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10 key things to know ahead of Brentford vs. Liverpool

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Liverpool make the trip to Brentford in the Premier League on Saturday evening, looking to continue their excellent start to the season.

The Reds saw off Crystal Palace last weekend before beating Norwich in the League Cup, as things continue to go swimmingly in 2021/22.

Next up is Saturday’s maiden Premier League clash with newly-promoted Brentford, with Thomas Frank’s side set to provide a stern test.

Here are 10 things to know ahead of an intriguing match-up.

 

1. Bees make impressive start

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK - Wednesday, July 16, 2014: Brondby IF's head coach Thomas Frank - now Brentford manager - during a preseason friendly match against Liverpool at Brøndby Stadion. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

If Liverpool’s midweek opponents Norwich are already in dire straits at the bottom of the table, Brentford have made an excellent start to life in the top-flight.

The Bees have accumulated eight points from their opening five matches, starting off with a memorable win at home to Arsenal.

Last weekend’s 2-0 triumph at Wolves was also a standout result – they won 7-0 against Oldham on Tuesday, too – and current evidence suggests they will do enough to beat the drop.

It’s still early, days though.

 

2. Frank working wonders

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK - Wednesday, July 16, 2014: Brondby IF's head coach Thomas Frank - now Brentford manager - during a preseason friendly match against Liverpool at Brøndby Stadion. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

If Jurgen Klopp is worshipped at Liverpool, Frank finds himself in a similar position at Brentford.

The 47-year-old has worked wonders in west London since taking charge in 2018, taking them into the Championship playoffs in 2019/20 and going one better last season.

Not only that, but Frank has done it all in style, adopting a high-octane, ball-playing approach that draws comparison with Klopp’s.

This will be his biggest test in management to date – expect plenty of energy on the touchline on Saturday.

 

3. Ex-Red Canos in the ranks

2FY1MY9 File photo dated 05-12-2020 of Brentford's Henrik Dalsgaard (left) and Sergi Canos. Issue date: Thursday May 27, 2021.

Sergi Canos didn’t pull up any trees in a Liverpool shirt, with his sole appearance for the club coming against West Brom back in 2015/16.

The Spaniard didn’t allow his Anfield disappointment to affect his progress, though, and he has carved out an excellent career for himself at Brentford, these days playing as their right wing-back in a 3-5-2.

Still only 24, Canos has scored 33 goals and provided 31 assists in 214 games for the Bees, arguably making him one of their best players of the last decade.

He is sure to start this weekend and Liverpool must beware that dreaded curse of an ex-player coming back to haunt their former club.

 

4. Who’s missing for Liverpool?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 18, 2021: Liverpool's Thiago Alcantara is treated for an injury during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Crystal Palace FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

There is another new injury to report after the Norwich game after Naby Keita picked up a knock after kicking the ground in the first half.

Liverpool are also still without Harvey Elliott and Thiago, with the latter not recovering from the calf issue he suffered against Crystal Palace and missing until next month’s international break.

The hope is that he will be back in the near future, but last season showed us that a short-term problem for him can suddenly become several months on the sidelines!

Roberto Firmino could be involved after returning to training this week, while Trent Alexander-Arnold and James Milner have recovered from injury.

 

5. Trent’s back, so what’s the expected XI?

Roberto Firmino of Liverpool celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 0-2 - Norwich City, 2021

The positives are indeed that Liverpool can call upon the services of Trent again, after the 22-year-old missed the last two matches – a major boost for Klopp.

He will almost certainly start at right-back – that will no doubt come as a relief to Milner! – while Andy Robertson could be preferred to the in-form Kostas Tsimikas.

Joel Matip is expected to come in for Ibrahima Konate, while Milner and Curtis Jones will battle for a starting berth alongside Fabinho and Jordan Henderson.

Predicted LFC XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Jones; Salah, Mane, Jota.

 

6. New stadium for Liverpool fans to enjoy

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 18, 2021: Liverpool supporters' banner "Mentality Monsters" on the Spion Kop before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Crystal Palace FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 3-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

This is Liverpool’s first-ever meeting with Brentford in the Premier League – they haven’t faced each other in any competition since March 1989, when the Reds won 4-0 in an FA Cup quarter-final tie at Anfield.

Not only that, but those travelling to London on Saturday have a brand-new stadium to look forward to sampling on an away day.

The Brentford Community Stadium was unveiled last season and is a highly impressive arena, seating 17,250 people but providing an atmosphere that sounds like double that amount.

The Bees’ new home could be at its most raucous for the visit of Liverpool, so Klopp and his players need to be prepared.

 

7. Toney the danger man

Brentford are an expertly-drilled outfit who rely on a strong team ethic over individual brilliance, but Ivan Toney is one to watch this weekend.

The 25-year-old has been a fantastic signing for the Bees, netting 35 times in just 57 appearances, including 33 in the Championship last season.

Toney is also proving that he isn’t a striker who can’t cut it in the Premier League, already scoring twice in five matches in 2021/22.

His physical prowess, pace and fantastic close control could give Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk a stern test.

 

8. Klopp hails “outstanding” Minamino

Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Klopp was full of praise for Takumi Minamino, whose double against Norwich suggested he could be a useful figure this season:

“Taki really is an outstanding talent. When he arrived, Liverpool were not really flying in the best stage of our life. No supporters in the stadium.

“The loan at Southampton really helped. Players need time, we just don’t give them that often enough.”

With midfield options sparse this weekend, could Klopp even consider using Minamino as a No.10 in a 4-2-3-1 system?

 

9. Attwell in charge in west London

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, March 15, 2010: Referee Stuart Attwell during the Premiership match at Anfield. (Photo by: David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Stuart Attwell has been confirmed as the referee on Saturday, with Paul Tierney on VAR duty.

Liverpool fans have reason to feel buoyed by Attwell’s appointment, considering the Reds have never lost a league game with him overseeing matters.

That’s a total of nine matches overall, the first of which was a 4-1 victory over Portsmouth in 2010 and the most recent the 3-0 win at Arsenal back in April.

Incidentally, this weekend will see history made in the Premier League, with Australian Jarred Gillett becoming the first foreign referee in the division.

He will officiate Watford‘s clash with Newcastle at Vicarage Road – frankly, a controversial decision here or there could spark that drab-looking game into life!

 

10. Sky’s Saturday offering

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 19, 2020: Former Liverpool player Jamie Carragher (R) and former Manchester United player Gary Neville (L) working for Sky Sports before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Saturday’s match is live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Premier League from 5pm (BST) and kickoff is at 5.30pm.

Alternatively, you can come and join us on our matchday live blog, with Henry Jackson keeping you entertained from 4.45pm.

Come on, you’d rather read his thoughts than listen to Gary Neville, right?

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