Mohamed Salah sublime with Liverpool at full throttle against Brentford to restate title case

At the double: Mohamed Salah netted a brace to help Liverpool ease past Brentford at Anfield (Liverpool FC via Getty Images)
At the double: Mohamed Salah netted a brace to help Liverpool ease past Brentford at Anfield (Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Perhaps only Jude Bellingham and Harry Kane are in better form in world football right now than Mohamed Salah, who had another one of those days here at Anfield to extinguish Brentford.

It is now seven Premier League goals in his last five games for the Egyptian, and on an afternoon when they leapfrogged Arsenal and Tottenham into second place, one wonders where in the table they would be without him.

Liverpool were utterly dominant for long periods of this 3-0 win — Brentford reduced to scraps and slim pickings whenever they could pinch the ball from the hosts on a perishingly cold afternoon on Merseyside.

Darwin Nunez and Salah looked a class above, in the first half in particular, and the Bees’ goalkeeper Mark Flekken kept the visitors in the contest at least before the interval.

Flekken parried Nunez’s effort from distance and then made a sprawling save to deny his Dutch international team-mate Virgil van Dijk, who rose highest — as he always seems to — to head on goal from a corner.

Nunez had not one but two first-half strikes chalked off for offside, first steering home from close range and then hitting a bicycle kick. But both were correctly disallowed.

The Reds reset, went again, and came again, but when Bryan Mbeumo missed a glorious chance against the run of play in a one-on-one with Alisson, it spelt trouble for Brentford.

No sooner had the Cameroonian been denied than Liverpool nicked the ball off Yoane Wissa, the exceptional Trent Alexander-Arnold fizzed into Nunez’s feet, and Nunez found Salah to snap the ball past Flekken with some quite thunderous power.

It was concerning for Brentford and illustrative of Liverpool’s total control here that the Bees’ best chance of the second half was a direct free-kick from Mathias Jensen, which Alisson tipped over despite it not heading in.

Liverpool turned the screw as the second half wore on and doubled their lead when Kostas Tsimikas just about kept the ball in and crossed for Salah, who was unmarked, unseen and undoing Brentford again with a header into an unmoved Flekken’s net.

There was a VAR check for a possible red card for Wataru Endo, but it was never a sending off for his challenge on Christian Norgaard and, indeed, nothing was going to spoil the mood for the home side here.

In fact, it got even better for them and worse for Brentford when Diogo Jota collected Tsimikas’s pass, took one look up, and struck into the net from the edge of the area.

Here was Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool in full throttle, one of their best performances of the season. Second in the league now, they are the side flying most under the radar in the title race. But, make no mistake, it is a title race in which they are most certainly involved.