Aston Villa 1 – 3 Liverpool

England captain Harry Kane scored in the first Premier League match since the World Cup as Tottenham fought back from 2-0 down to draw with Brentford.

The Bees were on course for their first win over Spurs since 1948 after goals from Vitaly Janelt and Ivan Toney, before Spurs netted twice within six minutes.

Kane, who scored one penalty and missed another in England’s 2-1 quarter-final loss to France, pulled one back in the 65th minute with an excellent header from Clement Lenglet’s cross.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg made it 2-2 with a curling finish – and neither side was able to find a winner, with Kane heading a chance against the crossbar.

The hosts had taken a 15th-minute lead through Janelt’s close-range effort after goalkeeper Fraser Forster, in his first league start for Spurs, could only block the ball into his path following Mathias Jensen’s volley.

Brentford doubled their advantage as Toney grabbed his 11th league goal of the season, reacting quickest to tap in after Christian Norgaard had headed on a corner, but it was not enough.

Toney, 26, was appearing in his first game since being charged by the Football Association with 262 alleged betting breaches. He has until 4 January to respond to the charges.

The result leaves Spurs fourth in the table while Brentford is 10th.

In the first Premier League game since the World Cup final in Qatar eight days ago, both sides produced a thrilling encounter in west London.

Tottenham had a late chance to win it but Kane failed to connect with an acrobatic volley, while Brentford wanted a penalty when Bryan Mbeumo fell under a challenge from Forster, but there was clearly no contact with the Bees man booked for simulation.

On Christmas Eve it was announced that Brentford manager Thomas Frank had agreed on a new four-and-a-half-year contract, which keeps him at the club until 2027.

He had said he was looking forward to “creating more magic moments” and this was almost another special afternoon for the Bees in a campaign that has already seen them beat Manchester United 4-0 and win at champions Manchester City 2-1 last time out.

The Bees now have 20 points from 16 matches and are on course to beat the 13th-placed finish they managed last season – their highest position since coming sixth in the old First Division back in 1937-38.

They led when Mbeumo crossed to Jensen and his volley took a deflection with Forster only able to divert it to Janelt who put it in with his thigh.

Toney, who had scored twice against Manchester City including a winner in the 98th minute, got his goal after Eric Dier had needlessly conceded a corner with a sliced clearance.

Spurs had fought back from 3-1 down to beat Leeds 4-3 in their previous match, but they offered little in the first half with Brentford goalkeeper David Raya comfortably saving efforts from Dejan Kulusevski and Son Heung-min, and Kane having a free-kick directed over.

Kane gave Spurs a lifeline when he rose above marker Ben Mee and headed in Lenglet’s cross. The visitors fought back to earn a draw but did miss the chance to move level on points with 2021-22 champions Manchester City.

source – BBC

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