Henry Jackson (@HenryJackson87) from This Is Anfield gives us the lowdown on Liverpool. You can also check out Dan from The Anfield Wrap on this week’s pre match podcast from The Globe pub (click below)

Liverpool have had a decent start. Are you happy with how things are going?

It’s been an ideal start to the season, with only two points dropped and one goal conceded in the opening five matches. League Cup progression has also been achieved.

The summer was a frustrating one, however, with Ibrahima Konate the only addition, despite calls for a midfielder to replace the brilliant Gini Wijnaldum and an attacking option to come in.

The key now is keeping key players fit, unlike last season. If that happens, there is absolutely no reason why Liverpool can’t challenge for the Premier League title.

You broke the mould a few years back winning the league. Briefly tell us about that season

 

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It was the season we all dreamed of as Liverpool fans and after 30 long years it was well worth it, even though we were cruelly denied the chance to celebrate it properly inside grounds at the end.

The Reds were simply unstoppable that season – winning 26 and drawing one of their first 27 matches, which still remains impossible to get your head around

Jurgen Klopp and that group of players will forever go down as legends, and rightly so.

What do you hope for this season?

I would love us to win a major trophy. As simple as that.

Last season was a complete freak campaign with endless injuries, empty grounds and VAR nonsense. But this feels like the real Liverpool again, so the excuses need to stop.

The domestic cups are of no great interest to me personally, but another Premier League or Champions League title would only add to his great team’s legend. If they don’t win one, they need to go close.

It’s going to be extremely difficult, with Man City and Chelsea are particularly strong. Man United will hang around, too. But as mentioned, Liverpool can definitely win as long as they are fortunate with injuries.

People talk about the Premier League being a division split into two parts. The big six superleague breakaway teams (or should I say the big five and Arsenal) and the rest who play out in two mini-leagues. Do you think this is a fair assessment?

To be honest, I now see it as a top four, with Liverpool, City, Chelsea and Manchester United miles ahead of anyone else.

I would be very surprised if they didn’t all comfortably qualify for the Champions League, with Leicester, Tottenham and Arsenal a fair bit below.

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Then there are the likes of West Ham and Everton, who will also likely be in the top-half, but otherwise, I don’t see a huge difference between the remaining clubs. Norwich look in all sorts of trouble, though.

The only way to potentially even things up is money-related, with salary caps certainly something that could help alleviate the issue.

I’ve always liked the way American sports do drafts, too, ensuring teams are relatively even, although it’s hard to see that ever happening in the Premier League.

We always thought your main rivals were Everton. But people tell us you dislike Man United more. Tell is a bit more about Liverpool rivalry and how does it play out?

I think this generally boils down to where you’re from.

If you’ve grown up or live in Liverpool itself, Everton will always be the team you want to beat the most because of the local bragging rights and the fact you bump into Blues left, right and centre.

I’m not from the city, however, and United have always been the team I despise more than anyone and want to beat most.

Part of that comes from being a young kid just as United started dominating under Alex Ferguson and they remain the one team I am desperate to lose every game. Loads of my mates also support them which doesn’t help – they’re from the south, what did you expect.

I think if you asked a million Liverpool fans who they dislike most it would be quite an even split between United and Everton, with City possibly also now entering that conversation – like Chelsea did in the mid 2000s when the rivalry was extremely bitter.

It’s quite often about which team you’re direct rivals with at a certain point.

Brentford’s main objective is survival this season. Compared to other teams over the years, and seeing us play fleetingly, how do you think we will get on?

I’ve been hugely impressed by what I’ve seen so far – eight points from five matches is a great return.

I watched you beat Arsenal in a pub in London with some angry Gooners on the table next to me, so naturally I took an immediate liking to the Bees.

Thomas Frank is an exciting, likeable manager a little in the mould of Klopp and he seems to have you playing the right way.

It is too early to judge you properly, however, because promoted teams can start well and then fade badly, as the likes of Hull and Blackpool have shown in the past.

The current evidence suggests you will be just fine, though, and I hope you do stay up. It’s nice having a new team in the league.

Who excites you on the pitch for Liverpool. Who could do better?

It’s hard to complain about the players we have, with five or six the best in the world in their position, in my opinion.

There’s always going to be bias involved, but I wouldn’t swap Alisson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk, Andy Robertson, Fabinho or Mohamed Salah for anyone in the world at the moment.

On top of that, Joel Matip is in the form of his life and is a real cult hero, Jordan Henderson is one of Liverpool’s greatest captains and a massively underrated player and Thiago is a joy to watch.

Sadio Mane and Diogo Jota haven’t quite got going this season, despite scoring a few, while Roberto Firmino has been injured. Those three all need to up it, with Salah carrying the attack too often.

Naby Keita is still yet to hit the heights we expected of him, mainly due to injuries, and we need him to go up a gear this season.

On our pre-match podcast (link above), Brentford director of football Phil Giles reckoned we could get a result from this match. Who do Liverpool have to look out for and what do you need to do to make sure that doesn’t happen?

As a Liverpool fan, I naturally look out for Sergi Canos and hope he does well.

It didn’t happen for him at Anfield, but he has clearly done brilliantly at Brentford and Reds supporters are happy for him.

We will all be wary of the former player curse haunting Liverpool on Saturday.

Left-back Rico Henry has always impressed me when I’ve seen him. He looks strong at both ends of the pitch, and without being rude tBrentford, I think he could end up at a bigger club over time.

It’s an obvious choice but Ivan Toney is also a very good striker and is showing that he can cut it in the Premier League.

He was superb in the Championship and always caught my eye. The manner in which he has taken to this league like a duck to water is so impressive.

I don’t think Liverpool will be especially fearful of one specific player, even though Toney stands out as a threat. It will be more to do with silencing the home crowd and not allowing you to be more intense and hungry than us in your game. It is also vital that the Reds don’t underestimate Brentford – if they get complacent and allow the game to drift, they could find themselves in trouble.

The Arsenal game showed what the Bees are capable of against big-name opponents. Salah may have to track Henry on occasions, or Trent could get outnumbered – whether or not the left-back is willing to risk pushing forward and leaving Salah remains to be seen.

Score prediction

I’ll go for Brentford 1-2 Liverpool.

I would be surprised if the Reds have it easy, with the boisterous home crowd roaring the Bees on in front of the Sky Sports cameras.

May the better team on the day win.

 

PUBS IN BRENTFORD AND TRAVEL NEWS

For Liverpool fans coming to the New Griffin Park for the first time, there are plenty of pub options pre and post-match and all are most welcoming and away-fan-friendly (as it should be).

The pub areas are split into two zones. There is the area around Brentford’s old Griffin Park Stadium. The pubs there are still very busy on match day frequented by Bees locals before heading down the road to the stadium at Kew Bridge which is only 15 mins walk.

Then there is the area in and around the stadium in Kew Bridge.

It is possible, if you have a good early start, to savour a few pubs in and around Griffin Park and Brentford zonebefore heading off to the pubs in the Kew zone or even vice versa if you so fancy.

Pubs in Griffin Park/Brentford zone

When at Griffin Park, Brentford was well known for its four pubs – one on each corner of the ground. Three are still operating.

The Griffin is closest to the old away end and has always been very popular with both home and away fans and has its regulars who still make the journey down to the new stadium from there on matchday. The New Inn is on the other side which used to also be popular with away fans before the move. The Brook pub is the other option if you want to savour a pub in and around what is left of our old home. Worth a peep if you want to reminisce about old Brentford

About 5 mins walk away from the old ground are two pubs which are enormously popular.

The Globe (Windmill Rd) is a ‘lively but comfortable’ pub on matchday. Incredibly friendly and cosy, it has always been popular with a selection of away fans who fancied having a beer a few minutes further walk away from the ground without having to queue six persons deep. After the move to the new ground, The Globe has retained many of lot its regulars from the Griffin Park days and with screens throughout the pub and in its sheltered beer garden, it shows both Premier League and EFL football before and after each match.

Meanwhile around the corner, The Lord Nelson (Enfield Rd) is another incredibly friendly and cosy away-friendly pubs about one minute walk from The Globe. Again with a TV screen for live sports and a lovely beer garden, this is another pub frequented by “away fans in the know”.

The other pub worth checking out in the Griffin Park region is The Black Dog Beer House, formerly The Albany, on Albany Road, if you like your real ales.

There are plenty of other pubs in and around Brentford High Street including real ale pub Magpie and Crown (Brentford High Street) and the cozy Brewery Tap (Catherine Wheel Road) near the river.

For a Griffin Park area pub crawl before heading over to Kew we recommend the following:
Take the Piccadilly line to Northfields station. Turn left and walk for 2 mins and you will come to The Plough (Northfields Ave). Then walk to The Lord Nelson (10 min walk from The Plough) & then The Globe (1 min walk from The Nelson) en-route before hitting The Griffin (8 min walk from The Globe) and then The Black Dog (2 mins from The Griffin). You can also try and do the other three pubs on the corner whilst down here if you fancy.

Then you can then either walk (15 mins from The Globe/The Nelson and The Griffin/Black Dog ) or take a trainfrom Brentford station (which is 5 mins walk away from both The Globe/The Nelson and The Griffin/Black Dog)or a bus (237/267) to Kew Bridge.

Trains run at 24 and 54 mins past the hour to Kew Bridge from Brentford and take 2 mins.

Pubs in the Kew Bridge zone

Right next to Kew Bridge station, you will find the Express Tavern – an ale pub with a retro feel. The pub has been refurbished in readiness for the new football season and needless to say, is popular before the match due to its close proximity to the stadium.

Across the road by the river is One Over the Ait – a spacious boozer right next to Kew Bridge. This pub is situated on the location of the now-demolished Oxford & Cambridge pub where Brentford Football Club was founded in 1889.

Across Kew Bridge and the River Thames, there are two pubs on Kew Green – the Cricketers and the Greyhound – very close to the pier where Brentford fans have embarked on their away journeys by water to F*lham, Orient, Charlton, West Ham and even Southend.

North of the river along hoity-toity Strand on the Green, you will find The Steam Packet, in an old Cafe Rouge, and The Bell. A bit further down are The City Barge and the Bulls Head – two pubs side-by-side in which you would often see Ant and Dec hanging out.

There is also The Pilot which you can get to coming out of the BACK entrance of Gunnersbury station and we believe the old John Bull pub at the front of the station has been refurbed as The Gunnersbury but we have never been there so can’t give it a 👍🏾or a 👎🏻

Transport to Brentford and Kew Bridge

The simplest on paper to get to Brentford FC from town is to get the tube to Waterloo (Northern, Jubilee lines) or Vauxhall (Victoria Line) and then take the Overground train to Kew Bridge, which is right by the stadium. Brentford is one stop further on if you are on an ‘Original Griffin Park Pub’ mission.

With trains from Waterloo being only twice an hour (22 and 52) and taking 28 minutes, we normally recommend people jump on the tube from Kings Cross or Euston and head to Northfields or South Ealing on the Piccadilly Line as it is quicker (including the time getting across London and waiting at Waterloo) and trains are more frequent.

It is only 40 mins max by tube to Northfields station meaning you could be in a Brentford pub within an hour of embarking your train at Kings Cross, Euston or Liverpool Street.

The other station option is Gunnersbury. You can walk to the stadium from Gunnersbury tube station (District line) in 25 minutes or take a bus (H91, 237, 267, 110), but note that it is closed for entry for one hour after the match.

For the Brentford/Griffin Park pubs you can get the Piccadilly line tube to Northfields station from King’s Crossor Euston (35 mins) then walk down to The Plough, The Globe, The Lord Nelson and The Griffin and other pubs from there.

The new stadium is around 25 minutes’ walk from South Ealing station – if you don’t fancy Gunnersbury – or you can get on the 65 bus from across the road which will drop you almost outside in 15 minutes.

You can also pick up the 65 bus from Ealing Broadway (district and central line) which will take you to the new stadium in 25 mins.

You can check out Transport for London’s guide to travel on the Tube and Overground.