Liverpool ended 2022 on a winning note after an unconvincing 2-1 victory over Leicester City at Anfield. 2023 kicks off with a tougher test in a trip to Thomas Frank’s in-form Brentford. Here’s the match preview. 

The Reds travel to the capital tomorrow night (17:30 GMT kickoff) on the back of a four game winning sequence. Spurs away, Southampton at home, Villa away and Leicester at home have seen twelve points garnered.

It may not have been pretty but it was effective. It is that time of the year where loads of teams will drop points so a significant winning run could see the table change drastically. Victory over Brendan Rodgers’ side, although not aesthetically pleasing, was crucial to keeping the momentum going.

It saw the Reds move to within four points of top four, cutting the gap by half since the resumption of league football following the World Cup break. Maintain this run and who knows where we’ll sit in the table in a few weeks time.

There needs to be an improvement on the level of performance if Brentford are to be turned over tomorrow night infront of their own fans. The Bees have only lost one home league game all season, that coming at the hands of runaway league leaders Arsenal back in September.

They are in fact unbeaten in their last five home and away, and have taken the scalps of Manchester United (4-0 at the Gtech Community Stadium) and Manchester City (2-1 at the Etihad) already this season. They’ve held Chelsea and Spurs to stalemates too and have proven themselves a tough nut to crack.

Thomas Frank’s men boast the joint fourth fewest defeats in the league so far (4 – level with Liverpool and Manchester United) and are enjoying a strong campaign. Star man Ivan Toney has been banging in the goals for fun.

In the corresponding fixture last season, a ding dong battle broke out between these two sides. Ethan Pinnock handed the home side the lead before Diogo Jota levelled before the break. Salah then struck in the second half but Janelt equalised shortly after.

Curtis Jones then belted one home from range to put the Reds ahead again, only for substitute Yoanne Wissa to pull it back level late on. It was a breathless encounter, with Ivan Toney tormenting the Liverpool defence throughout.

The self confessed Liverpool fan is on a roll this season. His tally of 12 league goals is only bettered by Harry Kane and Erling Haaland. He’s scored 11 goals in his last 12 appearances across all competitions. If he’s passed fit to start, expect him to be heavily involved once again.

The Reds will have to be way more clinical upfront than they’ve been recently if they’re to come away with the points. Darwin Nunez netted 7 goals in his last 10 appearances before the World Cup break and it looked for all intents and purposes that he had found his feet.

When he returned from the World Cup to net a brace off the bench against Milan in the Dubai Super Cup, it felt like he was ready to pick up where he left from. It hasn’t gone according to plan since though. He’s missed a whopping 8 big chances in the three games since the break.

Granted he has created most of these chances for himself with his blistering pace and intelligent movement, he still needs to be putting a few away. To not score a single goal from those chances is profligate and wasteful, which is a shame because his all round game deserves a couple of goals.

He has worked his socks off for the team but is stuck in a bit of a rut infront of goal at the minute, one not too dissimilar to the run he suffered after his sending off against Palace. He went six games without a goal before netting away at Arsenal. The goals seemed to flow after that. He badly needs one to go in right now.

If he can find that elusive goal and subsequently confidence boost, the Reds should be confident of claiming all three points. If not, it could be another long night. This should be a fantastic football match no matter what happens with both sides set to have a real go at each other.

Team News

Roberto Firmino is fit to return following a calf injury. There is no definitive word on the inclusion of new signing Cody Gakpo. It’s a race against the clock to get the paperwork through in time. Andy Robertson and Harvey Elliott meanwhile are doubts after picking up knocks last time out.

Curtis Jones remains out, with no real update on what type of injury he’s struggling with or how close he is to a return. James Milner you’d expect to miss out again as he struggles with a hamstring injury. The trio of Arthur Melo, Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz remain long term absentees.

For Brentford, Ivan Toney was stretchered off with a terrible looking knee injury at West Ham. It has since been revealed he avoided any real damage and could be back involved as soon as tomorrow night. Whether he is thrown straight back into the lineup remains to be seen.

Thomas Strakosha, Aaron Hickey, Kristoffer Ajer, Frank Onyeka and Aaron Hickey are all out with various injuries.



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