Enjoy fresh footage of Liverpool's 3-0 win over Brentford in the new episode of Inside Anfield.
Goals from Fabinho, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Takumi Minamino earned the Reds a comprehensive victory in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon.
Watch how the game unfolded from a different perspective in Inside Anfield below.
Life was good in Syria. They had a roof over their head and there was always food on the table, much of it grown in the field next to their home.
But then it all changed. As civil war broke out in 2011 and then escalated, the airstrikes started and the bombs started to fall on Daraa, Aleppo and towns and cities across Syria.
“Our house was demolished,” Weam tells The Athletic through an interpreter. “The strike was direct on our house. We were in the shelter, underground, because we knew there were bombs coming. We were in the basement.”
In desperation, fearing for their lives, they fled Syria nine years ago. Some made the same journey on foot, walking for days on end, sleeping rough. Some of them froze to death on the treacherous, unforgiving trek across the mountains.
Weam and her family were luckier — “A guy hid us in the back of his car” — and were driven out of the war zone, across the mountains, into Lebanon and eventually here to a refugee camp in the Beqa’a Valley, where the barren landscape is broken up by neat rows of tents.
When they arrived here, the sense of relief and, fleetingly, hope was overwhelming. But those emotions have faded as the years have passed, the conflict back home has continued and the plight of the Syrian refugees has been largely forgotten or ignored.
The Al Yasmine refugee camp was established in conjunction with the Lebanese government in 2016 as an emergency measure to house a small number of the 1.5 million Syrians who had fled across the border. It was never intended as a permanent settlement, as was made clear when the order came through to demolish the concrete and wooden structures the refugees had built there.
“All three are geniuses. They gave a masterclass in football coaching.”
Fulham fans might remember Hoogland from his relatively brief spell at Craven Cottage in 2014-15. Bundesliga observers will remember him as a solid right-back who spent the best part of 14 seasons in the top two tiers of German football. Champions League completists might recall him as the man who scored Schalke’s goal in the away leg of a 2013-14 last-16 tie against Real Madrid.
But arguably more notable than all of those things is that Hoogland is, as far as The Athletic can work out, the only man to have played under the three “geniuses” he mentions: Ralf Rangnick, Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel.
The trio of Germans that currently occupy three of the most significant jobs in English football are inextricably linked. Rangnick influenced and was a contemporary of Klopp. Tuchel followed in the footsteps of Klopp by being head coach of first Mainz and then Borussia Dortmund. And Tuchel’s coaching career started when Rangnick gave him a job in the Stuttgart youth set-up. They remain probably the most influential coaches of a generation in their homeland.
A rare gift then, to have played under and learned from all three. Hoogland began his senior career with Schalke, where he made his Bundesliga debut under Rangnick in 2005. A couple of years later, he was persuaded to drop down to Bundesliga 2 by Klopp, who was trying to take his Mainz side back to the top tier after relegation at the end of 2006-07. And then, when Klopp left in 2008, Tuchel took over after Jorn Anderson’s year-long spell in charge and Hoogland was part of the Mainz side that did finally win promotion.
Next up in this Sensible Transfers series, it’s Liverpool and the search for someone to further enhance their firepower…
Barring a late change of heart, Liverpool won’t be adding to their forward options during the January transfer window.
In the absence of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane due to the Africa Cup of Nations, Jurgen Klopp is relying on Diogo Jota, Roberto Firmino and Takumi Minamino to step up and deliver. Divock Origi’s comeback from injury should also help ease the goal burden before the cavalry return from Cameroon.
However, come the summer, Liverpool will be looking to enhance their attacking department. There is much to sort out. Not least the contract situations of Salah, Mane and Firmino, who could be entering their final year by then. Do you run the risk of losing any of them for nothing in 2023?
Unless Origi plays enough games between now and May to trigger an extra 12 months on his contract, he will be a free agent and the Belgian will need to be replaced.
Mohamed Salah has missed out on the Best FIFA Men’s Player of the Year award, a gong that was also contested by Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski.
From an original 11-man shortlist which was then dwindled down to the final three, Liverpool’s No. 11 saw the top prize handed out elsewhere in FIFA’s award ceremony on Monday night.
The Egyptian, currently in Cameroon for the Africa Cup of Nations, is widely regarded as one of the world’s best thanks to a staggering return in front of goal.
But it was Lewandowski who took the top prize, with Messi and Salah finishing as runners up after votes from current men’s national team coaches and captains, journalists and fans.
The Bayern Munich man is a worthy winner in his own right after 43 goals for the German side and 11 assists.
Salah’s last appearance in the FIFA Men’s Best award was back in 2018 when he finished third.
During the applicable period of the award from October 2020 to August 2021, Salah scored 26 goals and laid on six assists at club level.
But yet he was staggeringly omitted from the FIFA XI of the year, even with a 3-3-4 formation as Cristiano Ronaldo, Erling Haaland, Lewandowski and Messi were instead selected.
Underrated or what? Add it to the laughable seventh-place finish in the Ballon d’Or and use it as fuel, Mo!
FIFA Team of the Year (3-3-4): Donnarumma, Alaba, Dias, Bonucci, Jorginho, Kante, De Bruyne, Ronaldo, Haaland, Lewandowski, Messi
A first Premier League win for a month, Liverpool’s victory over Brentford on Sunday offered Jurgen Klopp’s side some much-needed relief but not before an afternoon of vaguely understandable, yet largely unnecessary anxiety in the stands.
Pre goal tension (PGT) is a very real phenomenon. Prior to Sunday, since beating Newcastle United in mid-December, the following four scheduled Premier League games had garnered two draws, one defeat, and a postponement.
From a healthy position in the race for the title, suddenly Liverpool found themselves floating around the mid-January meh, sat 14 points adrift of the leaders. A stark twist to a winter in which Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Naby Keita have been seconded to the Africa Cup of Nations, Thiago has been once again absent through injury, and COVID has had its wicked way with those who were still available to man the pumps.
I mean, throw in a three-match ban for Andy Robertson, and the lack of the superhero that is Divock Origi, and the durability of Liverpool’s mind, body, and soul has been sorely tested across the last five weeks or so.Understandable anxiety
So, I do get the anxiety that was in subtle attendance at Anfield. This was a game that came just three days after the frustration of the League Cup semi-final first leg, a game against Arsenal in which efforts on target were thin on the ground, even when faced with ten men for three-quarters of proceedings.
In such circumstances, tensions rise in the stands game-on-game until a pressure valve kicks in and a win is stumbled upon. On Sunday, many Liverpool supporters basically entered Anfield in a pre-paid irritable frame of mind.
Until Fabinho broke the deadlock shortly before the interval, every pass that went astray was groaned at, each dead-end run provoked a grunt, and there was a lack of patience for the narrowly unsuccessful ambitious cross-field ball. If the atmosphere could have represented a day of the week, it would have undoubtedly been 8am on Monday morning. This was very much glass half empty territory.
One of the biggest indicators of this is the propensity of an audible enough collection of those in attendance to implore every Liverpool player to “SHOOT” when they find themselves in possession of the ball within 35 yards of goal, even if there is a tight eight-man block of opposing players, plus goalkeeper obstructing the route and when three or four compelling passing options to teammates are on offer.
This, in particular, properly does my head in. It remedies nothing, and for the players, who can hear it out on the pitch, it just layers on extra pressure when a bit of football Buddhism is more in order.
I’m thinking of petitioning George Sephton to play some subliminal meditation tracks prior to kick-off and again at halftime in games when we haven’t made the breakthrough in the first 45.Time to build
Despite going into the second half with our nose in front, via Brentford’s own compelling chances, and Diogo Jota hitting the post and being admirably denied by Alvaro Fernandez, shoulders didn’t truly ease until Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain plundered the second goal from an excellent Robertson cross.
From here, injury to Oxlade-Chamberlain aside, the last 20 minutes took on a more laid-back aura, in which Takumi Minamino was the beneficiary of Bobby Firmino’s predatory skill and generous sense of spirit. It was wonderful to see not only Minamino get his goal, but also to see how genuinely delighted his teammates were for him.
A crucial win, yet we are Liverpool and we notoriously go through stressful winters. For us, December and January are all about riding the bucking bronco, holding on until the lighter nights begin to creep in and this we haven’t been able to nail this season.
All we can do at this point is take the win and aim to add another one to it when we go to Selhurst Park next Sunday. Use the foundation and build upon it; make sure we do our part in each Premier League fixture we have at our disposal and ensure we are there to mop up should Pep Guardiola’s side unexpectedly spill the milk.
Of course, the eventual returns of Salah, Mane, Keita and Thiago will be very welcome, but in the meantime, it is all about those we do have available enabling that the fight is still worth taking to Manchester City once they are back.
Before we circumnavigate our way around the M25, to Crystal Palace, we are due to face Arsenal in the second leg of the League Cup semi-final on the back of their own ‘controversial’ postponement of Sunday’s north London derby.
A week begins that could lead us to Wembley, but the more important task is still three points next Sunday.
Liverpool face a semi-final second leg on Thursday so the weekend win is more than appreciated – a victory at Arsenal and we’re off to Wembley for a shot at silverware.Barcelona centre-back Araujo linked to Anfield
Compared to last season, the Reds are currently well-stocked in central defence; we haven’t had mass injury worries, fifth-choice Nat Phillips is probably up for sale and even Joe Gomez doesn’t get too much of a look-in at the moment.
A bit odd, then, that we’re linked with another new face at the back – but we know how these things work by now. Even so, it’s a curious one: Ronald Araujo, an exceptional performer in a devastatingly poor Barcelona side this season.
He has just one-and-a-half seasons left on his current deal so the expectation is that he leaves for a reasonable fee if the Camp Nou club can’t convince him to sign. He’s Uruguayan, aggressive, technically excellent and pretty quick.
Perhaps the one consideration here as far as a summer move goes is that there have been rumours about a Gomez exit, on loan or otherwise – so it’s at least wise that we’ve got potential recruits in mind too.All we needed was a few in the net
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Man of the match, man of the match, man of the match!
It's a Liverpool Afcon. Hello Monsieur Klopp! pic.twitter.com/PNl8ZP9uwj
— Saddick Adams (@SaddickAdams) January 15, 2022
Tonight’s late games are Fiorentina against Genoa or Celtic vs Hibs!
A total of 20 Premier League matches have been called off for Covid-19 related reasons this season, with the league and some clubs taking criticism in recent weeks. Why has it got to this stage, and does something need to change?What's causing the controversy?
The credibility of certain matches has been called into question throughout the season, dating back to Arsenal's opening-night defeat to Brentford back in August when Mikel Arteta said he was "surprised" the game was allowed to go ahead despite four positive Covid-19 cases in his squad.
Fast forward five months, the Gunners got their wish against Tottenham on Sunday with the north London derby postponed with barely 24 hours' notice following an official request and accompanying press release from Arsenal, in which the club blamed injuries, Covid-19 and AFCON international duty for their appeal to call the game off.
Spurs were less sympathetic, and in a statement of their own said they were "extremely surprised" the request had been granted and that the league was facing the "unintended consequences" of its Covid policy.
Arsenal are far from the first, and unlikely to be the last, team to seek a postponement this season, however. Others have been criticised, while, conversely, some teams have turned on the Premier League after seeing their own requests turned down.
The rescheduling of the north London derby brings the total number of games called off due to coronavirus to 20 across the season. Several of those have been given the chop at only a few hours' notice, in some cases leaving fans out of pocket and facing long journeys home, such as Watford's postponed game at Burnley in December, which was called off less than three hours ahead of kick-off.
It already risks creating a fixture backlog in the second half of the season and further accusations of teams requesting postponements out of desire, rather than necessity - so does anything need to change?What is the Premier League's stance on Covid postponements?
Since the start of the season, the Premier League has operated on the basis that, in its own words: "where a club cannot field 13 outfield players and a goalkeeper either from its squad list or its appropriately experienced U21 players, the match will be postponed".
That has seen a number of requests turned down as a result - with Tottenham, Chelsea and Brighton among those denied by the officiating Premier League board, made up of chairman Gary Hoffman, CEO Richard Masters and non-executive directors Kevin Beeston, Mai Fyfield and Dharmash Mistry.Premier League guidance in full
"The Board will consider the following principal factors when making a decision:
1) The impact of COVID-19 infections on a club’s squad, as well as injuries, illness and those isolating, and the number of players available on the squad list and any Under-21 players with appropriate experience. Where a club cannot field 13 outfield players and a goalkeeper either from its squad list or its appropriately experienced Under-21 players, the match will be postponed.
2) The status of any COVID-19 outbreak within a club, including the number of individuals affected, the sequence and source of infections and their proximity to the match in question.
3) A club’s ability to safely prepare its players in the lead-up to a match.
4) Medical advice as to whether there is any unacceptable risk to the health and safety of players and staff by playing the match.
5) Any advice from UK Health Security Agency and other public bodies.
6) Any other exceptional circumstances."
However, successful requests have caused controversy more than once - in the run-up to the north London derby Arsenal had reduced their squad size by allowing two players out on loan, and earlier in the week Burnley had also been criticised for successfully requesting the postponement of their fixture with Leicester only days after selling Chris Wood to Newcastle.
Before Christmas, there were calls for a 'circuit-breaker' break in fixtures with the Omicron variant leading to a rapid rise in case numbers, but these were rejected by the Premier League with Sky Sports reporting most wanted to continue playing. Despite conversations about Covid policy, no new guidance was announced, and The Times reported this weekend that remains the Premier League's policy in the immediate future.Nev and Carra: Teams should be forced to play Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher have their say on whether Premier League clubs should be allowed to call matches off due to Covid, injuries and the Africa Cup of Nations
Gary Neville says the Premier League must force teams to fulfil their fixtures after Arsenal requested to postpone Sunday's north London derby, while Jamie Carragher believes clubs are taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic.
"I honestly believe that all teams, not just in the Premier League but the EFL now, must be made to play their fixtures," said Neville.
"If it was purely down to Covid in extraordinary circumstances where there was 10 or 15 players out, but we're now talking about teams for the last few weeks where there's no doubt they've been calling games off based upon whether they think they've got the best squad or team to win a game. It's got to stop.Speaking on Super Sunday, Micah Richards and Robbie Keane discuss whether the north London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham should have ben postponed by the Premier League
"That's not a dig at Arsenal - I should've spoken about this three or four weeks ago. Manchester United and other teams have got 30 to 40 players in their squad - I'm not having they can't get 13 to 16 players together."
Carragher added: "No other league in Europe is doing this, certainly not in those big leagues. Bayern Munich played a 16-year-old in their last game and that tells you exactly where they are. Why can't we do that? Why can't the young players be given an opportunity in these circumstances?
"Everyone's in the same boat and I'm exactly with Gary. If it's an outbreak of Covid and it's decimated the squad I can understand that, but players being in the AFCON tournament and just normal injuries, that's got nothing to do with it.
"You've got U23 squads and younger players, and this is an opportunity where they can get a chance."What have the managers said?
Managers have come out on either side of the fence with regards to the situation. West Ham boss David Moyes told a press conference last week he felt managers had to "trust that the Premier League are doing things correctly", while Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel said he would be "very angry" if it came out that rival clubs were using the system to make up for players lost to injury.Thomas Tuchel says he will be 'very angry' if Covid rules are being abused by other clubs after Chelsea were told they had to play a match when they felt they were stretched during the Christmas fixtures.
Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl, whose side have seen games pushed back twice for Covid postponements, said people "cannot be surprised people are walking through when [the Premier League] have opened the door" on calling games off, and that "new signings should not be allowed to play in rescheduled games".Ralph Hasenhuttl says the Premier League has 'opened the door' to Covid rules being twisted
Pep Guardiola expressed his own desire that Manchester City's game with Chelsea, played on Saturday lunchtime, should go ahead regardless of his side's Covid situation, saying: "We try to play, if we have 11 or 12, we play. We have Cole Palmer, we have James McAtee and others who can play. We never ask [to postpone] because we have enough players."Which Premier League games have been called off?
Brighton vs Tottenham - Sunday December 12, Premier League
Brentford vs Man Utd - Tuesday December 14, Premier League (now January 19, 8pm)
Burnley vs Watford - Wednesday December 15, Premier League (now January 18, 7.30pm)
Leicester vs Tottenham - Thursday December 16, Premier League (now January 19, 7.30pm)
Man Utd vs Brighton - Saturday December 18, Premier League
Southampton vs Brentford - Saturday December 18; Southampton won re-arranged game 4-1 on Tuesday January 11
Watford vs Crystal Palace - Saturday December 18
West Ham vs Norwich - Saturday December 18; West Ham won re-arranged game 2-0 on Wednesday January 12
Aston Villa vs Burnley - Saturday December 18, Premier League
Everton vs Leicester - Sunday December 19, Premier League
Liverpool vs Leeds - Sunday December 26, Premier League
Wolves vs Watford - Sunday December 26, Premier League
Burnley vs Everton - Sunday December 26, Premier League
Leeds vs Aston Villa - Tuesday December 28, Premier League
Arsenal vs Wolves - Tuesday December 28, Premier League
Everton vs Newcastle - Thursday December 30, Premier League
Leicester vs Norwich - Saturday January 1, Premier League
Southampton vs Newcastle - Sunday January 2, Premier League
Everton vs Leicester - Tuesday January 11 (as above, this game had already previously been postponed from its original Sunday December 19 date)
Burnley vs Leicester - Saturday January 15, Premier League
Tottenham vs Arsenal - Sunday January 16, Premier League
The defending champions have an 11-point lead at the top, having played one match more, and with April’s meeting at the Etihad Stadium still some way off, Jurgen Klopp’s side have to find the consistency of victories which produced the epic late-season battle in the 2018-19 campaign.
On that occasion City, who had begun the year seven points behind, won their last 14 matches (Liverpool won 10 of the last 11), to pip their rivals by a point.
This time around the difference between the two is wider but after beating Brentford 3-0, their first league win since mid-December, Robertson believes Liverpool have to put themselves in a position where they can take advantage should City falter.
“We can’t focus on Man City. Man City are one of the best teams in Premier League history and they’ve shown that especially over the last six or seven weeks, they’ve just been winning 1-0s, 2-1s and just been doing enough to win games. That’s what wins you championships,” he told LiverpoolFC.com.
“Maybe we’ve struggled a little bit at that recently, giving away leads and things like that, but all we can do is focus on ourselves, focus on each game we play and try to, if they do slip up, be ready to close the gap.
“The gap is a big one. We would rather have points on the board so hopefully if we win that game in hand we can be eight points [behind]. Let’s see.
“They’re a fantastic team, they can win every game, we know that. The two seasons we competed really tightly with them, it was just win-win, both teams.
“We need to do that. We’ve got to hope they slip up and rely on others, of course we do. We have been in a bit of a sticky patch where we have drawn too many games and obviously lost to Leicester.
“It was important we just got back to winning ways and now we really need to try to kick on and just keep on picking up three points.”
On December 16 Liverpool trailed City by just a point after both had played 17 matches.
Since then Klopp’s side have taken five points from a possible 12, while City have been relentless, accruing a maximum 15.
Conceding a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 at Chelsea and last week’s goalless Carabao Cup semi-final first-leg draw at home to 10-man Arsenal were confidence blows but Klopp thinks they banished any worries against Brentford.
“Winning is good for confidence, definitely. I don’t think we struggled confidence-wise,” said the Reds boss, who has tried to play down the absence of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane who are still at the African Nations Cup.
“We can pretty much cut off the public noise, so what’s happening around.
“We knew against Arsenal what was not right but the world out there [put] the finger on the obvious thing that a couple of players are not here – world-class players, by the way.
“We knew that so we didn’t have to read it and we could do our own thing and that’s what we did.”
Liverpool got back to Premier League winning ways with a 3-0 victory over Brentford that required perseverance and patience at Anfield.
In the penultimate minute of a testing first half on Sunday, Fabinho’s header edged the Reds in front and they expanded on their lead courtesy of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Takumi Minamino after the break.
Here are five talking points from a first league success for Jürgen Klopp’s side for exactly a month and one that moved them up to second, 11 points behind Manchester City with a game in hand.
A birthday goal
Scoring a goal for Liverpool on your birthday is a rarer feat than you might imagine – but one Minamino achieved to celebrate turning 27 on Sunday.
It was something of a gift for the Japan international, too, who had only been on the pitch as a substitute for three minutes when Roberto Firmino’s pressing forced a Brentford error on the edge of their box and he unselfishly teed up Minamino for a slick finish at the Kop end that wrapped up the 3-0 result.
The attacker is the first Reds man to find the net on his birthday since Daniel Sturridge bagged the only goal of a 1-0 win over Manchester United in September 2013.
Many happy returns, Taki!
‘Of course I would be more than happy…’
After helping himself to a brace against Shrewsbury Town last weekend, Fabinho had spoken ahead of this game of his hope to add his name to the scoresheet more frequently in the future.
“For a No.6, of course the priority is first [to] defend and work on the construction of the game,” said the No.3. “But if I can be more decisive in the other part of the pitch as well, scoring or giving assists, of course I would be more than happy.”
And he duly delivered at the earliest opportunity. With a minute left to play of the first half against Brentford, Fabinho showed strength to wrestle away the attention of Kristoffer Ajer and meet Trent Alexander-Arnold’s corner with a delicate header that looped inside the right post.
Three goals in a week for the Brazil international have almost doubled his overall number for the Reds (seven) since his arrival in 2018.
It was certainly one of his most important yet, the effort breaking the deadlock at a time in the contest when the visitors – who were dropping into a back five when defending – had not only held firm but begun to threaten at the other end.
350 up for the manager
Before a ball was kicked in the 350th match of Klopp’s Liverpool reign, he already held the highest win ratio of any manager in the club’s Football League history since 1893.
Victory over the Bees – his 213th in total with the Reds – only strengthened that position, with Klopp’s win percentage now marginally increased to a hugely impressive 60.86 per cent.
The German is the eighth Liverpool manager to reach the milestone of 350 games in all competitions.
The final result meant all to Klopp, of course, and his trademark three post-match fist pumps at the Kop end were increased to a powerful five in recognition of the hard-fought day’s work.
“I knew before that it will be a really tough one,” said the boss. “It was a tough one and that’s why I’m so happy that we did so well in other moments.”
Trent among European assist elite
An Alexander-Arnold set-piece helped to unlock the Brentford defence, his 44th-minute corner delivery from the left-hand side leading to Fabinho’s opener.
It brought up double figures for Premier League assists this season for the right-back, moving him clear of Liverpool teammate Mohamed Salah in that top-flight ranking.
The Scouser – a nominee for the FIFPro World 11 that will be announced on Monday – remains among the absolute elite in the game for creating goals.
Since the beginning of the 2018-19 season, only Thomas Muller (64) and Lionel Messi (47) have recorded more assists than Alexander-Arnold’s 42 in Europe’s top five leagues.
And just for good measure, Andy Robertson was the provider of the Reds’ next goal of the afternoon, swinging a deep cross to the head of Oxlade-Chamberlain in the second half.
It was the ninth occasion that both full-backs have assisted a goal in the same league match.
Set-piece targets accomplished
Klopp acknowledged during his post-match assessment the importance of the improvement in his team’s set-pieces from the Carabao Cup stalemate with Arsenal in midweek, and Robertson concurred with a detailed reflection on that aspect of the game.
“We knew they were really good at attacking set-pieces but we also knew you could get at them with set-pieces going forward,” Robertson told Liverpoolfc.com.
“On Thursday, me and Trent couldn’t quite get the ball off the deck at any point at set-pieces, so it was important that we put in good balls.
“My first one was good for Hendo, could have got one, and Trent put in a couple of really good ones today that were causing all sorts of problems. Really good.
“We were both frustrated with set-pieces on Thursday and it’s important to put it right. Trent getting an assist from one is perfect to put that right.”
The Liverpool midfielder had grasped his chance after being handed a recall by Jurgen Klopp. He had effectively ended the contest with his first Premier League goal for seven months to seal a morale-boosting victory over Brentford.
“I told you!” he bellowed at Andy Robertson while grinning from ear to ear before the duo warmly embraced. Having stuck an arm in the air and urged the left-back to find him at the far post, Oxlade-Chamberlain ensured a pinpoint delivery got the finish it deserved with a diving header in front of the Kop. The reaction from both his team-mates and the staff on the touchline told you everything about the esteem in which he’s held.
Yet within a couple of minutes, the feel-good factor inside Anfield was dented by the sight of Oxlade-Chamberlain limping off after turning his ankle. He disappeared down the tunnel shaking his head in frustration. Another bout of misfortune. Klopp described it as “a shadow” on what was otherwise a day full of positives for Liverpool.
“We hope it’s nothing serious but it’s too early to say,” Klopp said. “That’s the life of a footballer. It could have happened to anyone.”
Watch bitesize highlights from Liverpool's 3-0 victory over Brentford in the Premier League at Anfield on Sunday.
Fabinho, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and birthday boy Takumi Minamino were on the scoresheet for the Reds in the convincing win.
Extended match action, a full replay and more will be available for LFCTV GO subscribers at video.liverpoolfc.com from midnight GMT. Get 30% off an annual LFCTV GO subscription by using the code 30GO22 T&Cs apply.
A comfortable 3-0 victory over Brentford secured a first league win since mid-December and closed the gap to 11 points with a match in hand.
Klopp concedes in any other year that sort of lead would be unassailable but in a campaign being stretched by Covid-19, injuries and match postponements, he believes there remains a glimmer of optimism.
“We don’t have to convince anyone outside to believe. If they want to believe they can believe,” said Klopp, whose trademark triple fist-pump to the Kop returned at the final whistle.
“If you are with us, you will enjoy the ride and we will go for everything. We are ready to go as much as we can.
“This is not the situation to talk about a title fight, it’s 11 points now with one game in hand.
“In a normal world nothing happens anymore but what is normal nowadays? We try to do our part, there is nothing else to do.”
Having been frustrated by the visitors for 44 minutes, midfielder Fabinho nodded home from a corner just before the interval for his third goal in a week to break the deadlock.
After a first Premier League clean sheet in five attempts the only cloud was a late injury to Oxlade-Chamberlain which may see Klopp’s attacking options limited further with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane still at the African Cup of Nations.
“He was really good. That is the shadow on the game,” added the Reds boss.
“We don’t know yet but he rolled his ankle and now we hope it is nothing serious.
“Unfortunately, that is the life of a footballer. No one did anything wrong, it just happened, it is nothing to do with Alex, it could have happened to anyone.
“We will get the further or final information earliest tomorrow. That is the case in these situations. Absolutely too early, I have no idea [on the seriousness].”
For Brentford boss Thomas Frank – whose side have now lost four of the last five in the league – the performance still had positives.
“I thought we played 60 very good minutes and maybe even better the first 45,” he said.
“We played unbelievably well structured and with good discipline, defended low very well, put the bodies on the line when needed, gave nothing away in open play.
“We conceded on a set-piece and that should never happen. If you want to get a good result against a world-class team then you can never concede on a set-piece. Unfortunately we did that.
“I said to Jurgen I would have loved to see what would have happened if it had been 0-0 at half-time. When they scored to make it 2-0 it was a done deal.”