Brentford kick off the New Year in good company this evening when they host Liverpool at the Gtech Community Stadium in what promises to be an intriguing Premier League tussle in the capital.
The Bees ended 2022 with a fine 2-0 win at London rivals West Ham, though a date with Jurgen Klopp’s Reds this side of the New Year’s celebrations should be a sterner test of their mettle. Liverpool are hunting down a fifth league victory on the trot as their top four push begins to gather pace and the Merseysiders are odds-on favourites to pocket another three points today.
You can immerse yourself in my stats pack for this evening’s clash below which is packed with all the info you could possibly need to construct better bet builders for the fixture. Check out my Stats Pack Guide for some pointers about how to get the most out of the data.
Kristoffer Ajer, Shandon Baptiste and Aaron Hickey are all still in the treatment room for Brentford, though the Bees received an unexpected boost in the injury department with the news that Ivan Toney could be fit to feature today.
The talismanic centre-forward came off injured at West Ham last week, though Toney’s issue wasn’t as serious as it first appeared and he could start against Liverpool this evening.
Liverpool’s injury list is starting to lengthen once again and alongside confirmed absentees Arthur, Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz and Curtis Jones, the Reds have doubts over the availability of James Milner, Roberto Firmino, Harvey Elliott and Andrew Robertson.
Fabinho missed Friday’s win over Leicester to attend the birth of his child, though the Brazilian anchorman should be back in contention today. New signing Cody Gakpo is eligible to feature now that the January window has opened, though he is unlikely to start.
Brentford seem destined to secure another solid mid-table Premier League finish this season, though some of their defensive statistics for the campaign contain some worrying trends.
The Bees’ xG against per 90 figure is quite similar to Liverpool’s, though only Everton have been conceding more attempts than Thomas Frank’s leaky outfit. Brentford allowed West Ham to muster 20 shots in their win over the Hammers on Friday and if they allow Liverpool to hit similar figures today, they could be in big trouble.
Liverpool remain a match for most across the board in terms of their attacking metrics this term, though they were unusually off-colour in the final third against Leicester on Friday and they needed a brace of own goals from Wout Faes to see the Foxes off.
The Reds’ backline has looked a little brittle this season however, and remarkably, only six teams have registered a higher xG against per 90 this term. Elsewhere, Liverpool are still one of the division’s corner kings (7.19 p/90) and they are a decent coupon filler at 4/7 to win over 5.5 of them again today.
Player Shots and Shots on Target
Ivan Toney’s importance to Brentford cannot be overstated and the 26-year-old tops the charts for both shots and shots on target notched per 90 for the Bees this season. Toney lodged three of his team’s nine attempts in their triumph at West Ham on Friday and Brentford will be desperate for their prized asset to play some part today.
Bryan Mbuemo could be one to watch if Toney doesn’t make the cut. The rapid Cameroonian should enjoy playing against Liverpool’s high defensive line and the 23-year-old has hit at least two shots in ten separate Premier League fixtures already since August. Mbuemo is available at a neat 1/2 to repeat that feat this evening.
Darwin Nunez continues to bring his own unique brand of chaos to Liverpool’s games and while the Uruguayan struggles at times to find the net, he is an incredibly reliable option for bet builders.
The 23-year-old clocked another seven shots and two attempts on target against Leicester and Nunez carries odds of 4/7 to muster at least two accurate shots again against Brentford.
Mohamed Salah also managed to get two attempts on target against the Foxes – and against Brentford when Liverpool last played the Bees in London. The Egyptian is available at a tasty 8/11 to notch at least two attempts on target against the same opponents later on.
Player Goals and Assists
Ivan Toney’s goals-to-games ratio this season has been outstanding and the 26-year-old netted for the 12th time in the Premier League since the summer when he rattled the net against West Ham on Friday. Toney has plundered 44% of the Bees’ total goals this term and his absence later today would be a massive blow to their chances.
If Toney is ruled out, look to Yoane Wissa (7/2) and Bryan Mbuemo (9/2) as your next-best options in the goalscoring market for Brentford. Both players are equipped with searing pace and Liverpool’s offside trap has been easier to beat this season than it was last year.
Mohammed Salah’s seven-goal tally for the season so far is a very modest haul for an attacker of his talents, though the 30-year-old did manage to find the net three times in his last two Premier League away appearances, and at 11/10 to register anytime, he remains the prime goal-getting candidate in the Reds’ ranks – especially with Darwin Nunez’s finishing so erratic.
Andrew Robertson is still Liverpool’s most productive player in terms of assists and the Scottish international set up goals both home and away against Brentford last season. Robertson is priced at 17/10 to claim another assist against the Bees today.
Only a handful of teams have enjoyed less of the ball per game than Brentford this season and the Bees will be content to cede possession against Liverpool again this evening in a bid to set up counter-attacking opportunities.
Mathias Jensen and Ben Mee rank at positions one and two in the individual passes per game stakes for Brentford, though both players’ distribution figures are still on the low-side and adding them to your coupon adds little value to your bet builder docket.
Liverpool controlled possession for 68.3% and 67.3% of the time in their meetings with Brentford last season, so expect the Reds to dictate play for the majority of this evening’s tussle with the Bees again.
With the Reds set to hog the ball, you can really take your pick from a clutch of passes market options from their line-up, particularly in defensive areas where Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk and Andrew Robertson should have plenty of touches.
Spanish midfield metronome, Thiago Alcantara, is one to watch a little further forward. The 31-year-old played over 90 passes in two of his last three Premier League appearances (vs Aston Villa & Southampton).
Skirmishes in the midfield battleground deserve much of your attention today, where Mathias Jensen (three cards) and Christian Norgaard (1.1 fouls per game) should be in the thick of the action again against their counterparts from Merseyside.
The card market is another area where Ivan Toney is routinely a chief protagonist for Brentford. The striker likes to ruffle feathers as often as possible and he could add to his six cards if he is fit enough to start this evening.
Much of Liverpool’s play through midfield flows through the talented Thiago Alcantara and the Spaniard’s close control and calmness under pressure tends to draw plenty of fouls. Watch out for his altercations with Mathias Jensen today (7/2 to be carded).
Similarly, the lightweight Harvey Elliot could be knockout about by the more physically robust Christian Norgaard (11/4), while both Liverpool centre-halves should be targeted by the bullying force of Ivan Toney, if the 26-year-old is included in the Bees’ XI.
Match-Ups to watch
Mathias Jensen vs Thiago Alcantara
Christian Norgaard vs Harvey Elliott
Ivan Toney vs Virgil van Dijk/Joel Matip
Liverpool have the cleanest disciplinary record in the Premier League this season by some distance and Reds’ players have collected just 13 cards in 16 fixtures overall.
The Merseysiders picked up just one booking in total in their last three away assignments combined, so don’t lean too heavily on Liverpool for card market inclusions today.
If you are determined to squeeze some Reds on to your coupon here, Fabinho (4/1), Thiago (4/1) and Trent Alexander-Arnold (9/2) might fit the bill. All three players like to nip counter-attacks in the bud early and they aren’t afraid to whip out cynical tackles and shirt pulls when required.
While Ivan Toney sits down in third for Brentford in the list of most-fouled Bees players per 90, the striker tops the pile for total fouls accrued (32) and the 26-year-old could be on Fabinho’s radar when exploding forward from deep on turnovers.
Wing-back Rico Henry (fouled 0.9 times per appearance) could stretch Trent Alexander-Arnold if allowed to gallop forward down the Bees’ left flank, while Josh Dasilva’s (fouled ten times) line-breaking runs have the potential to fluster Thiago.
Match-Ups to watch
Fabinho vs Ivan Toney
Trent Alexander-Arnold vs Rico Henry
Thiago Alcantara vs Josh Dasilva