Sunday, January 16th. Kick-off is at 2pm.