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Salah stars on return as leaders Liverpool beat Brentford

Mohamed Salah scored and assisted off the bench on his return from injury in a 4-1 win at Brentford to temporarily send Liverpool five points clear at the top of the Premier League as Jurgen Klopp’s side suffered a double injury blow.

Darwin Nunez’s chip finished off a devastating counter for Liverpool’s opener late in the first half but they did, however, lose Diogo Jota, stretchered off, and Curtis Jones to injury either side of the goal.

Alexis Mac Allister celebrates after scoring Liveprool's second goal at Brentford
Image: Alexis Mac Allister celebrates after scoring Liveprool’s second goal at Brentford

Salah replaced Jota and found his feet after the break, setting up Alexis Mac Allister for Liverpool’s second before adding their third as the leaders took charge of the second half. Ivan Toney got one back for Brentford but an error from Nathan Collins handed Cody Gakpo Liverpool’s fourth to end the game.

Diogo Jota is helped onto a stretcher after suffering an injury in Liverpool's clash with Brentford
Image: Diogo Jota is helped onto a stretcher after suffering an injury in Liverpool’s clash with Brentford

Liverpool will nervously wait to learn the extent of those injuries ahead of next Sunday’s Carabao Cup final against Chelsea at Wembley, with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Dominik Szoboszlai and Alisson already on the injury list. They also face Luton on Wednesday in the league.

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Brentford: Flekken (7), Roerslev (5), Collins (4), Ajer (5), Mee (5), Reguilon (5), Norgaard (5), Janelt (5), Jensen (6), Maupay (5), Toney (6).

Subs: Wissa (5), Onyeka (5), Lewis-Potter (5), Damsgaard (5), Ghoddos (5).

Liverpool: Kelleher (7), Bradley (7), Van Dijk (7), Konate (7), Robertson (7), Endo (7), Mac Allister (8), Jones (5), Jota (7), Nunez (8), Diaz (7).

Subs: Gravenberch (6), Salah (9), Gakpo (7), Gomez (5), Elliott (5).

Player of the match: Mohamed Salah.

How Liverpool overcame Brentford

Darwin Nunez gives Liverpool the lead at Brentford with a delicate chipped finish
Image: Darwin Nunez scored his ninth league goal of the season before being taken off at half time

The onus was on Liverpool to come out of the traps in west London to keep up the pace at the top of the Premier League, but it was Brentford that had the early running. Vitaly Janelt dragged wide early before Ivan Toney spurned a few good chances.

Liverpool were menacing despite being second best and perhaps would have taken the lead had Mark Flekken not kept out Conor Bradley and Jota with a fine double save. Brentford were unperturbed and kept pushing, but came to rue their wastefulness.

Team news headlines

  • Mohamed Salah started on the bench for Liverpool on his return from injury.
  • Goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher deputised for Alisson (hamstring), while Conor Bradley started in place of Trent Alexander-Arnold (knee).
  • Ibrahima Konate returned in defence for Liverpool after serving a suspension, replacing Jarell Quansah.
  • Brentford’s only change was Kristoffer Ajer standing in for the injured Ethan Pinnock (annkle).

Liverpool’s prolific frontline delivered again as Jota’s perfectly-weighted header sent Nunez through on goal after Virgil van Dijk hoofed clear and the Uruguay forward punished Brentford for committing too many bodies forward with a delightful chipped finish.

Darwin Nunez celebrates after chipping Liverpool in front against Brentford
Image: Darwin Nunez celebrates after chipping Liverpool in front against Brentford

The opener was bookended by injuries to Jones and Jota, however, with the Portugal international taken off on a stretcher, adding to Liverpool’s growing injury list just a week out from their Carabao Cup final against Chelsea at Wembley.

Salah, the replacement for Jota, appeared primed to double Liverpool’s lead in first-half stoppage time following a surging break by Luis Diaz until a deflection saw the ball ricochet off his foot in the box. Perhaps some rust in his first game after nearly a month out.

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The Soccer Saturday panel react to Darwin Nunez’s chip against Brentford

Nunez was replaced at half-time by Cody Gakpo, but it was unclear if this was due to an injury or simply a precaution. There was then a scare for Toney, who fell awkwardly on his knee, although the Brentford striker was able to run it off.

There were more signs of rust for Salah as he fired wide when through on goal after Van Dijk’s headed clearance. His first touch was sublime, but his second let him down as he got his finish all wrong. The Egyptian would more than make up for it, however.

His precision pass sliced through Brentford to pick out Mac Allister in the box, who nutmegged Collins before doubling Liverpool’s lead on 55 minutes. It wasn’t before too long that Salah wrestled his way past Collins to seemingly put the game to bed.

Cody Gakpo scores Liverpool's fourth goal at Brentford
Image: Cody Gakpo scores Liverpool’s fourth goal at Brentford

Brentford responded with a goal from Toney on the rebound, his first against Liverpool, after a sublime stop from Caoimhin Kelleher to keep out Sergio Reguilon’s shot. But Collins, once again, was at fault as he missed the ball to allow Gakpo to score Liverpool’s fourth.

What’s next?

Brentford have two Premier League games in quick succession. On Tuesday, they travel to Manchester City; kick-off 7.30pm. On Monday February 26, Brentford will travel to West Ham on Monday Night Football, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 8pm.

Monday 26th February 6:30pm Kick off 8:00pm

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Liverpool also play another Premier League game in midweek, hosting Luton on Wednesday; kick-off 7.30pm. They will then play in the Carabao Cup final on Sunday February 25, taking on Chelsea at Wembley, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 3pm.

Sunday 25th February 2:20pm Kick off 3:00pm

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