Liverpool kept their slim Premier League title ambitions alive with a 3-0 win over Brentford at Anfield, closing the gap to Manchester City to 11 points, having played a game less than the defending champions.
Jürgen Klopp was taking charge of his 350th match in charge of Liverpool, and his side were rather understandably lacking their usual cutting edge, with star strikers Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané away on Africa Cup of Nations duty. The hosts were bombarding the Brentford box with crosses, but very few were resulting in dangerous moments. Álvaro Fernández was only properly tested by Virgil Van Dijk, scurrying back to his line to deflect the Dutchman’s effort off the line. The ‘Bees’ dogged resistance was finally broken as a corner somehow found its way through a sea of bodies to the back post, where Fabinho was waiting to nod home.
Liverpool struggled to exert the same level of control that had seen them have over 70% possession before HT. Thomas Frank’s side were starting to offer more of an attacking threat, with Bryan Mbeumo coming desperately close to equalising. There remained plenty of reasons for caution, though, as Diogo Jota reminded the visitors when his effort rattled the post moments later.
Anfield’s anxiety was finally cured in the 69th minute as the hosts doubled their lead. Andy Robertson’s cross to the back post was perfectly weighted, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain arrived to finish the game as a contest. Takumi Minamino added a third, just three minutes after coming off the bench. Brentford lost the ball in their own box trying to play out from the back, leaving the Japanese international with a tap-in. A crucial victory for Liverpool ends a four-game winless run in the Premier League, while Brentford are now without victory in their last seven road trips, conceding at least twice in each of them.