Two hours and 30 minutes. That’s how long Liverpool’s lead at the top of the Premier League table lasted, but three months ago the Reds would never have dreamed of having a second at the summit.
They were 14 points behind Manchester City on January 15. At 2.22pm on Saturday they had moved two points ahead of the champions. At 4.52pm City swiftly re-took top spot with a comfortable win at Burnley, but for Liverpool it was all about starting a massive month with the right result that perfectly tees up next Sunday’s potential title-decider at City,
Liverpool’s win over Watford was a case of job done and move on, as Jurgen Klopp’s side laboured to a 2-0 victory over the relegation strugglers. It was not a display worthy of Klopp’s 250th Premier League game in charge, and the German admitted afterwards he was “not interested” in the performance.
“We didn’t play the best football possible today but it was enough,” he said. “I didn’t expect we would be flying – it is unlikely after the international break it will be the best game of the season.”
But he knows his side will have to turn it on in the coming weeks and produce their very best.
But however you categorise Brentford’s shocking, stunning 4-1 win at Chelsea there’s no denying Thomas Frank and his players deserve huge credit for pulling off a result few would have thought possible.
Before kick-off, it seemed Brentford’s Premier League survival was more likely to rest on a clash with Watford in a couple of weeks’ time. Instead their first league win at west London rivals Chelsea in 83 years may just have secured their status in the top flight.
If so, it’s an achievement which owes everything to the key ingredients which set this Brentford team apart.
First there is the manager, whose surprise switch to a back three caught out the world and European champions. His high-quality coaching has created a team able to mix a high press and a low block and frustrate their opponents with both.
Credit to these players, too: from the bravery to take the game to Chelsea early on, to the character to respond to Antonio Rudiger’s stunner and push for more. As Frank says, this is a unique group.
And then there is Christian Eriksen, who has written another chapter in his wonderful comeback from the cardiac arrest he survived last summer. A first Premier League goal since 2019 was reward for another classy display in the middle of the park. He has inspired the players around him.
Capturing the enormity of Saturday’s win isn’t easy to do – but Brentford supporters will treasure an unforgettable day.
Thomas Tuchel was at a loss to explain Chelsea’s 4-1 home defeat to Brentford.
Fatigue from the international break? A lack of preparation time? Goalkeeper Edouard Mendy jaded from the huge effort to help Senegal to the World Cup? Even a change in the weather was suggested.
In the end, he put it down to a “strange 10 minutes” and said he wouldn’t dwell too long on it.