Liverpool Kept Their Premier League Title Hopes Alive With A Win Over Brentford

Fabinho broke the deadlock on the stroke of half time with a close-range header after Trent Alexander-Arnold’s corner found him at the far post.

Jurgen Klopp’s side doubled their lead following the interval courtesy of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain meeting Andy Robertson’s delivery with a diving header.

In the closing stages, Takumi Minamino rounded off victory with a tidy finish after he and Roberto Firmino had pressed the visitors’ defence into mistakes.

Too many dropped points earlier in the season have left them facing an uphill battle to try and claw back Manchester City’s runaway train at the summit.

Even victories over Brentford and in their game in-hand against Leeds would still leave the Reds with eight points to bridge with the reigning champions.

But Jurgen Klopp’s reaction after his side put their London counterparts to the sword left Anfield in no doubt that their team will not go down without a fight.

The German’s trademark post-match fist pump in The Kop’s direction carried added gusto with every bounding step he made towards the famous stand.

Klopp normally reserves such displays for the bigger wins and occasions, not a sleepy Sunday afternoon in mid-January against a newly-promoted team.

Yet the Liverpool manager was sending out a statement that his players are prepared to run City as close as possible in this second half of the season.

New life had been breathed into the old adage that Liverpool fail to score from corners in Thursday’s Carabao Cup semi-final stalemate with Arsenal.

A succession of set pieces were wasted against their visitors at a time when the impetus rested with Klopp’s charges as well as an extra man advantage.

They became a desperate attempt at an antidote to a pedestrian midfield and a front line devoid of the brilliance offered by Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.

Three days on, however, they were a far more effective outlet as shown by Fabinho breaking the deadlock from Trent Alexander-Arnold’s far-post corner.

The Brazil international was not the only player getting in on the action as Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and Diogo Jota all had varying degrees of success.

It was not so long ago that Liverpool’s mastery of dead ball scenarios gained traction and ultimately fuelled a long-awaited 2019/20 league title triumph.

Leaning on this particular habit regularly again could prove the difference between them turning potentially difficult games into more leisurely outings.

If ever one game encapsulated Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s Liverpool career over the previous four-and-a-half years, this was possibly the finest example.

The former England midfielder provided sporadic bursts before arrived in the right position to score and finally limping out with another ankle problem.

It has become a theme of Oxlade-Chamberlain’s time at Anfield. His impact ranges from ineffectual to influential to injured; there is no middle ground.

As he enters the final 18 months of his current deal, the 28-year-old will be under no illusions of a need to raise the bar in order to earn an extension.

Suffering that late knock may not ultimately prove severe but the clock is already against him in attempts to prolong his stay on Merseyside.

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