Liverpool look to ring in the New Year by running their EPL win streak to 5 matches as they travel to Brentford today, on January 2nd. Aiding the Reds in that quest will be new signee Cody Gakpo who could take the pitch for the first time in a Liverpool shirt.
Thank You Very Much
In their last match vs Leicester City, Liverpool were basically gifted 3 points thanks to a pair of own first-half goals from the Foxes Wout Faes. Faes is the first EPL player to earn the dubious distinction of an own-goal brace since Stoke City's Jonathan Walters did so against Chelsea in 2013. The Reds can't expect that kind of help from the Bees, so they will need to generate some offense of their own.
The Bees Knees
That may be easier said than done as Brentford has impressed at times this season. They have 5 wins compared to just 4 losses to go with a league-best 8 draws. 10th place on the table might not seem that impressive on the surface, but considering the club won promotion to the EPL in 2021 for the first time since 1946 and their success over the last few seasons is impressive.
Keeping Tabs On Toney
The player with the most sting in the Brentford lineup is forward Ivan Toney. He has scored 12 goals in 16 matches including each of the last 4 as Brentford is unbeaten during that stretch. There is a sharp dropoff after Toney as the next leading scorer on the club only has 3 goals. So it is clear that Toney is Brentford's main man and he will test the Reds' defense all match.
Yakitty Yak, Let's Talk About Gak(Po)
Gakpo officially became a member of Liverpool on January 1st. His arrival at Anfield could not come at a better time as Luis Diaz and Diago Joto are still battling injuries. He could play for Liverpool against Brentford or Jürgen Klopp could save him for later in the season. It will be interesting to see if he is included in the Starting XI or on the bench when lineups are announced.
LFC Globe Verdict
This feels like a pivotal game. With a win, Liverpool could move up to 5th on the table and keep the momentum going they have been searching for all campaign. Statistically, a draw is most likely and honestly would not be a terrible result, but the one thing Liverpool can not afford is a loss. The defense will have to contend with Toney, who is a tough customer, making 3 points an even tougher prize.
I think Liverpool come through though with a late winner to take the 2-1 victory.
Where To Watch
Kickoff is set for 15:30 GMT at Brentford's GTech Community Stadium. The match will air on Sky Sports in the U.K. and on the USA Network across the pond in the United States. In Canada, the game will stream on fuboTV.
List of available streams is available.