Fabinho the surprise goal star
Anyone compiling a list of potential Liverpool marshals in the absence of top scorers Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane would have gone through a few names before arriving at Fabinho.
But the Brazilian midfielder is fast becoming the Reds’ go-to man in front of goal.
Prior to last week, Fabinho had scored just four times in 142 appearances for the club.
He now has three in his last three after sneaking in at the far post to lead Liverpool into the lead shortly before half-time here against Brentford.
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It was also a timely strike, with Jurgen Klopp’s side risking a full third half without scoring at home despite dominating possession.
Certainly, Fabinho has regained his level after clearly suffering the after-effects of his episode of coronavirus, a reaction which has manifested itself in a number of players.
And after speaking before the game about needing to learn from the first encounter against Brentford, the midfielder was impressive in mopping up second balls and helping to quell the visitors’ aerial threat that had caused so much trouble in September .
Goals are just a bonus. That Fabinho devours his bread and butter again is the real positive.
Jones finds it good to talk
It was a sign of the confidence that ran through Curtis Jones’s veins.
As the game entered its dying embers, the ball bounced invitingly past the midfield about 35 yards from goal.
Without hesitation, Jones attempted an outrageous long-range looping effort which, although guarded safely by Brentford goalkeeper Alvaro Fernandez, drew warm applause from the Kop, who acknowledged the sheer impudence of the strike.
Jones has always been that kind of player, capable of imaginative moments to stir up not only the crowd, but also his teammates.
But while he was regularly up front, what impressed most here was his discipline when, after a fine appearance down the left against Arsenal, he was reinstated in a reshaped central midfield.
Klopp revealed over the weekend that he had long talks with Jones about the next stage of his development. Clearly, the youngster was listening.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, also restored to the starting line-up, shone in patches with his all-around display earning a first Premier League goal since last May with a gutsy diving header.
The concern, however, is that the midfielder could face a spell on the sidelines after injuring his ankle in the process. But if ever a player deserves a fortune when it comes to fitness, it’s the 28-year-old. On this form, Liverpool need him.
Klopp punch packs feeling
There was new excitement in Jurgen Klopp’s triple pump as he celebrated another home win in traditional fashion outside the Kop.
And no wonder. After the dismal performance against Arsenal, his methods were under the microscope as Liverpool took a step into the unknown.
It was the first time since May 2017 that they played a Premier League game without at least one of Sadio Mane or Mohamed Salah in the starting line-up.
Indeed, since joining over four years ago, Salah had previously appeared in just five of Liverpool’s 170 top-flight games.
Against a Brentford side who had exhibited a number of recurring problems afterwards in September, it was a real banana peel that was cleverly avoided.
Klopp will no doubt be encouraged by the fact that six different players have scored or assisted all three goals. And Takumi Minamino, responsible for a horrible miss late on Thursday, will surely have regained confidence with his strike to seal the victory.
For the first time since November 2016, Liverpool have managed at least 27 shots with at least 13 on target in a Premier League or European game. Klopp just hopes his side have saved a few for Thursday.