Home News Why Liverpool must be wary of The Ivan Toney Show despite Brentford...

Why Liverpool must be wary of The Ivan Toney Show despite Brentford “free hit”

14
0

Liverpool can put the pressure on their title rivals with a win at Brentford this weekend, but Bees supporters know all about upsetting the Reds.

Jurgen Klopp‘s side won 3-1 at home to Burnley in their last outing and have enjoyed the luxury of having no midweek action to focus on.

That means Liverpool should be well-rested for west London on Saturday lunchtime, with three points essential in the Premier League title battle.

A win would put the Reds five points clear at the top, potentially only for a few hours, but dropped points would feel hugely dispiriting.

With the match edging closer, Henry Jackson spoke to TIA opposition fan regular Billy Grant (@billythebee99) from Beesotted Brentford (@Beesotted) to get the lowdown on the season to date, discuss both managers and much more.

 

How have things been since we last spoke in November?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 11, 2023: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Brentford FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

With the injuries building, Brentford were always going to be under the cosh eventually.

Rico Henry, Aaron Hickey, Bryan Mbeumo, Kevin Schade, Josh Dasilva, Nathan Collins, Mathias Jensen and Kristoffer Ajer all still out.

December and January were like Groundhog Day. We couldn’t buy a result losing game after game – six losses out of seven – and you could see confidence sapping from the players.

Some of the fanbase were getting restless, too.

The key turning point was the return of Ivan Toney. Live on TV was The Ivan Toney Show to broadcast his massively hyped return, and boy did the show live up to the hype.

So we can relax a bit now and go into our run of matches against Liverpool, Man City, West Ham and Arsenal knowing each game is a free hit.

If we manage to come out with even three points from those 12, that’s a bonus.

 

Who has stood out and struggled this season?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 11, 2023: Brentford's goalkeeper Mark Flekken during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Brentford FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 3-0. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

If you asked me before the Man City game who has struggled, I would have definitely said goalkeeper Mark Flekken.

Signed in the summer, he seemed to walk on the pitch every week with lead boots. He would rarely dive and seem be unable to make what looked like a fairly routine save.

His performances in goal definitely unsettled our already makeshift defence.

Against City, however, he was phenomenal, pulling off four or five crucial saves in the first half to earn him Man of the Match.

A few days later against Wolves, he then makes another incredible save to keep the score 1-0 – a save that turned the game.

As for the player who has been on it, there are few. Ethan Pinnock rarely sets a foot wrong and Christian Norgaard is just a master controlling the centre of the park.

You have to give credit to Neal Maupay for his seven goals and four assists to accompany his occasional shithousery that completely winds up the opposition players, too.

 

What would represent a good finish now?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 11, 2023: Brentford's Bryan Mbeumo (R) runs past Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Brentford FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

I predicted we would finish 12th in the middle of our winless run in December and I will stick to that, which is amazing if you consider our injuries.

 

What are your thoughts on Jurgen Klopp’s resignation?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 10, 2024: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp celebrates after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Burnley FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 3-1. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Jurgen Klopp is a top, top manager and also a top, top bloke.

It will be a real shame to lose him from English football, especially if you look at some of the doughnuts we’re left with!

 

Would Thomas Frank be a good replacement?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 11, 2023: Brentford's manager Thomas Frank during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Brentford FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Of course. Thomas Frank is brilliant. He is tactically aware and a brilliant man-manager.

But he knows where his bread is buttered and he still has a job to do in west London, and I’m not talking Chelsea, QPR or that mob over at Fulham.

Frank knows we aren’t trigger-finger if the team has a slump, so as long as we are doing the right things, our owners will back him.

He has got a job for life if he wants one.

 

How do you assess Liverpool’s title chances?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 10, 2024: Liverpool's Darwin Núñez celebrates after scoring the third goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Burnley FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

I still think Liverpool have a very good chance.

Let us beat Man City and Arsenal after upsetting you at the weekend and we will clear the way for you (he says cheekily!).

 

Where will the key battles take place on Saturday?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, October 26, 2023: Liverpool's Diogo Jota (R) celebrates with team-mate Darwin Núñez after scoring the first goal during the UEFA Europa League Group E matchday 3 game between Liverpool FC and Toulouse FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Our defence are going to have our work cut out. After losing both full-backs, we have been struggling in that area.

Bringing Sergio Regulion in has made us more stable at the back in the last few games, but we will have to work hard as the Wolves clean sheet was our first one for 15 matches since we beat Chelsea 2-0 at their place.

There is a possibility that Pinnock may be out after picking up a knock at Molineux, which would be really bad news for us.

Jensen also went off early and he is a key player for us, so let’s see.

 

Hit us with your prediction, Billy…

LONDON, ENGLAND - Monday, January 2, 2023: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp (L) chats with Brentford's manager Thomas Frank before the FA Premier League match between Brentford FC and Liverpool FC at the Brentford Community Stadium. Brentford won 3-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

On our podcast, I went 2-1 to the mighty Bees, which is more of a rush of blood to the head after a fine win in the Midlands than anything.

It is very much a free hit for us this weekend.

Saying that, we always pull a funky result out the bag each season and I predict one from either the Liverpool, Man City or Arsenal games.

We may as well start with the first one then – sorry Reds supporters – but best of luck for the rest of the season after you play us!


• Billy Grant (@billythebee99) blogs and podcasts for Beesotted (@Beesotted). The Beesotted Liverpool Preview podcast is live NOW at PrideOfWest.London.