Liverpool moved to within a point of fourth-placed Manchester United as Mohamed Salah’s 30th goal of the season sealed a 1-0 win over Brentford.
Salah’s 13th-minute opener from close-range brought him level with Steven Gerrard on 186 goals as Liverpool’s joint fifth-highest goalscorer after a bright start from the hosts at Anfield, where the pre-match rendition of the national anthem was drowned out on the day of King Charles’ coronation.
Liverpool were able to hold on for just their second clean sheet in seven games to extend their winning run to six and pile the pressure on their stuttering rivals Man Utd – who have two games in hand on the Reds – ahead of their trip to West Ham on Sunday evening.
Brentford had a goal disallowed for Bryan Mbuemo in the first half but lacked the cutting edge to break Liverpool down despite threatening in the second period. Thomas Frank’s side remain in ninth, but Fulham can close the gap on their west London rivals to two with a win against relegation-threatened Leicester on Monday.
Liverpool: Alisson (7), Alexander-Arnold (8), Konate (7), Van Dijk (7), Robertson (7), Gakpo (6), Fabinho (7), Jones (6), Salah (8), Nunez (6), Jota (6).
Subs: Diaz (6), Henderson (6), Milner (6), Tsimikas (6).
Brentford: Raya (7), Hickey (6), Zanka (6), Pinnock (6), Mee (6), Henry (6), Onyeka (7), Jensen (7), Janelt (6), Mbuemo (7), Toney (7).
Subs: Schade (6), Dasilva (6), Damsgaard (6), Baptiste (6).
Player of the match: Mohammed Salah.
How Liverpool extended winning run
Liverpool took no time to settle into the game as their attacking line-up, which included Cody Gakpo on the right of a midfield three, put Brentford on the back foot. Salah then made the pressure pay after 13 minutes as he bundled in at the back post after Virgil van Dijk headed Fabinho’s cross into his path for his 100th Anfield goal.
Trent Alexander-Arnold impressed again in his hybrid role and thought he had grabbed a seventh assist in seven games when he floated in a wonderful through ball to Darwin Nunez. The misfiring Liverpool striker could not find a way past Brentford goalkeeper David Raya from close range, though.
- Liverpool made three changes as Diogo Jota, Cody Gakpo and Andy Robertson started the game.
- Zanka and Frank Onyeka started for Brentford as Thomas Frank introduced two fresh faces to the line-up.
Brentford grew into the game as Van Dijk struggled to keep up with the speed of Mbuemo. The Brentford forward had the ball in the back of the net after an impressive run, which saw him evade Van Dijk and Alexander-Arnold, but he had failed to beat the Liverpool offside trap.
Frank’s side made it a tense affair for Liverpool, although there were no clear-cut chances for Mbuemo or Ivan Toney to test Alisson, who became the fourth quickest Liverpool goalkeeper to reach 100 clean sheets. Brentford finished the game with an Expected Goals tally of 0.19, highlighting their failure to penetrate the Liverpool backline.
Gakpo was unfortunate to miss from two yards wide as Diogo Jota hit a low, hard cross into his shins which ricocheted off him and wide of the goal. The January signing from PSV should have done better in the closing stages as he missed the target again after Aaron Hickey’s misplaced header fell to him.
Liverpool, almost by stealth, find themselves in the top-four picture after a turbulent season with Jurgen Klopp’s gamble to change system mid-season paying off. Speaking to Sky Sports before the game, he said “we had nothing to lose” and that is exactly what makes the Reds so dangerous heading into the final three games of the season.
Liverpool head to relegation-threatened Leicester on Monday May 15. Kick-off 8pm.
Brentford host West Ham on Sunday May 14. Kick-off 2pm. The Bees’ final two games see them visit Tottenham and then welcome Manchester City on the final day.
May 15: Leicester (A) – Premier League, kick-off 8pm, live on Sky Sports
May 20: Aston Villa (H) – Premier League, kick-off 3pm
May 28: Southampton (A) – Premier League, kick-off 4.30pm
May 14: West Ham (H) – Premier League, kick-off 2pm
May 20: Tottenham (A) – Premier League, kick-off 12.30pm
May 28: Man City (H) – Premier League, kick-off 4.30pm