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Liverpool win away at Brentford

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Liverpool win away at Brentford

Mohamed Salah returned from injury to score

Jurgen Klopp praised an “exceptional” Liverpool performance in defeating Brentford 4-1 at the Gtech Stadium to consolidate their position at the top of the Premier League.

Mohamed Salah scored on his first appearance since returning from a hamstring tear picked up on duty at the Africa Cup of Nations, with Darwin Nunez, Alexis Mac Allister and Cody Gakpo also on target.

But the win came at a cost as Curtis Jones and Diogo Jota were both lost to what looked significant injuries in the first half.

Jones left the stadium on crutches after injuring his ankle and Jota departed the pitch on a stretcher, whilst Nunez was also withdrawn with a knock.

Of Jones’ injury, Klopp said: “We have to see how (bad). We don’t know that yet. The fact Curtis cannot play on tells you it must be something because he would have played on at all costs.

“Diogo looks worse. I didn’t see it back but I heard the pictures didn’t look great. We have to see there.

“Darwin we took off because he said he felt a little something but it was enough for us to push the break, so we took him off.

“The performance level could have dropped (after the injuries), but it was the other way around.

“We played an exceptional game, by far the best game we’ve played at Brentford. Dealing with all the specific situations they create, and being as dominated you can somehow be, be calm in the right moments, be direct in the right moments, use their man-marking, play against the line. All these kind of things. I saw a top game.”

The league leaders went in front 10 minutes before half-time with a fine goal on the counter, Jota’s header setting up Nunez, who finished with a superb chip over the advancing goalkeeper Mark Flekken.

Mac Allister made it two after 55 minutes, showing exquisite close control to beat his defender after being set up by a deft cross from Salah and poking the ball with his toe into the corner.

Liverpool were by now rampant and Salah capped his comeback with a goal of his own, outmuscling Nathan Collins to put the result behind doubt.

Ivan Toney replied for Brentford with his fourth goal since returning from an eight-month ban for gambling offences but the reprieve was momentary, and five minutes from time Gakpo got free in the box and stroked it past Flekken to ensure Liverpool would finish the weekend still on top of the Premier League table.

Liverpool face Luton at Anfield in the league on Wednesday before attentions turn to the Carabao Cup final against Chelsea next Sunday.

Klopp was buoyed by the performance of the returning Salah, but acknowledged the loss of Jones and Jota creates a problem ahead of the trip to Wembley.

“Mo played the first game for weeks,” said Klopp. “He could have had a hat-trick. The goal he scored was absolutely outstanding. Cody’s goal was absolutely outstanding as well.

“You can count the games coming up. It would be helpful if we had a bit more than one (player) for each position. But it’s all fine. That’s the situation and we cannot change it.

“I can’t remember one day here that it was easy, no problems at all. We have problems. We don’t know exactly how big they are. As long as we have 11 players we will go for it.”

Brentford boss Thomas Frank reflected on a game that got away from his side after they conceded the first goal.

“I thought we were brilliant the first 35 minutes, the best team, created a lot of good moments,” he said. “We should have showed more coolness to create bigger chances.

“We concede the first goal, we knew we were facing a team who are probably the best in the world at transitions.

“It was the first goal we’ve conceded from an offensive set-piece in two years.”

Published: by Radio NewsHub

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