Liverpool and Brentford played out an entertaining 3-3 draw at the Brentford Community Stadium in their English Premier League matchday six encounter. The Reds missed out on an opportunity to open up a three-point gap at the summit of the league.
Newly-promoted Brentford have started the season in great form, defeating Arsenal and Wolverhampton Wanderers in their opening five matches. They faced a different kind of test against the unbeaten and in-form Liverpool in front of their own fans.
Liverpool started the match on the front foot, as expected, and almost found themselves ahead inside the opening seven minutes as Mohamed Salah beat Brentford goalkeeper David Raya only to see his effort cleared off the line by Kristoffer Ajer. Only four minutes later, the roles were reversed as Joel Matip had to block a goal-bound header from Bryan Mbeumo on the goal line.
The home side took the lead against the run of play in the 27th minute. Brentford and former Liverpool winger Sergi Canos sent in a brilliant freekick to the near post where Ivan Toney backheeled the ball to the far post for Ethan Pinnock to smash the ball into an unguarded net from close range to open his Premier League account.
The Bees were buzzing after opening the scoring, but Liverpool quickly restored parity within four minutes of going behind through hardworking Portuguese forward Diogo Jota. The forward rose highest to meet a brilliant cross from captain Jordan Henderson, levelling matters almost immediately.
Brentford keeper Raya had to be at his best to keep his side in the game as he saved brilliantly from Jota from point-blank range after the forward reacted quickest to a Curtis Jones shot that came off the upright in the last meaningful act of the first half.
Liverpool took the initiative in the second half and took the lead against Brentford in the 55th minute for the first time in the game. A brilliantly dinked pass from Fabinho caught the Brentford backline on its heels and allowed Salah to just slide a finish beyond the goalkeeper to make it 2-1 after a VAR check. It was the Egyptian’s 100th Premier League goal in only 151 appearances, making him the fastest Liverpool player in history to reach the tally.
The resilience shown by Brentford ensured that Liverpool were in the lead for only eight minutes before Vitaly Janelt equalised for the Bees. Brentford captain Pontus Jansson had crashed a header against the bar before Janelt saw his header loop over Liverpool goalkeeper Allison to make it 2-2 after 63 minutes.
Academy graduate Jones justified his start with a strike in the 67th minute as he put Liverpool back in front. His effort from outside the box took a slight deflection that wrong-footed Raya in the Brentford goal and put Liverpool 3-2 up.
Brentford were not prepared to let Liverpool have the final say, and substitute Yoane Wissa came off the bench to equalise for the Bees once more in the 82nd minute with his first Premier League goal. The former Lorient forward chipped the ball over Allison after picking up a loose ball in the Liverpool box.
Brentford thought they had won the game when Toney scored in the 87th minute, but the goal was ruled out for offside. Both sides failed to find a winner and had to settle for a point apiece after 90 minutes.
The point against Brentford ensured Liverpool returned to the top of the Premier League standings, one point above Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United and Everton. The Reds will face champions Manchester City in the league next week.