All things considered, the 3-0 win over Norwich in the EFL Cup on Tuesday couldn’t have gone any better. Fielding a much-changed team, Jurgen Klopp was able to get game time into the legs of his fringe players, and celebrated a handsome margin of victory that was richly deserved at Carrow Road.
The Man of the Match trophy went to Takumi Minamino, and the Japanese ace certainly looks to be a player reborn this term. He netted twice to break the back of this tie, with his first coming after just four minutes – swivelling on a sixpence inside the penalty area before firing home a precision finish.
The Reds didn’t have things all their own way, and Caoimhin Kelleher was forced into a fine improvised save to turn away a penalty kick from Christos Tzolis just before the break.
Liverpool quickly asserted dominance in the second period, and didn’t take long for them to double the leader – Kostas Tsimikas, once again excellent down the left flank, floated over a cross for Divock Origi to nod home.
That was pretty much as far as a contest was concerned, and the icing on the cake was applied late on when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s expert through ball was calmly slotted home by Minamino.
A comfortable win, aided by first team debuts for teenagers Kaide Gordon, Conor Bradley and Tyler Morton, would have left Klopp feeling pretty satisfied with his night’s work. He and his players will head to Brentford on Saturday teatime full of vigour.
Liverpool Team News
There was only one negative arising from the Reds’ taming of the Canaries: an injury to Naby Keita.
Incredibly, the midfielder was injured ‘kicking the grass’, which was probably a comment slightly lost in translation on the part of Klopp, but still it’s a pretty epic way to go down with a knock. At the moment, the extent of his injury isn’t quite clear.
Klopp says Naby Keita hurt himself ‘kicking the grass’ in the first half, but says they are not too concerned about the injury.#LFC
— Neil Jones (@neiljonesgoal) September 21, 2021
It has also been confirmed that Thiago Alcantara misses out, and so Klopp will need to tinker slightly with his midfield.
Otherwise, it’s a case of as you were. Alisson will return in goal, while Trent Alexander-Arnold – who has been battling illness – is back in training and likely to start.
Virgil van Dijk could welcome Joel Matip alongside him in the centre of defence, with Andy Robertson restored at left back and Fabinho as the midfield shield.
Getting the balance right in midfield will be crucial, and we expect Jordan Henderson to come in – that will leave Curtis Jones or Oxlade-Chamberlain to provide the thrust from midfield, with the former arguably deserving of his chance given how well he played against Norwich.
In attack, the trio of Salah, Mane and Jota will be hungry for goals – Bobby Firmino may be fit enough to return to the bench.
While not making the headlines, Brentford fans will be delighted with their team’s progress so far this term.
They sit ninth in the Premier League table, with a pair of 2-0 victories over Arsenal and Wolves the obvious standout.
The Bees have kept three clean sheets in five league games, and in Ivan Toney they have a striker that has made the step up from lower league football look like a doddle.
Make no mistake, Brentford will be far from a pushover on Saturday….
Brentford vs Liverpool Betting Tips
This is actually a pretty interesting game for punters to try and decipher.
Liverpool are priced at 1/2, and that actually isn’t as short as you might expect given that an unbeaten team are playing against a newly-promoted outfit.
The bookmakers are giving Brentford some respect then, although you would still expect Liverpool to win this game.
It’s just that it might not be as easy as expected, and so backing the Reds to win by a single goal margin seems fair enough.
You can back that at 5/2 with some bookmakers, but perhaps we can extend our value by taking Liverpool with a -1.00 Asian handicap at 10/11 – we’ll get our stake back if they win by one goal, and a full return should they triumph by two or more.