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Brentford 1-4 Liverpool

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Brentford 1-4 Liverpool

Brentford 1-4 Liverpool. Mohamed Salah scored on his return from injury as Liverpool beat Brentford to open up a five-point lead at the top of the Premier League.

Darwin Nunez put Liverpool ahead with a superb chip before Alexis Mac Allister poked in a second at the Gtech Community Stadium.

Salah, back from a hamstring problem sustained on Egypt duty at the Africa Cup of Nations, got on the scoresheet with a crisp finish.

Ivan Toney pulled a goal back for Brentford, but Cody Gakpo added the gloss for Liverpool with a late goal.

Manchester City and Arsenal will move back to within two points of Liverpool later on Saturday if they beat Chelsea and Burnley respectively.

The only sour points for Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp were more additions to a lengthening injury list.

Curtis Jones and Diogo Jota limped off before half-time, while Nunez was substituted at the interval.

This was a victory which oozed class as Liverpool, who might have identified this as a potentially tricky assignment, bid to win a 20th league title.

Nunez delivered its standout moment as he broke clear to latch on to Jota’s header and then produced a breathtaking finish.

The Uruguayan audaciously chipped the ball over Mark Flekken as the goalkeeper narrowed the angle.

It is easy to envisage Nunez as the architect of chaos, inferring much of what he does is instinctive rather than calculated.

Yet here he showed here his intelligence and composure to set Liverpool on their way.

Klopp and his coaching staff have undoubtedly polished a player who was a rough diamond when he signed for £64m from Benfica in 2022.

Liverpool’s Anfield showdown with City on 10 March hangs ominously on the horizon.

It feels somewhat inevitable that Nunez and City striker Erling Haaland will be the central characters leading into that encounter.

Salah’s return – he replaced the injured Jota in the 44th minute for his first appearance since New Year’s Day – was a huge plus point for Liverpool.

He initially looked a little rusty, failing to anticipate a Luis Diaz cut-back inside the six-yard box and also dragging a shot wide from a good position.

It was not long, though, until he clicked back into gear.

After the impressive Mac Allister produced a deft finish, Salah effectively made the points safe.

His trickery and pace left were too much for defender Ben Collins, before he angled a finish beyond Flekken, and there was still time for Salah to provide an assist for Gapko.

Salah has now scored and assisted in 30 different Premier League games. Only Wayne Rooney (36), Thierry Henry (32) and Alan Shearer (31) have done so more often.

Despite Salah’s return, Liverpool fans will wait nervously on the fitness for Jones, Jota and Nunez as they joined Trent Alexander-Arnold, Dominik Szoboszlai, Alisson and Thiago Alcantara among those on the injury list.

Klopp says he is not sure on the extent of Jones’ injury, but acknowledged that Jota’s “doesn’t look good at all” and Nunez “felt something” before his withdrawal.

Liverpool could face Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final on 25 February without some of their key personnel.

source – BBC

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