Liverpool will try to maintain their perfect home league record on Sunday when they welcome a surging Brentford side to Anfield.
The Reds (7-1-3, 24 points) begin the weekend third in the table, three points back of leaders Manchester City, and are coming off their first two-game stretch without a victory in all competitions following Thursday night’s 3-2 UEFA Europa League defeat at Toulouse.
The defeat in France followed a 1-1 draw at newly promoted Luton Town in the league last weekend. But there are major caveats to both results.
Liverpool were clearly the dominant side against Luton, settling for a 1-1 draw after conceding on the counter in the 80th minute and then leveling through Luis Diaz deep in second-half stoppage time.
“I think when you watch it back there is one team who should have won the game, that’s us,” manager Jurgen Klopp said. “We didn’t use our chances. Then you cannot win a game. When we concede a goal, you have to score at least one to get a point, and that’s exactly what happened.”
At Toulouse, Klopp deployed a heavily rotated squad with Liverpool well in command of Group E. The Reds still lead the group by two points and are all but assured a place in the next round with two matches to play.
Diaz’s goal was his third of the league campaign, and first since returning to play amid the kidnapping saga of his father, who was freed Thursday by Colombian guerillas after 13 days in captivity.
Mohamed Salah leads Liverpool with eight goals.
Behind those attackers, Liverpool will be short-handed in midfield with Alexis Mac Allister serving a card-accumulation suspension and Curtis Jones out with a hamstring issue.
Ninth-place Brentford (4-3-4, 16 points) has won three in a row and has enjoyed moderate success against the Reds since earning Premier League promotion three seasons ago.
But their points earned have come exclusively in London. At Anfield, the Bees have been dealt a pair of league defeats. It’s one of only two Premier League away grounds where they’ve failed to score in multiple league trips.
“They are an unbelievable team at Anfield, which is one of the most difficult away grounds to go to,” Brentford manager Thomas Frank said. “As always, we trust in ourselves and believe in ourselves, but we know it’ll be very difficult.”
Frank’s squad has been coping with the long-term suspension of striker Ivan Toney, who is banned until January due to illegal gambling activity. But others have picked up the slack of late, with the Bees scoring eight times in their three wins.
Bryan Mbeumo scored twice in that stretch to bring his team-leading total to six goals. Five others also scored for the Bees, plus an own goal received in a 3-2 win to West Ham last weekend.
–Field Level Media