Liverpool defeated Brentford 1-0 at Anfield on Saturday in a controversial day after home supporters booed and jeered during the national anthem on the day of King Charles’ Coronation. Mohamed Salah got the Reds off to a positive start, tapping home after Virgil van Dijk’s knock-down before the hosts saw out a big three points against a resurgent Bees side. Express Sport looks at all the major talking points from Liverpool’s victory, including another record broken for their talisman…
Klopp’s new system
Jurgen Klopp sprung a surprise when his team was announced, as Salah, Darwin Nunez, Diogo Jota and Cody Gakpo were all in the starting XI. The Netherlands forward adopted a deeper role, with Jota and Salah out wide and Nunez through the middle.
Gakpo was tasked with filling in on the right and providing width as both Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold often moved infield, as the system generally worked on the day. Klopp is still clearly trying to figure out his new shape ahead of next season, but will be pleased to know he can play all four forwards at home on occasion.
Fans boo God Save The King
The national anthem was drowned out by Liverpool supporters as God Save The King was played at Anfield to mark King Charles’ Coronation. The league-wide gesture to play the anthem alongside showing a portrait of the monarch on screens around stadiums, was expectedly received poorly on Merseyside.
Chants of “Liverpool, Liverpool” could also be heard before the Kop led a passionate rendition of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ ahead of kick-off just hours after Charles had been Coronated in London. Earlier this week, Liverpool confirmed they would play the national anthem “in recognition of the Premier League’s request”.
But the club added: “It is, of course, a personal choice how those at Anfield on Saturday mark this occasion, and we know some supporters have strong views on it.”
Salah is the king in Liverpool
The Egyptian’s scuffed finish after 10 minutes was his 100th at Anfield since arriving from Roma in 2017 and his 30th goal of the season, as his name rang around Anfield in appreciation of their star man. He was alert to the second ball after Alexander-Arnold’s cross was headed back across goal by Van Dijk to give the 30-year-old a simple tap-in.
The finish ensured that he also set a new club record of scoring in nine consecutive home games, beating Luis Suarez’s eight-match record between April 2013-January 2014, he clearly loves playing in front of the Liverpool home crowd.
Salah has proved that he can be relied upon time and time again and in a year when Erling Haaland has dominated the Golden Boot conversation, Liverpool’s own talisman has once again put up a more than respectable tally amid the Reds’ disappointing season so far.
Toney stars for Brentford
Ivan Toney’s performance showcased exactly why he will be of interest to the top teams in the league this summer, despite a potential ban looming over the England international. He physically got the better of Van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate on numerous occasions, but his ability on the ball got his team-mates in on goal several times as he was one of the best players on the pitch.
His back-heel to create another chance shortly after half-time typified his display, as he would have been awarded an assist for a stunning pass if Bryan Mbuemo was not slightly adjudged to be offside.
Brentford more than matched Liverpool during the game and carved enough opportunities to get something from the game, but all too often Toney was the one creating those opportunities as opposed to being on the end of them himself.
Liverpool’s £100m transfer saving
On commentary for Sky Sports, Jamie Carragher pointed out that “if he [Alexander-Arnold] played midfield he would probably save Liverpool £100million” ahead of the Reds’ summer midfield overhaul.
After pulling out of the race to sign Jude Bellingham, Liverpool are still expected to sign several players to bolster to the middle of the pitch – with Brighton’s Alexis Mac Allister the latest to be mentioned with a potential move to Anfield.
However, with Alexander-Arnold providing additional support to Fabinho at the base of the midfield it may enable the club’s hierarchy to sign one fewer midfielder than had been expected this summer – potentially freeing up funds elsewhere.