Premier League Odds, Picks | Liverpool vs Brentford Preview & Predictions (May 6)
Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images. Pictured: Brentford.
- Liverpool hosts Brentford on Saturday, May 6.
- Liverpool still has a slim chance at the top four in the Premier League, but face a tough task against a formidable Brentford side.
- Continue reading for Anthony Dabbundo’s Liverpool vs. Brentford preview and betting picks.
Liverpool vs Brentford Preview
|Over/Under||2.5 (-198 / +150)|
|Both Teams to Score (Yes/No)||(-165 / +130)|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get the latest soccer odds here.|
Liverpool’s top four chances may be slim, but the chances grew ever so slightly on Thursday after Brighton scored a 99th minute penalty kick to beat Manchester United.
The Reds need to win their final four matches of the season to get to 71 points and also hope United slips. The Red Devils would need to take eight or fewer points from their final five matches to enable Liverpool to pass them.
The run to 71 continues on Saturday at home against Brentford. The Bees may not be playing for much, but that hasn’t stopped Thomas Frank’s squad from being a thorn in the side of the top sides in the Premier League.
Brentford fits the profile of the exact kind of team that has caused problems for Liverpool all season. The Bees’ success on set pieces, ability in transition and defensive approach can make them an undervalued underdog. As much as the finally fit Reds offense is firing now, Liverpool’s continued defensive flaws make them overvalued.
Liverpool shifted Trent Alexander-Arnold into a more central midfield role and that has helped them in transition defense and ball recovery. The Reds still get the creative production from his passing range and progressive passing ability, but they are better able to overcome his deficiencies on defense.
The most notable statistic in the chart below for the matchup against Brentford is the improved counter-press success rate. The Reds are still trying to aggressively win the ball back upon loss of possession, but they have been more successful at actually winning the ball.
Brentford has an extremely passive defense that will let Liverpool have the ball and wait for the right moment to spring a counter. Liverpool has to be able to win the ball enough to prevent those Brentford exits and transition moments.
It’s a balance Liverpool has done a better job of finding recently, but Spurs’ second goal and multiple shots off the post showcased the flaws run deeper than one small tactical tweak. The Reds had no answer for Spurs’ prime tactic — Harry Kane coming up short and springing Heung-min Son in behind the defense. A better finishing day or more post luck would have seen Liverpool conceding more than three goals to a Spurs attack that had averaged just 1.17 xG per match post World Cup.
#LiverpoolFC defensive numbers and counter-press success rate have improved since Trent switched to the new role
*Small sample size warning pic.twitter.com/QwejQ9hXxq
— markstats (@markrstats) April 30, 2023
It’s true that Liverpool completely overwhelmed Spurs early and Arsenal late for stretches, but it hasn’t been a sustained 90-minute effort in any match. Even in the win against Leeds, when the Reds scored six goals and won going away, Leeds managed double-digit shots and produced 1.5 xG in the match.
It’s the same story over and over again for Brentford as an underdog.
When they’re playing against a big-six side, Thomas Frank has found a successful formula while the talent in attack is just good enough to get by and still be viable without committing a ton of numbers forward. The Bees don’t really press out of possession. They sit deep and generate rest periods where they defend without the ball without really being in danger of conceding a big chance.
Brentford doesn’t give you anything on set pieces with their big center backs. They don’t concede big scoring chances — seventh best in the league — and allow the longest average shot distance. Frank doesn’t always win, but he’s now gotten four points off Chelsea, a draw at Spurs and Arsenal, and beat Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United. They’ve become an auto bet in these spots, in part because the market has consistently undervalued them for a year.
Brentford doesn’t generate a lot of shot volume and thus is a dangerous favorite when needing to separate from opponents. But in this spot, the cherished underdog role, there’s no manager and profile I’d rather ride with than Frank’s Bees.
Liverpool vs Brentford Pick
Liverpool has struggled with teams who play extremely direct in transition play, and Brentford is top five in direct attacking speed and shortest pass sequence length. The top five includes Leeds, West Ham, Brentford, Nottingham Forest and Bournemouth. The Cherries beat Liverpool, Forest scored twice on them, West Ham and Leeds produced a goal and more than 1.0 xG.
Brentford uses a ton of crosses, set pieces and direct attacks to score, making them the perfect challenge to test Liverpool’s defense. The Reds’ three biggest weaknesses are those three areas and the tactical switch to protect Alexander-Arnold will be tested on Saturday.
Liverpool is projected at just -149 for me on the moneyline, and a 0.58 goal favorite. As a result, I’m going to take the Bees +1.25 at -120 and throw yet another sprinkle on both teams to score in the first half at +220 or better.
Brentford’s defensive approach could lead to an early stalemate, but it’s more likely that both attacks will find success. Brentford won’t be able to get out and will be under constant pressure, but when the Bees break out from the press, the big chances to score will come.
Pick: Brentford +1.25 (-120 at BetRivers); Both Teams to Score First Half (+250 at FanDuel)
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