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  1. 4 points
    Saturday evening sees the Reds travel to West London to take on Brentford. It has been 32 years since the two teams met in a competitive fixture which was in the sixth round of the FA Cup and Liverpool won 4-0. And you have to go all the way back to 1947 for the last league fixture which adds a special sense of occasion to this encounter. Thomas Frank’s side have looked anything but overawed by making the big step up to the Premier League so far and their fans are bound to be in fine voice at Brentford Community stadium. Dave Lane from @Beesotted Brentford gave TLW an insight into their unerring belief and how a Liverpool academy graduate has turned into a Bees fan favourite. It is always good talking to fans of clubs who haven’t been in the top flight for a long period of time and learning about their journey. Can you talk a little bit about the ups and downs of your journey as a Brentford fan and what the moment felt like when you were finally promoted to the top flight after 74 years and that first Premier League game against Arsenal? Getting promoted at Wembley was one of the most euphoric and surreal moments in out Brentford supporting lives… after so many failed play-off attempts there was a part of us all that never believed we’d witness it. That’s all behind us now, but it will never be forgotten. The build up to the game against Arsenal was amazing too, maybe more of an event than a match, but to be back in the stadium with our mates, and surrounded my likeminded Bees, was special… so was the atmosphere and result. It has given us belief and we know we aren’t out of our depth at this level. Can you tell our readers about Thomas Frank. To a outsider he looks like a typical new age manager with clear methods and Football philosophy as well as a figure who can connect to fans and players alike How is he viewed by the Bees fanbase? Thomas Frank is the perfect fit for Brentford and such a nice guy too. He’s certainly not an old school football manager and his relationship with the players shows how much they respect him, the perfect man for a young and promising set of pros, he keeps them grounded and focussed, as well as believing in them when things aren’t always going to plan. Frank has had his doubters, even as recently as last season, and he’s only ever a couple of defeats away from that element to start sharpening the knives again. Frank is the club’s most successful post war manager and the vast majority of supporters hope he’s at Brentford for many years to come. Quite often new sides to the Premier League find the step up in standard quite daunting and the defence is extremely overworked. However for the Bees it has been remarkably resolute with three clean sheets from five games. Who are the key players behind that impressive statistic? You’re right, so far we have been solid and well marshalled at the back, Pontus Jansson and Kristoffer Ajer in particular have been immense. Sergi Canos, although not a ‘natural’ right-back has risen to the challenge, and Rico Henry is, in my view, England standard at left-back. David Raya in goal has ironed out the more erratic edge to his play and is a proper sweeper-keeper with excellent distribution and reactions. One of the longer-term members of the Brentford squad is a former Liverpool academy graduate in Sergi Canos. How important has he been to your progress over the years? Sergi is another perfect fit at Brentford and as previously mentioned has stepped up this season and relished his chance in the top flight. After his initial loan period from Liverpool, he chose to move to Norwich, but he was soon back in West London where he has cemented a place as a modern club legend. He spent a long time out injured with a knee ligament injury and there were question marks as to whether he’d fully recover his speed, but his versatility and infectious enthusiasm are pivotal in the system we play. He loves Brentford as much as Brentford loves him. We know that London is a crowded market for Premier League football teams. Is there one particular team that Brentford fans would love to beat or are they all in the enemy camp? This season’s all about establishing our place at the top table and we will take our wins anywhere and against anyone, however, I’d be a liar if I didn’t want us to beat Chelsea as West London bragging rights over them would be immense. Without Fulham and QPR in the same division, though, a win is a win this campaign at least. We touched on the clash against the Gunners at the beginning, how much are the fans looking forward to taking on one of Europe’s elite teams on Saturday evening? Liverpool coming to Brentford is one of the jewels of the fixture list plain and simple. The players will want to prove themselves and the fans will want to savour every moment. Liverpool fans will be welcome in all our pubs and it should be a great afternoon on and off the pitch. Can’t wait! Is there one Liverpool player that you admire the most? Liverpool are a class act, Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, van Dijk, Diogo Jota, are all world class, and there’s a player in every position that will push us to the limit. But that’s why we are here, to test ourselves against the best. You’ll have plenty to contend with too. How do you think your manager will set up the team for the big clash and who is the Brentford player that needs to lead from the front to claim a result? Thomas Frank won’t change things at all in my view, we play our 3/5 at the back football the same whoever the opposition and we will go toe to toe, which may not work out in our favour after 90 minutes, but that’s our mindset. We will create big chances, but we have to take them when they come our way. Have you got a score prediction? My head says 3-1 Liverpool, my heart says 2-1 Brentford. I'll go with my heart every time! COYB.
  2. 1 point
    Tomorrow afternoon sees the two best Premier League teams of the modern era clash once again when Man City travel to Anfield to take on the Reds. While the talent on the pitch is clear to see, it is just as much a fascinating battle on the touchline between two managers at the top of their game. The Premier League has witnessed some lingering managerial feuds over the years from Alex Ferguson and Arsenal Wenger to Jose Mourinho and Rafa Benitez and plenty in between. Whenever these two heavyweights clash here is naturally going to be some flash points during the ninety minutes but Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola have a very healthy respect towards each other. Prior to their current tenures, the two men went head to head in Germany and in keeping with their qualities as top class managers, nothing separates them in their head to head record. Klopp and Guardiola have met 21 times in all competitions with eight wins, eight losses and five draws a piece. And going by their words ahead of this encounter, the ability to push each other to new heights has made them the elite managers that they are today. The Mirror reported Klopp as saying: It's really one of the biggest challenges for all managers in football to face Pep’s teams because they are so good. “I like that because it is one of these games where people say about the Premier League, Bundesliga, Champions League - on this level there is no mercy for mistakes. “If you make a mistake you get punished, and that is pretty much the game against Man City always. So you had better not make a lot of mistakes because otherwise you will get a knock. “They have different possible organisations, a clear structure with some changes from time to time. Let’s see what Pep does this year. But the main thing is to keep the ball as long as possible - that gives the opposing team no chance to finish any kind of situation.” Klopp is certainly not afraid to bring some talking points to the table in his pre-match press conferences, but he insists it is nothing personal and despite having different personalities, they share a mutual goal to make their team the best it can be. “I annoy him with things I say in press conferences that are not meant to say anything bad about him or Man City. Somebody on the City staff tells him that 'Klopp said this' and I can see in his conference he gets really angry. Sorry for that! “No, I respect him a lot. I want to win desperately, he wants to do that, and we are completely different personalities, but nonetheless I like him and I respect him.” “About two years ago we had a few situations where we went together to Manchester for awards, and our families met. And I can tell you that somebody with a family like Pep Guardiola must be a good person, because Mrs and the kids are outstanding and that is what is important to me. So during the game whatever he says and whatever I say; it is not that important.” For his part, the Spaniard believes both teams share a respect due to their excellence over the past few years. Since I arrived here - maybe not the first year - Liverpool were always there. "Jurgen Klopp's teams helped me to be a better manager. He put me at another level, to think about it, to prove myself, to be a better manager. That is the reason why I am still in this business. "The last four years, all the time, we were both there. It's the biggest compliment that both clubs were there. Man City broke a long 18-year hoodoo in February when they collected all three points in front of an empty Anfield aided in part by some very uncharacteristic mistakes by Alisson. But with the Reds back to full strength, Guardiola expects a stern test on and off the pitch. “Hopefully we can handle it in a good way. I’m pretty sure the players would prefer to play with fans at Anfield than without. Everything is more alive, it’s more difficult. “I’m very pleased Anfield is full again and we can go there to play a game. It’s nice that the people are back and we can enjoy a fantastic atmosphere there. “I don’t know the reasons why we didn’t win at Anfield over the 18 years. Over my five years, it was because they are an exceptional team.It’s not about intimidation. It’s about the quality of the opponent. When you don’t win, it’s because they are so good.” A new chapter in this fascinating rivalry is set to be written.