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LONDON -- The injuries are mounting, there are still questions to be asked about whether there is a title-winning defense in Jurgen Klopp's side and the sheer weight of the fixture list is awe-inspiring. Then again when Mohamed Salah is returning to the ranks such concerns look altogether trifling as Liverpool keep up their pursuit of glory across four fronts.

Losing Curtis Jones, Diogo Jota and Darwin Nunez before a ball had been kicked in the first half means the ramifications of this 4-1 win at Brentford may be felt quite profoundly in the weeks and months ahead. Liverpool will certainly be fearing the worst with regards to Jota, stretchered off after 35 minutes having landed heavily on the side of his right knee. Jones, meanwhile, left west London on crutches. A side that had been rocked by Alisson's 11th-hour withdrawal following a recurrence of his hamstring injury might well have been blown off course, particularly in a bright start from Brentford.

Instead, Klopp was afforded an unwelcome opportunity to flex the depth he has available to him as Liverpool moved five points clear at the top of the Premier League, for now at least. Had he not been recovering from the muscle injury that forced him back from the Africa Cup of Nations early then Salah, featuring in the league for the first time since New Year's Day, would certainly not have been one of those Liverpool turned to early on. From the moment he entered the fray, he betrayed no sign of being rushed back in the fashion that Klopp so robustly denied Trent Alexander-Arnold had been. This was Salah at his coruscating best, live to every opening on the pitch, whether a defender who had failed to spot a dangerous moment or a teammate about to find space to get a shot away.

With Jota looking like a serious doubt for an extended spell and games coming so thick and fast that even a "little" issue like Nunez's could sideline him when needed, Liverpool will have to rely on Salah even more than they usually do. Certainly, Klopp, keen though he was to toast a hard-fought win, is fearing the worst.

"We have to see how much [of a cost the win came at]," said the Liverpool manager. "Curtis had a knock on the lower part of the shin or above the ankle. We will see what it means, he wasn't 100 percent sure. That Curtis cannot play on tells you it must be something because he would have played on at all costs.

"Diogo looks probably the worst, I didn't see it back but I heard the pictures didn't look great. We have to see there. Darwin we took off because he said he feels [something] really a little but that was obviously enough today to push the brake and that's what we did.

"You can count the games coming up. It would be helpful if we had more than one for each position. We have to see how we deal with that now. It's all fine. That's the situation. I cannot remember one day since I've been here where there have been no problems at all. We have problems. We don't know how big they are. As long as we have 11 players we will go for it."

Battered and bruised they may be but they remain on course. Certainly, in the early stages at the Brentford Community Stadium, it looked like the hosts might well extend an unbeaten home record against Liverpool in the league that dates back to 1938. One-touch passing moves through midfield found the space around Wataru Endo and Alexis Mac Allister as Thomas Frank's side flew down the left, Conor Bradley enduring one of the toughest tests of his fledgling Premier League career.

"They had these counter-attacks and they look really good," said Klopp. "I like it when Toney and [Neal] Maupay: boom, boom, gone. We had to adapt our protection in these moments."

Had Ivan Toney's poked early effort slipped inside Caoimhin Kelleher's far post then this game could well have been beyond Liverpool, who struggled throughout the opening 35 minutes to quell the hosts on the counter. Even with Endo anchoring the midfield, this is a team that can be guilty of overcommitting to its attack, leaving gaps in behind that meant Brentford matched their visitors 15 shots for 15. Toney needed only to pick better moments to apply the finishing touch to breakaways. Fortunately for Liverpool, he did not and they posed more than enough issues of their own in transition moments.

Ivan Toney's shots in Brentford's 4-1 defeat to Liverpool TruMedia

A Brentford free kick dropped at the boot of Virgil van Dijk, whose hoist upfield gave Jota the chance to bounce over Sergio Reguilon. His flick dropped right in the path of Darwin Nunez, the man who is never knowingly predictable in front of goal. One-on-one with Mark Flekken every scenario seemed plausible except the one he executed, a pitching wedge of a clip over the goalkeeper that nestled safely in the net.

By that time Liverpool had already lost Curtis Jones. Before too long they would be deprived of Jota as well, an awkward landing on his knee spelling what could be serious trouble for one of the Premier League's most instinctive figures. The pain of their exits can be mitigated somewhat when Ryan Gravenberch and in particular Salah enter the fray.

The Premier League's leading provider of goals and assists weighed in with one of each in a second half where Brentford seemed a little too rushed in pursuit of parity. Liverpool are not the same defensive force as their rivals in the title race, had the Bees focused more on holding firm they might have set up a grandstand finish. Instead, their midfield three were a little over-occupied by their desire to support Toney and there is no side better equipped to rip through gaps than Jurgen Klopp's, particularly when Salah wants to remind the league what they have been missing.

A laser of a pass into the space on the edge of the box found Alexis Mac Allister charging forward to poke the ball beyond Flekken. Salah's 24th goal involvement of the Premier League season saw him anticipate a flick-on from Cody Gakpo, who replaced Nunez at the half, better than Nathan Collins. 

Brentford's resolve was not quelled and this game might have taken a very different turn if Toney's snaffling of the rebound off a Reguilon cross had immediately followed a penalty that wasn't when Andy Robertson clattered into the center forward. Instead, they found themselves on the end of another defeat to a title contender that looked rather more lopsided on the scoreboard than on the pitch, Gakpo punishing mistakes from the off-color Collins and substitute Saman Ghoddos to roll in Liverpool's fourth.

"We were brilliant in the first 35 minutes, the best team actually," said Frank. "We should have shown coolness to create a bigger chance or goal.

"If you want to beat the best in the Premier League you have to be perfect. We weren't perfect."

A scoreline that flattered Liverpool this may have been but given the testing circumstances of the first half it would be a bit much to suggest that fortune had favored Klopp over the course of the day. Indeed it may well be that damage has been done to his squad that will be profoundly felt in the weeks to come. For now, however, the league leaders can bask in the glow of Salah, his blinding qualities ready to obscure any other issues over the coming months.