Jurgen Klopp saluted the patience and desire demonstrated by Liverpool during their 3-0 win over Brentford.

Goals from Fabinho, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Takumi Minamino lifted the Reds above Chelsea to reach second place in the Premier League table.

Despite enjoying 74 per cent of possession and registering 12 shots before the break, Klopp's side had to be patient for the breakthrough against stubborn opponents at Anfield.

It arrived just before half-time as Fabinho headed in from Trent Alexander-Arnold’s corner, and they pressed home their advantage after the break with two goals in eight minutes sealing the points.

Klopp was pleased by the way his players were able to adapt to the challenges posed by the Bees.

"It's extremely uncomfortable to play against Brentford, to be honest," Klopp told BBC Sport. "They usually play differently, but the way they play against us is really difficult.

"There were so many moments where the ball was in the air and the moment it was on the ground, we had to start playing football.

"It was not always fluent, but that's how it is very often – the set-pieces can be the opener. That was the case today. We could have scored maybe before, but then the next two goals were outstanding.

"You need patience. You cannot lose focus or get sloppy. You have to stay full of desire even when you don't find direction. We had to switch sides, play it quick and all these kinds of things. We really controlled it in the second half."

Fabinho got the ball rolling with his third goal in as many games, having netted twice in the FA Cup win over Shrewsbury Town last weekend.

"We needed these three points and a good performance, so it was nice to do it in front of our fans," the Brazilian midfielder said. "It will be good to grow our confidence.

"It's always nice to score here at Anfield. When I can help the team in the offensive part of the pitch, it's always important for me as well.

"The team played really well with the ball. We created a lot of opportunities to score. It is a chance for everybody to show their quality and step up. We did that today."

Liverpool moved second in the Premier League with a 3-0 victory over Brentford at Anfield.

These two sides played out a thrilling six-goal draw in the reverse fixture but Sunday's contest was decidedly more one-sided, as Jurgen Klopp's men showed a good reaction to their goalless draw with 10-man Arsenal in the EFL Cup.

Fabinho headed in a first-half opener before Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's first league goal of the season and a tap-in from Takumi Minamino sealed the points in the closing stages.

Virgil van Dijk went closest to breaking the deadlock in the opening half-hour, his attempt following a corner brilliantly turned away from the bottom-right corner by Alvaro Fernandez.

The hosts created little else but gifted Brentford some openings with some slack play at the back, with Ivan Toney shooting narrowly wide after a poor Joel Matip clearance.

An offside flag then intervened in another promising Brentford break, and they were behind three minutes later, Fabinho nodding in at the far post after Trent Alexander-Arnold's inswinging corner had bounced through a crowded box.

Bryan Mbeumo fired just past Alisson's left-hand post at the start of the second half, while at the other end, Diogo Jota smashed a shot off the base of the post and Fernandez smothered Roberto Firmino's rebound.

Fernandez again denied Jota when the Portugal forward burst into the box, but Liverpool's pressure eventually told, Oxlade-Chamberlain diving at the back post to head home Andy Robertson's cross from the left.

Firmino then pounced on Brentford's sluggish attempt to pass out from the back before laying the ball off to Minamino to slot home a birthday goal.

What does it mean? Liverpool looking like Manchester City's sole challengers

City's 1-0 win over Chelsea put them 12 points ahead of the European champions at the top of the table, and Liverpool's win here sent them into second place.

Should they win their game in hand over Pep Guardiola's side, the Reds will cut the gap at the summit to eight points – hardly small, but not beyond their means.

They are now arguably the only side who can mount any sort of threat to City's title bid.

Ox in the box

Deployed in Mohamed Salah's usual position on the right of the attack, Oxlade-Chamberlain showed the kind of efficiency in his play to make the Egypt star proud.

While he had the fewest touches (38) of any starting Liverpool player, he created a joint-high three chances and showed great determination to meet Robertson's cross.

Bees lose their sting

After Liverpool's struggle to break down Arsenal in their previous game, Brentford might have viewed this as a chance to build on their impressive performance in the home fixture.

As it was, they failed to muster an attempt on target until a tame Toney effort in injury time as they slumped to a fourth defeat in five league games.

What's next?

Liverpool face Arsenal in the second leg of the EFL Cup semi-final on Thursday before a league trip to Crystal Palace in a week's time. Brentford have two full days to recover before the visit of Manchester United.

Jurgen Klopp stressed the need for Liverpool's attackers to step up in the absence of Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane, ahead of their Premier League clash with Brentford at Anfield.

With Salah and Mane featuring at the Africa Cup of Nations, Klopp's side struggled to create clear-cut opportunities last time out, in a goalless draw with Arsenal in the first leg of their EFL Cup semi-final.

Following a six-game winning run in November and December, Liverpool are also winless in their last three Premier League games, throwing away a lead to draw two of those games.

Speaking ahead of Brentford's first trip to Anfield since March 1989, Klopp praised the contribution of Roberto Firmino, before calling for other players in his Reds squad to step up.

"He [Firmino] is a very smart player", Klopp said in a news conference. "His game is about using his team-mates in the way that he can use them.

"It's not just about being able to score goals in this way or that way.

"In one of our biggest games in recent history we played without Mo [a 7-0 win at Crystal Palace in December 2020, where Salah spent the first hour on the bench], and we won against Manchester United [a 5-0 victory earlier this season] without Mane.

"Now both are out, and that is not cool, but we don't think [of Firmino] 'you have to be like him or like him'". 

Salah and Mane have scored 24 Premier League goals between them this season, on par with their combined expected goals (xG).

Firmino, meanwhile, has only netted four league goals this campaign, with an October hat-trick against Watford representing his only Premier League strikes since the opening day.

Klopp was also asked about the role of versatile youngster Curtis Jones, who made a lively cameo from the bench in Liverpool's frustrating draw with the Gunners, and stressed the need for Jones to show greater consistency. 

"I had a long talk last week with Curtis," Klopp said. "I love the boy, I love the potential he has, but we have to make sure he makes those next steps, and fulfils that potential on the pitch.

"You have these kinds of conversations when you are not 100 per cent happy with a player in that moment. We have to find a way for him to show this [potential] much more often."

Jones provided just one goal and two assists in 24 league appearances last season, featuring regularly as Liverpool battled an injury crisis, and Klopp highlighted the need for the midfielder to contribute in the absence of the side's bigger names.

"It's an ongoing process between Curtis and me. We've had a tricky period, especially with Covid, which is not helpful, but now we'll try to make sure he can show how good he can be," Klopp added.

Jurgen Klopp insisted the thought of 350 games as Liverpool manager will not enter his mind when he reaches the landmark in the Reds' clash with Brentford.

Klopp has enjoyed huge success since taking over in 2015, reaching two Champions League finals and winning the tournament in 2019 before guiding Liverpool to their first Premier League title a year later.

However, Liverpool head into Sunday's clash with the Bees 11 points behind league leaders Manchester City and having been held to a 0-0 draw by Arsenal in the first leg of their EFL Cup semi-final.

Asked about the prospect of reaching game 350, Klopp told a pre-match media conference: "I'm really happy and proud of the things we have achieved here so far, but I don't think a second about it.

"It's just the next game is really decisive when you are manager at this club. In all competitions, everybody, ourselves involved, expects to win the next game and that's the task.

"But it's fine, we have a great squad, great players and I'm really happy about the time we had here so far and hope to enjoy the next few years.

"These numbers are not important to me, but 350 is a nice one, better than 15 and out."

Winless in their last three Premier League games and without star forwards Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane as they compete in the Africa Cup of Nations, Liverpool saw Virgil van Dijk, Andrew Robertson and James Milner sustain knocks against Arsenal.

However, all three are available to face a Brentford team who held Liverpool to a 3-3 draw in the reverse fixture in London in September.

"As far as I know, no new real injuries," Klopp added. "Knocks last night, Virg, Robbo, Milly, but directly after the game, medical team said all are fine.

"We will see. No 'injuries' so far."

The cup tie with the 10-man Gunners saw Liverpool rack up 78.1 per cent possession and 17 attempts to Arsenal's three, but only one of those efforts hit the target.

Speaking about the absence of Salah and Mane, as well as midfielder Naby Keita, in the aftermath of that stalemate, Klopp said: "Any team would miss Salah, Mane and Keita.

"Could we be prepared for it? I don't think so.

"We've known that already for years. This team was what we had tonight, it can play and score, definitely."

The Premier League has confirmed rearranged dates for three fixtures that were postponed over the festive period.

In total, 18 matches were postponed over Christmas as rising coronavirus cases at clubs across the league led to large-scale disruption.

The issues have continued into the new year, with the first leg of the EFL Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Arsenal having to be pushed back, while the Reds' FA Cup clash with Shrewsbury Town this weekend is also in doubt.

Three top-flight games were rearranged last week, with Southampton versus Brentford, Everton versus Leicester City and West Ham versus Norwich City to be played on January 11 and 12.

Now, three more games have been confirmed to be taking place the following week, including fixtures for Manchester United and Tottenham.

Brentford host United on January 19, while Leicester and Spurs face each other in the day's other fixture.

January 18 sees Burnley host Watford and Chelsea visit Brighton and Hove Albion.

The latter game was set to take place in February, but has had to be moved forward due to the Blues' participation in the FIFA Club World Cup. The teams drew 1-1 at Stamford Bridge on December 29.

Arsenal's match with Burnley that was planned for Saturday, January 22 has now been pushed back to January 23, with the Gunners set to play Liverpool in the rearranged EFL Cup fixture on January 20.

The first heavyweight tussle of the new year in the Premier League did not disappoint as Chelsea and Liverpool played out an entertaining 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues were held at home for the fifth time in six league games, a run that includes three straight draws in the top flight for the first time since February 2016.

But Thomas Tuchel's side can be happy with a point after recovering from two goals down as they extended their unbeaten run against the Reds in the league to four matches.

While there was nothing to separate the sides sitting second and third, Brentford, Brighton and Hove Albion and Leeds United were all victorious on Sunday.

Here, Stats Perform unpacks the pick of the Opta data from another eventful day in the Premier League.

Chelsea 2-2 Liverpool: Blues hit back after Salah strikes again

Sadio Mane opened the scoring in a Premier League game for the 37th time since joining Liverpool in 2016-17 – only Tottenham's Harry Kane (40) has done so on more occasions.

However, some will argue that Mane was fortunate to be on the field at that point after catching Cesar Azpilicueta with his elbow after just six seconds.

Mane was instead issued a yellow card with 15 seconds on the clock, making it the earliest booking in a Premier League game since Opta started recording such data in 2006-07, nine seconds faster than the previous quickest caution for Scott McTominay against Newcastle United in December 2019.

Mohamed Salah went on to double Liverpool's lead with his fourth league goal against Chelsea, which is the joint-most any player has scored against the Blues after playing for them, along with Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne.

Chelsea responded brilliantly with two goals in the space of 245 seconds through a Mateo Kovacic stunner and Christian Pulisic's well-taken strike, ensuring they remain a point above their opponents having played a game more.

This was the fourth occasion in this season's Premier League that a side has failed to win a game in which they have led by two goals, with Liverpool accounting for two of those occasions, having also drawn 2-2 with Brighton in October.


Leeds United 3-1 Burnley: More Maxwell magic not enough

Leeds scored three times in a Premier League game for the first time this season on their way to ending a four-game run without a victory, putting distance between themselves and Burnley in the final relegation spot.

Previously with just one win to their name in the competition since the end of October, Jack Harrison squeezed home for Leeds to open the scoring at Elland Road before Maxwell Cornet equalised through Burnley's first direct free-kick goal since Boxing Day 2017.

That was Cornet's sixth Premier League goal in 10 appearances, the most by an African player in their first 10 games since Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for Arsenal in April 2018 (also six).

Stuart Dallas restored Leeds' advantage on his 250th appearance for the club in all competitions, becoming the first United player to reach that tally since Lucas Radebe in November 2003.

The much-needed victory was sealed by Daniel James in added time, meaning Leeds are unbeaten in 10 Premier League games against sides starting the day in the relegation zone (W8, D2) since returning to the top flight last season.

As for Burnley, they have now won just one of their last 20 Premier League matches and are winless in 11 on their travels, their worst such run on the road since 17 without a victory between August 2016 and April 2017.


Everton 2-3 Brighton and Hove Albion: Mac Allister inspires soaring Seagulls

The highest-scoring game of the day in the Premier League took place at Goodison Park, where Everton suffered defeat in their opening league game of a calendar year for the fifth year running, their worst such streak since a run of seven between 1957 and 1963.

Brighton's opening goal via Alexis Mac Allister after two minutes and 43 seconds was the Seagulls' fastest-ever away from home in the competition, and their third-fastest overall.

Dan Burn doubled the visitors' lead on Merseyside, shortly before the returning Dominic Calvert-Lewin became the 22nd different player to miss a Premier League penalty for the Toffees – only Arsenal (23) have more.

Anthony Gordon scored his first senior goal to give Everton a bit of hope, only for Mac Allister to register for a second time as Brighton moved to 27 points after 19 games – their joint-best return at this stage of a top-flight campaign alongside 1981-82.

It was another afternoon to forget for Rafael Benitez, however, with Everton having now picked up only 19 points from 18 games, which is their worst return at this stage since accruing 17 from 18 matches in 2005-06.

Brentford 2-1 Aston Villa: Bees bounce back again

Comeback experts Brentford hit back to beat Villa late on thanks to goals from Yoane Wissa and Mads Roerslev after Danny Ings had opened the scoring in west London.

Only West Ham (12) and Everton (11) have won more points from losing positions in the Premier League this term than Brentford, who have now recovered nine points in total.

That is in complete contrast to a Villa side that have lost more games in the competition since the start of last season after scoring first than any other side (eight).

Ings has now opened the scoring in more different English top-flight games since the start of 2019-20 than any player (18), but that early strike was not enough for Steven Gerrard's men.

Wissa's equaliser was Brentford's first Premier League goal from outside the box and full-back Roerslev, who set up that strike, completed the turnaround to become the second Bees player to score and assist in the same game in the competition for the club after Ivan Toney.

The Premier League has confirmed three of the fixtures postponed over the festive period will now be played in January.

Rising coronavirus cases at clubs across the league has led to large-scale disruption of the top-flight schedule in recent weeks.

In total, 18 games have been postponed since Brighton and Hove Albion's match with Tottenham was called off due to a COVID-19 outbreak in Spurs' camp in mid-December.

Three of those fixtures have now been rearranged, with the games to be played midway through next month.

Southampton were due to host Brentford on December 18, but the Bees will now travel to St Mary's for a 19:45 GMT kick-off on Tuesday, January 11.

Everton, who last played on December 16, will welcome Leicester City to Goodison Park at 20:00 GMT on the same day.

January 12 sees West Ham and Norwich City face off, with that game also rescheduled from December 18.

The latter match clashes with the second leg of the EFL Cup semi-final between Tottenham and Chelsea, though the Premier League have had little choice but to attempt to slot fixtures into any free weeks in the calendar.

Pep Guardiola says he has never doubted Phil Foden's quality on the field after the youngster marked his return to the Manchester City side with the only goal against Brentford.

Foden finished superbly from a Kevin De Bruyne cross to score his fifth Premier League goal of the campaign and fire City to a 1-0 victory in Wednesday's clash in west London.

The 21-year-old, along with Jack Grealish, had been left out of City's line-up for their previous two matches after being warned about his off-the-field behaviour by Guardiola. 

That came after the pair were pictured in a nightclub mingling with others without wearing a mask a day before taking part in a recovery training session.

But Foden was back in Guardiola's good books thanks to his match-winning moment at the Brentford Community Stadium, with that goal taking City eight points clear at the top.

"Exceptional," Guardiola told Amazon Prime when asked about the performances of Foden and De Bruyne in attack. 

"With Foden, he's already a football player. We never had any doubts about his quality. We knew it. Since he came to play with us, always he's been exceptional."

Foden was fielded in a false nine position he is now becoming accustomed to and scored from one of his two attempts against Brentford, the goal allowed to stand after a VAR check for a possible offside.

At 21 years and 215 days, Foden became the second-youngest City player to score 20 Premier League goals after team-mate Gabriel Jesus (21y, 40d).

Five of those strikes have come in 921 minutes of action this season – the equivalent of just over 10 entire games – each from his left foot.

Asked about his preferred position in the side, Foden said: "Wherever the manager puts me, I will do my best for the team. I started on the left. It is good, I am adaptable.

"I've have a few goals this year that have been ruled offside so I wasn't too confident about this one. I thought I went a bit too early, but thank god the goal counted. 

"I am really happy. There were a few when I went a bit early and was offside. We could have won by more. We kept working hard."

City were not at their best but did enough to take advantage of Liverpool's defeat at Leicester City on Tuesday and Chelsea's home draw with Brighton and Hove Albion elsewhere on Wednesday.

All five previous sides to be eight points ahead at the start of a new calendar year have gone on to win the Premier League title, including City themselves in 2017-18.

Despite having racked up 10 wins on the spin for the fourth time under Guardiola, he is taking nothing for granted.

"There are 54 points left to play," he said. "So when you put it in this perspective eight points is ridiculous.

"But we've won ten games in a row and this is one of our targets. We don't have much time and on January 1 we play Arsenal, who are one the best teams right now on form."

Pep Guardiola says he has never doubted Phil Foden's quality on the field after the youngster marked his return to the Manchester City side with the only goal against Brentford.

Foden finished superbly from a Kevin De Bruyne cross to score his fifth Premier League goal of the campaign and fire City to a 1-0 victory in Wednesday's clash in west London.

The 21-year-old, along with Jack Grealish, had been left out of City's line-up for their previous two matches after being warned about his off-the-field behaviour by Guardiola. 

That came after the pair were pictured in a nightclub mingling with others without wearing a mask a day before taking part in a recovery training session.

But Foden was back in Guardiola's good books thanks to his match-winning moment at the Brentford Community Stadium, with that goal taking City eight points clear at the top.

"Exceptional," Guardiola told Amazon Prime when asked about the performances of Foden and De Bruyne in attack. 

"With Foden, he's already a football player. We never had any doubts about his quality. We knew it. Since he came to play with us, always he's been exceptional."

Foden was fielded in a false nine position he is now becoming accustomed to and scored from one of his two attempts against Brentford, the goal allowed to stand after a VAR check for a possible offside.

At 21 years and 215 days, Foden became the second-youngest City player to score 20 Premier League goals after team-mate Gabriel Jesus (21y, 40d).

Five of those strikes have come in 921 minutes of action this season – the equivalent of just over 10 entire games – each from his left foot.

Asked about his preferred position in the side, Foden said: "Wherever the manager puts me, I will do my best for the team. I started on the left. It is good, I am adaptable.

"I've have a few goals this year that have been ruled offside so I wasn't too confident about this one. I thought I went a bit too early, but thank god the goal counted. 

"I am really happy. There were a few when I went a bit early and was offside. We could have won by more. We kept working hard."

City were not at their best but did enough to take advantage of Liverpool's defeat at Leicester City on Tuesday and Chelsea's home draw with Brighton and Hove Albion elsewhere on Wednesday.

All five previous sides to be eight points ahead at the start of a new calendar year have gone on to win the Premier League title, including City themselves in 2017-18.

Despite having racked up 10 wins on the spin for the fourth time under Guardiola, he is taking nothing for granted.

"There are 54 points left to play," he said. "So when you put it in this perspective eight points is ridiculous.

"But we've won ten games in a row and this is one of our targets. We don't have much time and on January 1 we play Arsenal, who are one the best teams right now on form."

Phil Foden's first-half strike was enough as Manchester City beat Brentford 1-0 to extend their winning Premier League run to 10 matches and move eight points clear at the top.

The Citizens had scored 17 goals in their previous three league games but were made to work hard at the Brentford Community Stadium in their final game of 2021.

Kevin De Bruyne played in a teasing delivery for Foden to drill in the game's only goal after 16 minutes, with that match-winning moment arriving 56 seconds after Yoane Wissa had a header cleared off the line at the other end.

City had a couple of goals disallowed in the second half but moved further clear at the summit following Liverpool's loss to Leicester City on Tuesday and Chelsea's home draw with Brighton and Hove Albion in Wednesday's other fixture.

Brentford, without a number of key players due to coronavirus, suspension and injuries, forced Ederson into a couple of saves and had a looping Wissa header blocked on the line by Joao Cancelo in a lively start.

Wissa's chance served as a wake-up call for City, though, and they were in front less than a minute later thanks to Foden's side-foot finish from a pinpoint De Bruyne cross, the goal allowed to stand following a VAR check for a possible offside.

Foden did not time his run to such perfection when he tucked home in early in the second half, however, with a close-range finish ruled out for offside.

De Bruyne pinged the woodwork with a crisp, low effort, though City thought they had put the result beyond all doubt when Aymeric Laporte headed in late on.

VAR cut their celebrations short, but unlike their title rivals, City were not made to lament any fine margins.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola believes Kevin De Bruyne is only going to improve following his impressive recent goalscoring form.

The midfield maestro heads into Wednesday's showdown with Brentford having found the net three times in City's past three Premier League outings.

That included a brace in the 7-0 rout of Leeds United on December 14, with no player on target more often in the English top flight since then.

De Bruyne, who also scored the opener in the Premier League leaders' entertaining 6-3 win over Leicester City on December 26, has been a revelation since arriving at the Etihad Stadium in August 2015.

Indeed, no player has registered more assists (77) or created more chances (572) than the Belgium international over the past six years.

Guardiola says the recent surge in De Bruyne's performances has been evident following a difficult spell earlier this season.

"He is getting better, by far," the Man City boss said. "He has something unique in the world. We know that he is an exceptional player. 

"He struggled in the beginning of the season, and now is much, much better. 

"The game against Leeds was really good, and [against Leicester] he played a really, really good home game. 

"He is a fighter and a guy who creates goals and assists. We know it."

Full of momentum, City travel to the Brentford Community Stadium seeking a 10th successive league victory.

Nevertheless, Guardiola insists his side cannot take anything for granted against the promoted Bees, who have already beaten Arsenal, drawn with Liverpool and given Chelsea a scare during their maiden Premier League campaign.

"They made an incredible start of the season. They are doing really well," he added.

"I saw the game against Chelsea; they lost, but they were incredible. They drew against Liverpool, they beat Arsenal. [They are a] top team."

Romelu Lukaku and Callum Hudson-Odoi could be available for Chelsea's Premier League meeting with Aston Villa on Boxing Day following negative COVID-19 tests. 

Lukaku and Hudson-Odoi were among a group of seven players to miss last weekend's 0-0 Premier League draw with Wolves due to a positive coronavirus test. 

However, Tuchel confirmed the duo could be back in training on Thursday if they return a negative result for the second straight day. 

Ben Chilwell has also tested negative but will not be involved against Villa on Sunday as he continues to recover from a serious ankle injury. 

"If I understand correctly we a negative test first of all, and we had a negative test for Romelu and Callum and Ben Chilwell," said Tuchel following Chelsea's 2-0 EFL Cup quarter-final win against Brentford. 

"Ben Chilwell will not be involved in the Aston Villa game and for the other two they will be on the pitch tomorrow if they test negative again. Then we need to see. The guys have been ill and had symptoms. So let's see. 

"It's a Premier League game at one of the toughest places you can play. It's good news, don't get me wrong, but I'm not over-excited now because I need to check how they are." 

Chelsea's success over Brentford came following a late double, with Pontus Jansson putting through his own net and Jorginho – who made his comeback after a false COVID-19 positive – scoring a penalty in the final 10 minutes. 

The Blues had struggled to create meaningful chances before that and only remained on level terms thanks to some good saves from Kepa Arrizabalaga. 

Tuchel is pleased to have the world's most expensive goalkeeper performing at a high level with Edouard Mendy due to depart for the Africa Cup of Nations in January. 

"I am super impressed and very happy with Kepa. It is not a surprise anymore because he is in that state of mind as a person, a character and a sportsman where he just delivers for us because he does what he does best," said Tuchel. 

"This is what he shows every day in training and that's why he gets the reward. I am absolutely sure that this is the reason he has these kinds of performances.

"We need him in this shape. The goalkeepers are a strong group. Kepa is a big part of it and he was a big factor today – in the first half especially." 

Chelsea will go up against London rivals Tottenham and their former head coach Antonio Conte in a two-legged semi-final, with Arsenal and Liverpool contesting the other final-four tie. 

"It was always going to be a tough draw. Tottenham is nice for our fans. A London derby, we are looking forward to it and we want to be there," said Tuchel. 

"I am absolutely happy about this result [against Brentford]. We had a brilliant performance and result given the circumstances and the line-up and the situation of some of the guys that played today were youngsters and some of the others leading them hadn't had many minutes. 

"I'm very happy. Very disciplined, very structured, and in the structure with a lot of confidence and quality individually so well done for the boys, I'm supper happy." 

Chelsea scraped past Brentford 2-0 in the EFL Cup quarter-finals after Pontus Jansson scored an own goal and Jorginho converted a penalty in the final 10 minutes. 

Just as they did in the Premier League meeting between these sides back in October, Chelsea dominated possession but struggled to create any decent openings. 

Kepa Arrizabalaga did well to keep out Yoane Wissa and Mathias Jensen in the first half, with Thomas Tuchel forced to call upon senior players as he chased the game in the second period. 

The game looked destined for penalties until Jansson put through his own net in the 80th minute and Jorginho put the result beyond doubt when he slotted home a spot-kick. 

Thomas Tuchel accepts the decision for the Premier League season to continue over the festive period and says Chelsea are up for the challenge of competing on multiple fronts.

The Blues had a late request to call off Sunday's league clash with Wolves rejected amid a spate of absentees due to coronavirus and injuries.

Chelsea had just four outfield players on the bench at Molineux for the goalless draw as they dropped points for the third time in four top-flight outings.

That was just one of four Premier League games to go ahead at the weekend, with six others postponed as clubs continue to be hit by COVID-19 cases within their squads.

Tuchel accused league officials of putting the welfare of players at risk by making the game go ahead during the busiest period of the season for teams.

But despite concerns also being raised by other high-profile figures, a decision was reached on Monday for the schedule to continue as planned over Christmas and into the new year.

Prior to taking on Aston Villa, Brighton and Hove Albion and Liverpool in the next 12 days, Chelsea first have an EFL Cup quarter-final with Brentford to prepare for on Wednesday.

And despite still being without a number of first-team players, Tuchel understands the difficult position clubs and organisers are in to ensure games go ahead.

"I understand it is not easy to postpone games but for isolated situations like ours [against Wolves], we thought we had a strong case," he said at Tuesday's pre-match news conference. 

"I shared my thoughts with everybody, and we accept the situation. We accepted the challenge, and we will accept the next challenge.

"I don't know if stopping the season would help and I don't want to give the impression I have the solution. It was my thought particularly for the last two days around the Wolves game and coming into it. That was my concern."

Tuchel added: "I would not say I'm disappointed at the decision. I think it would have been too easy. I don't have a solution for the schedule. I don't know, it might have just delayed the problem. 

"There are clubs who suffer a lot. We suffer very much at the moment so maybe it would be better to have a short break, but I do not have a solution or a clear opinion of what we can do for everybody."

Tuchel confirmed that N'Golo Kante will not be part of the matchday squad to face Brentford, while Trevoh Chalobah and Andreas Christensen are fitness doubts.

Those to have tested positive for coronavirus last week will also remain out, with the exception of midfielder Jorginho, whose test was a false positive.

A number of Under-23s players have trained with the depleted first team ahead of the trip to Brentford in what will be the first EFL Cup tie between the London clubs.

Asked if it is frustrating Chelsea cannot field their strongest line-up on Wednesday, Tuchel said: "Yes, because we are so competitive. That's why we work here, that's what made them Chelsea players. 

"I absolutely don't like judging the importance of games because you can never tell what that can do to you. There is nothing more important than winning and fighting the fights together.

"It is nothing new to play three matches in a week but without nine or 10 players, it is challenging. So, we struggle a little bit, but we find solutions."

Chelsea have progressed from their past three EFL Cup quarter-final ties, doing so in 2014-15, 2017-18 and 2018-19.

The Blues have also won six of their past seven meetings with Brentford in all competitions, including a 1-0 league victory at the Brentford Community Stadium this season.

Only five Premier League fixtures are scheduled to be played this weekend after four more were postponed due to coronavirus outbreaks.

The league had already confirmed Manchester United would not play Brighton and Hove Albion as the Red Devils do not have enough players to name a team.

A further four postponements have now been confirmed: Southampton v Brentford, Watford v Crystal Palace, West Ham v Norwich City, Everton v Leicester City.

Despite calls for the season to be put on hold, the Premier League said: "All other fixtures due to be played this weekend are currently scheduled to proceed as planned."

Brentford and Watford have both had to close their training grounds, with the Hornets also short of players to fulfil their match against Palace.

Norwich cannot put out a team either, with injuries and illnesses contributing to their absences alongside COVID-19.

Leicester have also now closed their training ground as they attempt to manage an outbreak that has ravaged their squad.

In the midweek round of matches, only seven games went ahead. United and Brentford had been set to meet, while Watford and Leicester were involved in the other postponed matches.

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