Cyprus Mail

Liverpool ease to 4-1 win over Brentford to maintain title charge

premier league brentford v liverpool
Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring their third goal with Luis Diaz and Andrew Robertson

Darwin Nunez scored with an exquisite chip as Liverpool kept their foot on the throttle in the Premier League title race with a 4-1 win at Brentford on Saturday to go provisionally five points clear at the summit.

Nunez’s first-half effort opened the scoring, and goals after the break from Alexis Mac Allister and the returning Mohamed Salah effectively ended the contest.

Ivan Toney pulled one back for Brentford, but Cody Gakpo grabbed Liverpool’s fourth to wrap up a comfortable win for the visitors.

The victory lifted Liverpool to 57 points, with Manchester City in second and third-placed Arsenal, who can both reduce the deficit later on Saturday, each on 52. Brentford stay 14th with 25 points.

There was a sour note for Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp, who was already dealing with a lengthy injury list, as Curtis Jones and Diogo Jota were both taken off in the first half, while Nunez failed to emerge after halftime.

The Liverpool manager, who would have been impressed with the ease with which his side negotiated a potentially tricky away game, was already without a number of key players through injury including goalkeeper Alisson Becker, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Dominik Szoboszlai.

He cut a frustrated figure on the touchline as Brentford snapped into challenges and forced Liverpool back in the early stages, with Toney spurning a couple of chances. But it was the visitors who broke the deadlock thanks to Nunez’s fine finish in the 35th minute.

A long clearance forward from Virgil van Dijk was headed into Nunez’s path by Jota and the Uruguayan ran clear before chipping the ball expertly over the advancing Flekken for his ninth league goal of the season.

Salah, making his return from an injury suffered at the Africa Cup of Nations, came off the bench to replace Jota and had two chances either side of halftime to add his name to the scoresheet.

He failed to convert a dangerous cross from Luis Diaz that bobbled up in front of him and then straight after the interval stabbed wide after running through with only the keeper to beat.

The Egyptian was the creator for Liverpool’s second, however in the 55th minute, as he cut in from the right and fed Mac Allister whose first touch took him past the last man before he stabbed it into the net.

Salah was on target 13 minutes later when a long ball forward from stand-in keeper Caoimhin Kelleher was headed on by Gakpo. Salah pounced as the Brentford defence stood still, beating Nathan Collins before finishing left-footed.

Toney pulled one back in the 75th minute, firing home on the rebound after Sergio Reguilon’s shot was superbly saved by Kelleher. But it proved little more than a consolation, and Liverpool ensured there would be no late drama when Gakpo added a fourth in the 86th minute.

The Dutchman, who replaced Nunez at halftime, was fed through on goal by Diaz’s pass and finished clinically with his left foot.

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