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The Brentford view on Salah, Toney & Premier League life

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Brentford have a special occasion to look forward to against Liverpool this weekend, but do their fans believe a shock result is possible?

The Reds sit second in the Premier League after five matches, with just two points dropped and one goal conceded to date.

On Saturday evening, Jurgen Klopp‘s side visit the newly promoted Bees, who have made an impressive start in their own right, already picking up eight points.

This is the first-ever Premier League meeting between the two sides and the eye-catching Brentford Community Stadium is all set to host a thrilling contest.

With kickoff looming, we spoke to Billy Grant from Beesotted Brentford (@Beesotted) to give us the lowdown on his side, as well as his thoughts on Liverpool.

 

How would you assess Brentford’s start to Premier League life?

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK - Wednesday, July 16, 2014: Brondby IF's head coach Thomas Frank - now Brentford manager - during a preseason friendly match against Liverpool at Brøndby Stadion. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

You have to put where we are in perspective. The Football League is Brentford’s home.

This is where I am used to watching my football. It’s my home. Every year going up and down the country watching my team play against the likes of Scunthorpe, Preston, Boro, Wrexham, Walsall, Torquay, Carlisle, Notts County, Oldham and Southend.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve had brilliant times going to these places – watching Brentford play some terrible football on a freezing cold afternoon or evening with maybe a few hundred fans at most travelling.

They weren’t very good in reality. But that didn’t matter.

You don’t support Brentford for the glory. You support them because they are your local club. And we made the most of matchdays, ensuring that we had a great day out whatever.

We’re under no illusions where we have come from as a team. We know we are small. We know we have limited resources.

But at the same time, we’re proud of that, as it has made us who we are as fans and as a club.

As fans it’s hard to foresee your team playing against the likes of Liverpool and Man United on a regular basis when you have just come home from losing 1-0 to Rochdale.

The start we have had has been extra-special. We added to the squad in the summer but we didn’t go bonkers.

All in all, I’m delighted with the start and that we are playing football, and pleased that we are competing.

We know we have a difficult run of games to come starting with Liverpool, but the truth is, we’ve got more points at this stage than I predicted.

It’s a good cushion to have if we are going to survive.

 

What are your realistic aspirations for the season?

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK - Wednesday, July 16, 2014: Brondby IF's head coach Thomas Frank - now Brentford manager - during a preseason friendly match against Liverpool at Brøndby Stadion. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Being cliched, I would say finish 17th and I would be happy.

The reality is we don’t know this league. We don’t know how things may hit us if we have injuries or go on a bad run. All we can do is bank the points early.

Saying that, if we manage to get anything above 16th place in our first season, I think we will have done remarkably well.

If we go down, we’ll take it in our stride and battle again armed with more experience, funds to make us more self-sufficient and then go again.

We like the Championship, it’s a great division.

 

Who do you view as Brentford’s most important players this season?

Ivan Toney is without a shadow of a doubt a key player in the side. He’s the archetypal pain-in-the arse striker who happens to do everything.

He wins headers, feeds other attackers in and helps in defence. He’s literally all over the pitch.

It’s unfair to pick out one of our defenders and they have all been fantastic this season, but as a new Bee to the camp, centre-back Kristofer Ajer, who we bought for £13.5 million from Celtic, is an amazing ball-carrying centre-back.

His calmness on the ball is something to behold and he seems to spend more time in the opposition penalty area than his own (which could be a good or a bad thing).

Fellow centre backs Ethan Pinnock and Pontus Jansson have been fabulous as well, though.

I think Vitaly Janelt also deserves a mention. He cost us £500,000 from Bochum last season when Christian Norgaard got injured – the guy is on another level.

A man-machine tackling all over the park, intercepting, pressing and shooting. He’s amazing. An absolute steal.

 

Switching our attention to Liverpool, how are you assessing our title chances?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 18, 2021: Liverpool's Naby Keita (C) celebrates after scoring the third goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Crystal Palace FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Chelsea are looking hot I have to say. And Man City are Man City.

But Liverpool have a great side and a great manager, so who says they can’t give the other teams a good run for their money.

You have the players, you have the manager, but do you have the guts? Now that is the question.

 

Looking ahead to Saturday, who do you fear most?

I would be lying if I didn’t fear Mo Salah.

I also think Trent Alexander-Arnold is an exciting full-back who can cause some damage when he is on the money, so we need to watch out for that as we will both be playing a similar game.

 

Where do you see the key battles taking place?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 18, 2021: Liverpool's Sadio Mané during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Crystal Palace FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

This is going to be a real test for our defence of Ayer, Jansson and Pinnock in the middle flanked by Sergi Canos and Rico Henry as wing-backs.

They have been pretty rock-solid this season, letting in two goals in five games, which is pretty impressive.

Admittedly we still have some big games to come, but the defence has looked composed and ready for action.

You are also easily the best team we will have played so far, so we are going to have to be on the money to keep your attackers at bay.

 

For those Reds travelling, fill us in on what to expect…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 18, 2021: Liverpool supporters before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Crystal Palace FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The one thing you can be assured about Brentford is it’s a great place to be before and after the match. There are loads of pubs and the fans are really friendly.

We are happy to have a beer with the opposition as long as they show manners.

The pubs are not segregated so you can go where you like. We recommend The Griffin, The Globe, The Lord Nelson and The Black Dog, while The Express Tavern and One Over the Ait are closer to the new stadium.

In the stadium, away fans will be very unhappy that there is no beer on sale.

As for our new stadium, you are in the corner. It has a low roof and you can make loads of noise. It will be a great atmosphere inside the ground.

 

Finally, hit us with your prediction…

NORWICH, ENGLAND - Tuesday, September 21, 2021: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during the pre-match warm-up before the Football League Cup 3rd Round match between Norwich City FC and Liverpool FC at Carrow Road. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

I will be delighted if we could have a goal to score and not lose the match.

2-2 would suit me fine. Goals, but not losing.


Billy Grant writes, podcasts and vlogs for Beesotted (@Beesotted).

You can listen to Liverpool and Brentford fans’ opinions straight after the final whistle on their post-match podcast on PrideOfWest.London.



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