Wednesday, 17 Apr, 2024


Salah scores on return as Liverpool beat Brentford 

Sports Desk |
Update: 2024-02-18 12:44:34
Salah scores on return as Liverpool beat Brentford  photo collected

Mohamed Salah scored on his return from injury as Liverpool beat Brentford to maintain their lead at the top of the Premier League.

Darwin Nunez put Liverpool ahead with a superb chip before Alexis Mac Allister poked in a second at the Gtech Community Stadium.

Salah, back from a hamstring problem sustained on Egypt duty at the Africa Cup of Nations, got on the scoresheet with a crisp finish.

Ivan Toney pulled a goal back for Brentford, but Cody Gakpo added the gloss for Liverpool with a late strike.

The victory temporarily sent Liverpool five points clear at the summit, but Arsenal's 5-0 victory over Burnley later in the day reduced the deficit to two points again.

The only sour points for Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp from the win at the Gtech Community Stadium were more additions to a lengthening injury list.

Curtis Jones and Diogo Jota were taken off before half-time, while Nunez was substituted at the interval.

"We have to see how much it costs us - we don't know that yet," Klopp said of the injuries.

"Curtis got a knock on the lower part of his shin, or above the ankle. We will see what that means. It was what he felt, but he was not 100 per cent sure. That Curtis cannot play on tells you that it must be something because he would have played on at all costs.

"Diogo looks probably the worst; I didn't see it back but I heard the pictures didn't look great as well, so we have to see there.

"Darwin, we took off because he felt really a little [something] but that was obviously today enough to immediately push the brake and that's what we did, so we took him off."

This was a victory which oozed class as Liverpool, who might have identified this as a potentially tricky assignment, bid to win a 20th league title.

Nunez delivered its standout moment as he broke clear to latch on to Jota's header and then produced a breathtaking finish.

The Uruguayan audaciously chipped the ball over Mark Flekken as the goalkeeper narrowed the angle.

It is easy to envisage Nunez as the architect of chaos, inferring much of what he does is instinctive rather than calculated.

Yet here he showed here his intelligence and composure to set Liverpool on their way.

Klopp and his coaching staff have undoubtedly polished a player who was a rough diamond when he signed for £64m from Benfica in 2022.

Liverpool's Anfield showdown with Manchester City - who are four points behind with a game in hand - on 10 March hangs ominously on the horizon.

It feels somewhat inevitable that Nunez and City striker Erling Haaland will be the central figures leading into that encounter.

Salah back but injury problems mount
Salah's return - he replaced the injured Jota in the 44th minute for his first appearance since New Year's Day - was a huge plus point for Liverpool.

He initially looked a little rusty, failing to anticipate a Luis Diaz cut-back inside the six-yard box and also dragging a shot wide from a good position.

It was not long, though, until he clicked back into gear.

After the impressive Mac Allister produced a deft finish, Salah effectively made the points safe.

His trickery and pace left were too much for defender Nathan Collins, before he angled a finish beyond Flekken, and there was still time for Salah to provide an assist for Gapko.

Salah has now scored and assisted in 30 different Premier League games. Only Wayne Rooney (36), Thierry Henry (32) and Alan Shearer (31) have done so more often.

"He [Salah] is amazing. I am very happy for him," Mac Allister told TNT Sports.

"He has been out and a little bit frustrated about it but he came back and in just a couple of minutes, scored and assist.

"He is an amazing player and a great leader and an important player for us."

Despite Salah's return, Liverpool fans will wait nervously over the next few days on the fitness of Jones, Jota and Nunez as they joined Trent Alexander-Arnold, Dominik Szoboszlai, Alisson and Thiago Alcantara among those on the injury list.

Liverpool could face Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final on 25 February without some of their key personnel.

Source: BBC

BSDT: 1241 HRS, FEB 18, 2024 

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