After more than a week of cup action, Liverpool returned to the Premier League today, locking horns at Anfield with newly promoted Brentford.
With Manchester City now 13 points ahead of Liverpool after their 1-0 triumph over Chelsea yesterday, this match was absolutely crucial for Liverpool to get close to Pep Guardiola's side, who have played 2 more games than the Merseyside club.
Last week's team which played in the 0-0 stalemate mostly retained their places, with only Curtis Jones and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain coming in for James Milner and Takumi Minamino.
With the trio of Sadio Mané, Naby Keita and Mohamed Salah still at the African Cup of Nations, this is the third game out of five where Jurgen Klopp will have 2 out of his lethal front 3 missing.
Liverpool emerged victorious after a relatively quiet affair at Anfield, with goals from Fabinho Tavares, Oxlade-Chamberlain and substitute Minamino.
The win took Liverpool back to second spot, 2 points clear of third placed Chelsea and having a game in hand.
Here are the player ratings!
ALISSON BECKER 7.5
Brentford were hardly dangerous, he did not have much to do today.
TRENT ALEXANDER-ARNOLD 8.5
Absolutely brilliant game, his crosses and passes should be hanged in the Louvre. Also got this 10th assist of the season, four more would break his personal assist record (and the record for defenders) in the Premier League.
JOEL MATIP 8
Yet again, neat and tidy game. His ventures into the final third are becoming a very common occurrence now, one day, one fine day our lanky Cameroonian will be scoring a beautiful solo goal.
VIRGIL VAN DIJK 8
He was not great against Arsenal but picked up himself today. Could have gotten a goal too if he hit the ball order and if Brentford keeper Fernandes wasn't putting on his best Yashin impression.
ANDREW ROBERTSON 8.5
So energetic, so chaotic for the opponents. He was the second Liverpool fullback today to get an assist and it came from a stunning cross from outside the box, Oxlade-Chamberlain just had to head it in. He was not keeping up with the offside line that well once or twice that today, but it didn't prove to be costly
FABINHO TAVARES 9
Let us tell you a fun fact. Liverpool's defensive midfielder, Fabinho Tavares, is Liverpool's top scorer in 2022. Sounds unreal, doesn't it? 3 goals in 3 games, with an absolute rock solid performance in midfield today, Fabinho was flying.
JORDAN HENDERSON 7.5
Words cannot convey how encouraging it was and what a relief it was to see the old Henderson back. He wasn't trying to score by hitting a ball first time and he wasn't trying those first touch pings, he was pressing properly today and cleaning up after the others. Was all over the park.
CURTIS JONES 7.5
Liverpool had a competent midfield on the pitch after a long time. Jones was perhaps trying a bit too hard to score a long ranger, but otherwise he was very good. Was winning balls back and was always looking to press and attack. Absolutely warrants a start against Arsenal (if that game does go ahead).
ALEX OXLADE-CHAMBERLAIN 7
He was frustrating today, his goal was the only thing which got his rating up. His first touch was not good, and he looked tired after the one hour mark. His injury was the cherry on the top of a not so nice cake.
ROBERTO FIRMINO 7
He was also not having a brilliant game, but it was heartwarming to see him gift a goal to compatriot (and birthday boy!) Takumi Minamino who is going through a rough spell. His determination to win back the ball and his tackle in the penalty box was so good.
DIOGO JOTA 6.5
Was mostly unseen today, mostly in the box, and was messing up plays more than often. One of those off days Jota should be shaking off.
TAKUMI MINAMINO 7
Good goal, easy goal. Was getting in good positions too. Couldn't really ask much more from a decent substitute performance.
JAMES MILNER N/A
KAIDE GORDON N/A
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