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Brentford vs Liverpool Odds, Pick: Bees Present Difficult Premier League Challenge to Reds

Brentford vs Liverpool Odds, Pick: Bees Present Difficult Premier League Challenge to Reds article feature image
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Justin Setterfield/Getty. Pictured: Rico Henry and Mohamed Salah.

Brentford vs. Liverpool Odds

Monday, Jan. 2
12:30 p.m. ET
USA Network
Brentford Odds +470
Liverpool Odds -185
Draw +350
Over/Under 2.5 (-172 / +140)
Both Teams to Score (Yes/No) (-164 / +128)
Odds via FanDuel. Get the latest soccer odds here.

Liverpool conceded in the first half once again on Friday at home against Leicester City, but the Reds were able to overcome that setback and beat Leicester 2-1 thanks to two own goals from the Foxes. It’s a short turnaround for Jurgen Klopp’s side as they now travel to London to take on Brentford on Monday night football.

The Bees are also on a short turnaround just three days after their buzzing away victory against West Ham in a London derby on Friday. Brentford are pushing for a top half finish in the league and are currently sitting in 10th, despite the betting market’s skepticism in them entering this Premier League season.

This fixture last season was one of the most exciting of the entire season and ended in a 3-3 draw. It’s known now that Brentford are a dangerous underdog at home, but this match last year proved Brentford were there to stay in the PL.

Brentford Catching Fire at Crucial Time

Brentford created more chances than both Tottenham and West Ham in their last two London derbies since returning from the World Cup break. Ivan Toney is in great form for his club, even if he could be suspended any day now for his breach of FA policy on gambling. If you were to pick a team most designed to exploit Liverpool’s woes in transition defense, Brentford might be the team to do so.

It all shows in the statistical profile. Brentford don’t create a ton of shots, but they’re very good at creating high quality ones. Liverpool’s defense still isn’t conceding a ton of shots per 90, but they’re getting opened up for high quality looks far more often. Brentford have created the fifth-most big scoring chances in the league this season despite being 13th in attacking penalty area touches and 14th in passes into the penalty area.

Brentford aren’t going to overwhelm you with their attack, but they are efficient and well connected to link effectively in those transition moments. Another area of major Liverpool regression has come on set piece defending. The Reds are conceding the third most xG per set piece in the Premier League.

The Bees scored twice from set pieces in last year’s fixture and have been the second-most efficient attack in xG per set piece. If you want to be an effective underdog in the Premier League against the traditional top six clubs, you have to be able to create attack without a lot of the ball and use set pieces as an equalizer. Brentford do both.

Their defense has certainly regressed this season and hasn’t been able to replicate the defensive solidity the Bees showcased last year, but the attack is just as good as last season and can and will cause problems for an aging and worsening Liverpool defensive structure.

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Liverpool Unable to Resolve Key Issues

The warning signs for Liverpool came at the tail end of last season when the defense started conceding first to start almost every match. The Reds were running out of gas from the sheer number of matches they played and hadn’t made the necessary squad reinforcements of young talent.

Liverpool came back this season and the team still works and is an excellent outfit overall, but the cracks are much more evident.

The Reds aren’t able to press as high as effectively. Their passes per defensive action has dropped off from top or second top of the league into fourth. The defensive line isn’t as high as it was during the peak Klopp-era dominance. The result of that is less game control and dominance of field tilt and possession.

Opponents get just a little more time on the ball to play balls in behind and through this defense. The results have been a defensive calamity. Liverpool have conceded 11.9 xGA in seven away matches and they have a negative xG differential away from Anfield. When the Reds went to Napoli in the Champions League, they conceded 4 xG.

The defense isn’t stopping crosses like it used to because the midfield isn’t as good at covering the space in the wide areas behind the full backs that love to get forward. Alisson is an elite shot-stopper and that helps paper over the cracks, but solid direct attacking teams like Newcastle, Crystal Palace and even Nottingham Forest exposed holes.

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Brentford vs. Liverpool Pick

Liverpool aren’t playing all that much differently tactically this season, rather they’re just less effective at executing it. When you play a really high defensive line but the press behind it is just a bit slow or lacking intensity, you get carved open in the Premier League.

Brentford are one of the teams that don’t have the talent level of the Reds but are perhaps made to expose their weaknesses. I don’t really want to lay juice on the Bees to score, so I prefer to attack the Liverpool defense in the first half at a plus-money price.

The Reds conceded early to Leicester, conceded a bunch of good looks early to Aston Villa, couldn’t’ stop Manchester City in the Carabao Cup and conceded early to Southampton before the World Cup. They’re not fixing the defensive issues anytime soon.

Picks: Brentford to score in the first half (+150) | Brentford +1 (-120 or better)

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