Liverpool find scoring backups to beat Brentford 3-0 in EPL

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Liverpool found the goalscoring alternatives needed in the absence of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane as their stand-ins stepped up in a 3-0 Premier League win over Brentford on Sunday.

Midfielder Fabinho proved an unlikely solution with his third goal in eight days with the opener just before halftime. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and substitute Takumi Minamino netted in the second half.

A 0-0 draw against 10-man Arsenal in the League Cup on Thursday had raised questions about how Jürgen Klopp’s side would cope while Salah and Mane remain at the African Cup of Nations, but this result offered more hope for the coming weeks.

With a first clean sheet in five league matches and a first league win since mid-December, Liverpool moved above Chelsea in second place but 11 points behind Manchester City with a game in hand.

Corners have proved an area of frustration in recent weeks for Liverpool, rarely threatening at all. So for the opener to come from a set-piece was something of a boost.

Trent Alexander-Arnold produced his 10th assist in 21 matches with the corner from which Fabinho headed home at the far post in the 44th minute.

Since the start of the 2018-19 season, only Bayern Munich’s Thomas Muller (64) and Paris Saint-Germain’s Lionel Messi (47) have had more assists in Europe’s big five leagues than the right back (42).

Bryan Mbeumo wasted an opportunity to equalize early in the second half when he missed the target with only goalkeeper Alisson Becker to beat.

Liverpool’s second goal eventually arrived in the 69th minute when Andy Robertson’s left-wing cross was met by Oxlade-Chamberlain’s diving header at the far post.

It was his last intervention as he departed with an ankle injury to further increase Klopp’s headache up front.

But his replacement, Minamino, made an instant impact by side-footing the ball into the net in the 77th after a mistake in the Brentford defense.

The London club remained 10 points above the relegation zone.

Harrison’s hattrick gives Leeds 3-2 win at West Ham in EPL

Jack Harrison scored a hattrick as Leeds overcame a long list of absentees to beat West Ham 3-2 in the Premier League on Sunday.

West Ham hit back twice through Jarrod Bowen and Pablo Fornals, but Harrison’s well-taken third goal ended the London club’s four-match winning streak.

Leeds traveled to West Ham without nine first-team players — and two others went off injured before halftime — and had seven teenagers, including 15-year-old Archie Gray, on the bench.

But unlike Arsenal, which got Sunday’s game at Tottenham postponed due to a player shortage, Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa said “we don’t have any reasons to ask for it” to be called off.

The Hammers are also low on numbers, missing Tomas Soucek through COVID-19 again, and three matches in a week looked to have caught up with them.

Leeds took the lead in the 10th minute. Luke Ayling’s ball over the top sent Raphinha clear down the right and his cutback found Mateusz Klich in the area. Kilch’s shot was beaten away by goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski, but Adam Forshaw was first to the loose ball and laid it back for Harrison to net.

Leeds’ injury problems deepened midway through the first half when both Forshaw and Junior Firpo limped off.

West Ham equalized in the 34th, with Bowen giving Stuart Dallas the slip to head Aaron Cresswell’s corner into the net.

Leeds retook the lead almost immediately when Ayling flicked on a corner from Raphina and Harrison pounced at the far post.

Dan James twice had the chance to extend the advantage in first-half stoppage time, but he shot tamely straight at Fabianski and then curled another opportunity wide.

Instead, West Ham leveled again seven minutes into the second half when Fornals skipped past Ayling and Pascal Struijk in the area before wrongfooting Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier with a clever finish.

However, the match swung the way of Leeds again on the hour mark after Nikola Vlasic lost possession on the halfway line. Raphinha galloped forward and sprayed a superb throughball to Harrison, who expertly lifted his shot over Fabianski to complete a treble.

Leeds moved to nine points above the relegation zone. West Ham remained in fourth place, two points ahead of Arsenal having played two more games.

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