Match Report: Brentford 3-3 Liverpool – Salah joins 100 club for Reds but Bees rock Klopp’s leaders

Mohamed Salah scored one of six goals at Brentford
Mohamed Salah scored one of six goals at Brentford

Mohamed Salah hit the 100-goal mark for Liverpool in the Premier League but battling Brentford cut short the celebrations by snatching a point in a 3-3 thriller.

This harebrained contest between recent champions and new additions to the elite was a serving of the English top flight at its most exhilarating, although Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp may take issue with his team’s defending.

Ethan Pinnock and Diogo Jota traded early goals at the Brentford Community Stadium, before Salah and Vitaly Janelt did likewise early in the second half.

Curtis Jones then scored with a 25-yard blast, helped by a slight deflection, but Yoane Wissa had the final say, his clever finish in the 82nd minute meaning Liverpool go just one point clear at the top of the table rather than three.

Salah looked sure to get his landmark goal in Liverpool colours in the seventh minute when he poked Jota’s pass under goalkeeper David Raya, only for Kristoffer Ajer to produce a sublime goal-line clearance.

Ivan Toney headed off target and Frank Onyeka fired over while stretching as the hosts challenged their illustrious visitors, before Bryan Mbeumo became the second player denied by a clearance off the line, Joel Matip getting back in time.

Those were warning shots, but Liverpool were hit by a sting from the Bees when Pinnock put Brentford ahead in the 27th minute. The defender got on the end of a clever free-kick routine, with Toney’s deft flick allowing Pinnock to slide in at the far post.

Liverpool were level four minutes later, Jota powerfully heading a first-time cross from the right by Jordan Henderson past Raya. Jones rattled the left post from 22 yards before the break, Raya saving brilliantly as Jota reacted to the rebound.

Salah made no mistake in the 54th minute, however, slotting in Fabinho’s excellent pass over the top. He was declared offside initially, but replays showed he was not beyond the last defender.

Brentford were not done, and when Pontus Jansson smashed a shot against the Liverpool bar, Janelt was on hand to head in at the second attempt, beating Virgil van Dijk to the ball.

Jones silenced the home crowd with a thumping drive that took a flick off Ajer, Liverpool going 3-2 ahead in the 67th minute.

Salah floated the ball a foot over the bar when he should have fired in Liverpool’s fourth, and it proved costly when Wissa won the race for the ball in a scramble and chipped over Alisson.

Toney thought he had won it in the 87th minute when his sizzling strike beat Alisson, but he had stepped a yard offside.

What does it mean? Brighton to go top? 

An extraordinary game ended in a warm embrace between Klopp and Brentford counterpart Thomas Frank. It would take a hard-hearted person not to have enjoyed such a feast, and both coaches surely appreciated it as a spectacle.

However, Klopp must be concerned by how easily his team were picked open. Liverpool led the shot count 16-12, but in terms of expected goals it finished 2.66 to 2.37 in Brentford’s favour, indicating the London side had marginally the better chances. Although Liverpool top the table by one point, Brighton will be the new Premier League leaders if they beat Crystal Palace on Monday.

Busy Bees 

Brentford’s passing accuracy was just 65.75 per cent in the first half, the fourth lowest in the Premier League this season, yet they matched Liverpool in many aspects, particularly their enthusiasm but most tellingly in the goals column.

Winning 53.7 per cent of duels across the 90 minutes helped them, with that metric typically decided by small margins and often telling on the outcome. Liverpool had 67.4 per cent of possession across the piece, but they failed to make that count.

Regret for Salah 

Salah, as well as reaching 100 league goals for Liverpool, equalled Steven Gerrard’s haul of 13 in the capital, a club best in the Premier League era. But he will feel he should have had a 14th too, and so may Klopp.

Salah was highly casual about the late chance that came his way, and had he buried it the game was won. Instead, Brentford had a lifeline, and they soon got their reward for a performance of relentless energy and abundant quality.

Key Opta facts

– Brentford remain winless in their last eight matches against Liverpool in all competitions (D2 L6), despite the Bees netting as many goals in this fixture (3) as they did in the previous seven meetings.
– Liverpool conceded three or more goals in a Premier League away game versus a newly promoted side for the first time since January 2016 against Norwich City (won 5-4).
– Salah has scored 100 goals in 151 Premier League games for Liverpool, reaching his century in fewer appearances than any other player in the club’s history.
– Only Alan Shearer for Blackburn (124 games), Harry Kane for Tottenham (138) and Sergio Aguero for Man City (147) have reached 100 Premier League goals for a single club in fewer appearances than Salah has for Liverpool.
– Brentford’s eight Premier League goals this season have been scored by seven different players – excluding own goals, only Chelsea (10) and Manchester City (9) have had more different scorers in the competition this term.

What’s next? 

Liverpool head to Portugal to face Porto in the Champions League group stage on Tuesday, before they tackle Manchester City in the Premier League next Sunday. Brentford travel across London next weekend for a Sunday clash at West Ham.

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