Burnley 1 – 3 Liverpool: Player Ratings and Talking Points

Weakened Reds Win at Turf Moor

At the risk of sounding like Brendan Rodgers – I thought we showed great character against Burnley. Snatching a win at Turf Moor is never easy, and if you add in the context of a heavily rotated side going down 1-0 to a sloppy goal in the second half, it makes the result even more impressive.

Burnley bundled home the opener from a corner through Jack Cork, but in a manner that’s only started to emerge recently, Liverpool battled back against a defensive side away to win definitively.

Milner got us back into the game with a clever finish beyond Joe Hart before Firmino tapped home a well-worked set-piece routine. The Reds endured some nervy moments towards the end of the game before Shaqiri secured the result from a counter-attack.

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Player Ratings

Alisson – 8

Another week; another outstanding display by our ‘keeper. Alisson struggled early with some uncharacteristically wayward passing, but he more than made up for that with the rest of his performance.

Burnley were unable to trouble him until they scored their goal. The defence weren’t much help as the opposition were able to win the header too easily, and almost latch on to the second ball, before booting it out of Alisson’s grasp. The ‘keeper could’ve been stronger, but he can’t accept too much of the blame. His late save off the crossbar was nothing short of heroic and certainly rescued two points for the team. Money well spent.

Joe Gomez – 6

Gomez had little to do before being worryingly stretchered off after just 23 minutes.

It looked like a serious injury, and Klopp confirmed that Gomez will be getting scans to assess the situation. All fans will be praying that he’s back very soon.

Joel Matip – 6

Matip wasn’t too bad, but he did little to make the fans forget about their concerns for Gomez and the latter’s importance at centre-back.

Matip looked understandably rusty, and he’ll get more minutes during December and early January, but even with some leniency due to rustiness, the Cameroonian didn’t look particularly comfortable. He got better as the game went on though, so hopefully there’s still some life in his Liverpool career yet.

Virgil van Dijk – 8

VVD was back to his best against Burnley and helped the makeshift defence over the line to victory. One or two passes aside, his distribution was typically on point, and as usual, he was utterly dominant in the air.

He had a chance to snatch a goal, but couldn’t direct his header past Hart; he did make up for it with an assist though. VVD acrobatically got on the end of an Alexander-Arnold cross and directed the ball into the path of Firmino. A complete performance from the big man.

Alberto Moreno – 6

Moreno wasn’t too bad. Nobody wanted to see his name on the teamsheet, even if Robbo needed and deserved a rest. The memories of some of the Spaniard’s worst moments is too much to let go of for most supporters.

Regardless, Moreno did okay without getting close to Robbo’s level, but he never let the team down before getting hooked off midway through the second half.

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Jordan Henderson – 6.5

Hendo returned to the starting lineup after missing the Everton game through suspension. However, it was more of the same from our captain, passing backwards and slowing down the play. His most memorable moment was when he slipped over.

He did improve in the second half though, and even played some forward passes. Crucially, he managed to snuff out a dangerous looking Burnley attack late in the game and did well to release Salah, but nothing came from the chance. If Hendo can play every game the way he did the second half, then maybe he’ll get some slack from his critics, even if he can’t fully win them over.

Naby Keita – (Man of the Match) 8.5

What a time to kick-start your Liverpool career. Keita was simply brilliant on the day and deserved to get on the score sheet for his efforts, but he was denied what would’ve been two stunning goals.

The first came from a powerful run followed by a booming shot, but Hart just got a fingertip to the ball to parry it onto the post. He then almost converted an outrageous backheel finish, but the ball was cleared off the line. Despite this, Keita was immense and looked like the player we’d all been hoping for since his debut against West Ham.

James Milner – 8

Milner was one of the best players in the team at the start of the campaign, but for whatever reason, he’d been going through a dip in form in the last run of games. He was one of deciding factors in the victory against Burnley though.

Aside from his clinical finish to get his team back into the game, Milner was running the show with Keita and almost set Sturridge up for a goal. He finished the game at left-back when Moreno went off and incredibly, was still just as involved from the back.

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Xherdan Shaqiri – 7

Shaq would’ve gotten a 6 if he didn’t score, as he was unusually quiet for most of the game, especially in the first half. Part of it was likely down to not having the usual front three ahead of him, but regardless, he wasn’t involved enough.

Like most of the players, he got better as the game went on and he made a good run and classy finish to send the fans home singing. He’s a handy player to have when one or more of Mane, Salah, and Firmino aren’t playing.

Divock Origi – 7

Similar to Shaq, Origi gets a higher score because he registered the assist that got Liverpool back into the contest. Klopp was right to give him a chance, and this is hopefully another step in the right direction.

He worked hard, but he still appears to be suffering from his lengthy spell on the sidelines, meaning he’s not quite on the same wavelength as the rest of the team.

Daniel Sturridge – 6.5

Studge was too wasteful at times against Burnley, which isn’t something that you’d typically associate with such a prolific striker.

He was involved in the buildup to Shaq’s goal, but he got caught in possession far too often and on other occasions couldn’t control the ball when chances presented themselves. He was far better in the second half though and got a good shot off just after the break.

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Subs

Trent Alexander-Arnold – (on for Gomez 23′) 6

Trent came on to replace the injured Gomez and had a mixed performance.

He was largely at fault for Burnley’s goal as he was beaten far too easily at the back post, but he produced a beautiful curling cross to VVD for our second goal from an awkward location. It’s rare that you see a goal scored in that manner when the position of the free-kick provides no angle.

Mo Salah – (on for Moreno 65′) 7

Salah was extremely lively when he came on and caused Burnley all sorts of problems. An assist was a fair reward for his solid cameo.

Firmino – (on for Origi 65′) 7

Bobby tapped in the second goal from his first touch and worked hard for the rest of his time on the pitch.

Unused Subs

Simon Mignolet, Rafa Camacho, Fabinho, and Adam Lallana.

Manager

Jurgen Klopp – 8

Klopp took a gamble on his heavily rotated side. If it didn’t work, then we all would’ve rightfully slated him for it, so now that it has worked, he deserves a proportionate amount of credit for the decision. He couldn’t have done anything about Gomez getting injured, but apart from that, it’s certain that many of our best players will have benefited from not having to play 90 minutes.

Likewise, this had the added effect of allowing certain rotational players a chance to prove themselves, and in the case of Keita in particular, that also paid off. The result and performance means that Klopp can now rotate when needed, and the players themselves will have the confidence to take their chances with both hands.

The manager should also be applauded for bringing Firmino and Salah on with plenty of time for them to change the game instead of leaving it too late which he’s been guilty of doing at times in the past.

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Talking Points

Concern for Gomez

Gomez copped a hefty challenge from Ben Mee which sent him tumbling over the pitch and he got his leg caught in a nasty position. It was the only significant negative to take away from the game, but one that could have severe consequences for Liverpool’s season.

Klopp was notably upset when discussing the incident saying, “Joe is injured and probably not only a little bit. We have to see tomorrow. It’s [his] ankle, yes. After the first challenge, a sliding tackle from seven or eight yards, I said to the ref: ‘Please tell them you can’t do that’. Someone has to say ‘stop doing that’.” Scans will reveal the extent of the injury.

We’re all hoping that it’s nothing serious, but the signs don’t look good. If he’s going to be out for an extended period of time, then Liverpool face a genuine dilemma. Do we put our faith in Lovren and Matip to step up to the high standards that Gomez has set? Or do we try and bring in a quality replacement in January?

Keita’s Arrival

This was the Keita that we’d thought Liverpool had purchased; the player that we’ve only seen the briefest of glimpses of since his tremendous debut at home against West Ham.

He was Liverpool’s main man against Burnley because he was in control of the majority of the game and was constantly getting the ball moving quickly from the middle to the final third. He did so with both his dribbling and his passing, and his confidence grew with every success.

His ability to launch attacks quickly and link up with those around him with slick passes is something that Liverpool have missed since Ox’s injury, so hopefully Keita can fill that void. If he does, then it could be the spark that allows Liverpool to return to the kind of play that took Europe by storm last season.

Gaining Momentum

This is where a season can unravel quickly if your team isn’t mentally tough, physically fit, and of course, blessed with a bit of luck.

However, Liverpool look a different beast now and are fully capable of winning games when the going gets tough and when our stars aren’t performing or even on the pitch. Wins breed confidence, and Liverpool should have plenty to help carry them through the rest of the month. Likewise, Klopp’s decision to rotate heavily may give certain players an extra 10% in the tank to keep performing to a high level before their next break.

Next up, Liverpool are away again at Bournemouth, before returning to Anfield for that crucial clash with Napoli and the match against Manchester United. Those three games are played over only 9 days, but their importance and difficulty are such that further rotation would appear unlikely. That 9 day period will be the most important in the season for the club so far.

You’ll Never Walk Alone

Cieren O’Dea

Red Or Dead Liverpool FC Football Blog and Fields of Anfield Road – 06/12/2018

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Burnley vs Liverpool – Premier League Preview

Liverpool take on Burnley at Turf Moor in the game that signals the beginning of the grueling Christmas period.

It’s true that Burnley have struggled this season and that they’re not the same tricky opponents as in previous years. However, that’s not to say that they’ll just roll over and gift Liverpool and early Christmas present.

The Reds will have to be at their best to break down and stubborn home defence, particular given the fact that Klopp will almost certainly choose to rotate his side heavily for this game.

Burnley Predicted Lineup and Team News

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Nick Pope, Jonathan Walters, Stephen Ward, and Nakhi Wells will all miss the game, while there’s concern for Steven Defour, Robbie Brady, and Ben Gibson.

Defour will be assessed before the match, but it’s unlikely that Sean Dyche would risk one of his best players at this point of the season if he’s not 100% fit. Meanwhile, there’s been no update on Brady’s fitness after he was withdrawn against Crystal Palace with a knock, though he’s expected to start.

Gibson could also make his return, but like Defour, he may not be risked. Given the long list of injuries, Ashley Westwood and Aaron Lennon are legitimate options to come into the starting lineup.

Liverpool Predicted Lineup and Team News

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The only player that will certainly miss the game is Ox, as he’s still got some way to go on his long-term recovery. We could certainly use his talent and drive in midfield now though.

Elsewhere, there’s a number of players who have picked up various knocks, so the likes of Gomez, Lallana, Mane, and Robertson could all be given the game off to recuperate, though none of the injuries are considered to be serious and Gomez in particular is expected to play.

Klopp hinted that he would be rotating this game, so the likes of Keita, Lovren, Matip, Moreno, Sturridge, and Clyne may be given a rare chance to start. Hendo is also likely to return after missing the Everton game through suspension.

Pre-Game Analysis

Given the fact that Liverpool will be resting many of our key players, it’s extremely difficult to predict what team or even formation Klopp will go with, let alone give an analysis on how the game will go.

One thing’s for certain: Burnley will be well up for the game and will recognise Liverpool’s vulnerabilities without some of our stars. That could even mean that we see a more attacking approach from Dyche’s men than we’re used to, as without our regular front three, we’ll be less potent on the counter.

Those who do come in for the Reds will have their work cut out for them, as Turf Moor is far from the easiest place in the world to go with a weakened side. We’ll need to be tight at the back, particularly from set-pieces, and take as many of the few chances we’ll get to secure the win.

Prediction

Again, this is a nearly impossible job considering all of the unknowns surrounding this game, but it will almost certainly be a low-scoring game.

Much will depend on how confident Burnley are feeling on the day and their willingness to attack, as well as Liverpool’s rotational players and how well they grab their opportunity for more regular game time.

Burnley will throw everything they’ve got at us, but we should still have enough to limp away with a narrow 1-0 victory.

You’ll Never Walk Alone

Cieren O’Dea

Red Or Dead Liverpool FC Football Blog – 05/11/2018

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Burnley 2 – 0 Liverpool

Gengen-depressing Reds embarrassed at Turf Moor

Liverpool came into the match as heavy and deserved favourites, but the Clarets didn’t get the memo. Two wonderful strikes from Sam Vokes and Andre Gray was enough to see off the toothless Reds on a day to forget for Liverpool.

Player Ratings

Simon Mignolet – 5: The Belgian had almost nothing to do for the entire game. The two goals that were scored were absolutely cracking finishes that left him little chance of making a save. With Burnley becoming more a more reserved, Mignolet’s involvement diminished.

Nathaniel Clyne – 3: Another sub-par performance from Clyne in an unusually shaky start to the season for the man who used to be Liverpool’s most consistent player. A dreadful pass gifted Burnley the lead after 90 seconds and from then on failed to improve. He was also very wasteful with the ball in attack, you can’t help but wonder what the backlash would’ve been like if Moreno had this performance.

Ragnar Klavan – 3:  A nightmare second game for the Estonian after a brilliant first outing at Arsenal. Gray’s pace panicked the experienced centre-back as he was completely unable to deal with it. This nervousness crept into his game more and more as the match progressed and even his passing became rushed and unintelligent. Worrying performance, but can still improve and readjust his game to suit the Premier League; may still lose his place to Joel Matip.

Dejan Lovren – 4: Arguably the best of the very worst at the back. Lovren struggled nearly as much as Klavan did with Andre Gray and to a lesser extent Sam Vokes. Every time the Clarets countered it looked as though they would score, with the centre-back pairing appearing completely bewildered in their movements. Must improve as he is Liverpool’s only defender to have completed a full preseason, so there should be no excuses.

James Milner – 4: As usual Milner worked hard and ran well for the team, but he was completely ineffective at left-back in defence and going forward. His lack of pace was regularly exposed as Burnley attacked on the counter and every time he got the ball near the Burnley box they were easily able to read him. His crossing was erratic and often he had to cut inside onto his stronger foot, to no avail. A left footed player is needed at left-back, leaving Alberto Moreno as the only option.

Jordan Henderson- 2: Some will say that this rating is a bit harsh but unfortunately Henderson was truly awful at Turf Moor. In a squad that is almost entirely void of a natural leader, this was an uninspiring display from the captain. His poor showing wasn’t entirely his fault as holding-midfielder is obviously not his position, but this can’t excuse giving the ball away and consistently sloppy passes. Must improve if he wants to stay at Liverpool in the long-term.

Georginio Wijnaldum – 3: Much like the first-half against Arsenal, Wijnaldum completely failed to impose himself on the game. Whilst not doing much wrong, you often forgot that he was on the field at times. As he displayed for Newcastle last year, he is an immensely talented player but is completely ineffectual in away games. Another who must improve but it is clear that playing as a Klopp-style central midfielder is not his best role at the moment.

Adam Lallana – 5 (Man of the Match): It could be argued that no one in Red played well enough to deserve a Man of the Match rating, but Lallana looked the most likely to score as he produced some nice turns and passes around the Burnely box. His intellegent movement and link-up play was evident throughout although his end product was just as bad as everyone else’s. Subbed off towards the end of the game after fading in the second-half.

Philippe Coutinho – 5: Some would argue that Coutinho was one of the worst and most wasteful players on the pitch, but it can’t be denied that he tried his best to get Liverpool back into the game like last week. Getting into good positions regularly, you can’t help but wonder what the reception from the fans and the response from the players would’ve been if one of his shots went into the top corner. Far from his best performance, finding consistency has to be his goal this season.

Roberto Firmino – 4: Another poor display from the Brazilian who will be looking to bounce back immediately. Wasteful in possession despite some decent strikes, his lack of pace was exploited by a stubborn Burnely defence. One to forget for the talented midfielder, Liverpool fans and management will be hoping he gets back to his best sooner rather than later.

Daniel Sturridge – 5: Bizarrely used in a wide position, the natural striker struggled to get touches inside the box. Questions will be raised over whether he was fit and ready to start, but his teammates did little to reduce his work load and help him into the game. Not a good game for him, but hardly his fault. Subbed off for Origi in the second half, many will argue Origi should’ve started to ease his reintroduction to the team.

Subs

Divock Origi – 5: Didn’t make much of an impact but it was clear by the positions he was getting into that this was the type of game and opposition that better suited a striker like Origi.

Alberto Moreno – 5: Another player who arguably should’ve started, didn’t have much time on the pitch, but his final ball was as erratic as ever.

Marko Grujic -5: Great to see the big Serbian debuting in the Premier League and had a chance to score with his first touch of the ball. A starting option for Klopp as the current midfield trio have struggled thus far this season.

Jurgen Klopp – 3: Probably Klopp’s worst game for Liverpool, a brilliant manager who often gets the best out of what he’s given, his team selection and tactics must be questioned after that performance. Despite many calling for Moreno’s head after his Arsenal performance, the defence couldn’t deal with the pace of Burnley’s counter attacks. The same midfield trio who struggled at Arsenal played at Turf Moor and were a big part of the humbling loss, particularly Henderson who is not a holding midfielder. Upfront Sturridge was played in a wide-role whilst the likes of Matip, Can and Origi didn’t start despite a very compelling case being made for their introductions. A 4-2-3-1 would’ve been a better formation both attacking and defending in that game, it was another example of how to defeat a Klopp team, let them keep possession, keep men behind the ball and when they make a mistake and turn over possession, counter with pace and numbers.

Talking Points

Poor Defence… Again

Liverpool’s defence looked shaky at best at Arsenal, against Burnley it was completely exposed. Not many would’ve predicted a 2-0 win for the Clarets, but most should’ve been aware of the quality of Vokes and Gray; it would appear that Liverpool were outside of this majority.

burnley goal 1

1st Goal – Clyne gifts Burnley possession, centre-backs are split as no one is tight on Vokes.

burnley goal 2

2nd Goal – Ball is lost by Sturridge at Burnley’s end of the pitch, they immediately break. Midfielders are ineffective at stifling the counter. Klavan misses a tackle whilst Milner is unable to track back in time to cover Gray. Clyne also struggles to remain goal-side of his man.

These two goals are similar in nature to goals scored against Liverpool in the past, including the Arsenal game. Teams are beginning to figure out that the Reds are highly susceptible on the counter and their defence is frail under pressure. The defence can’t be entirely blamed for this as on both occasions the ball was lost by a single player which meant that they were out of position and scrambling to cover their man. However the fact that this has happened many times over with different defensive combinations suggests a problem with the system rather than the players.

Poor in Attack too…

While the defence was giving a repeat performance from Arsenal, the attacking players showed little of the spark and danger that they displayed against Arsenal. The loss of Sadio Mane was a tough pill to swallow, but the return of Sturrdige should’ve been a big boost. Too often they were forced to take ambitious long shots because Burnley parked themselves behind the ball and defended stubbornly. The likes of Milner and Clyne were unable to provide good service, whilst the midfield were hardly able to string a couple of passes together. This put immense pressure on the front-three and they were unable to deliver.

Changes need to be made

It is clear that after the first two games, Liverpool are not playing nearly as well as the fans would’ve hoped and certain changes need to be made. In defence, the introduction of Joel Matip needs to be made sooner rather than later, whilst Mamadou Sakho should also be considered despite his reported falling out with Klopp. At left-back the problem is a bit more complex, most fans will be hoping for a new, top-quality left-back to be signed before deadline day, but realistically I think Klopp will still with what he’s got. Moreno should be favoured ahead of Milner tho, if only because the display against Burnley showed that having a left-footer on the left side. Having said that, another solution could be to switch Clyne to the left and Milner on the right, Clyne rarely gets forward anyway so we wouldn’t be losing out on his service, while Milner’s excellent crossing ability could be better utilised. In midfield Emre Can needs to be introduced for Wijnaldum and Henderson pushed forward into his more familar box-to-box role, while Can holds. Another option is to play both Can and Grujic for Wijnaldum and Henderson, Grujic has the right physical attributes for the Premier League and after an excellent preseason will only improve with more game tie. The return of Mane will be a massive boost for the team and Origi should be considered for a starting role after an excellent second half to the 2015/16 season. The decision making from players and staff alike was poor, but this must and will change in the near future.

Time for Calm

Whilst much of this review has focused on Liverpool’s faults, it is important to remember that it is only the second game and there were a number of key absentees missing from the squad. Klopp needs more time to mold his current batch of players and assess those which he can improve and those he can’t. Make no mistake, if Klopp believes a player can’t or won’t improve he will not hesitate to replace them, in the mean time, let them make some mistakes, it’s the only way to learn and improve. The one aspect that does concern me is the fact that clubs are already figuring Klopp out, as stated above, let them have possesion, keep men behind the ball and when a mistake is made break with pace and numbers. This tactic was highlighted by the fact that Burnely won with only 19.4% possession, the lowest in recorded history. However it is important to remember that despite his undoubted brilliance, Klopp needs more time to adjust to the Premier League, and I am sure he will tweak his tactics and forge a more effective ‘Plan-B’ for games when the opposition is sitting back.

Looking forward to seeing the Mighty Reds bounce back. YNWA.

 

Cieren O’Dea for Red Or Dead – Liverpool FC Football Blog – on 23/08/2016.

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Burnley vs Liverpool

Reds Heavy Favourites Against the Clarets

Liverpool face newly promoted Burnley away in the second game of the season, with the Reds looking to build on their performance against Arsenal last week. Red or Dead previews the action from Turf Moor.

Burnley

Team News

Liverpool loanee Jon Flanagan will miss the game, being unable to be fielded against his parent club, Ashley Barnes will again also be absent with a hamstring injury. Burnley will however have a new addition in contention for a spot in the team with their midweek club record signing Steven Defour eligible for selection. The Clarets were unfortunate to be defeated by Swansea 1-0 last week after a late, and in their manager’s words “soft” goal; they will certainly be hungry to make amends for that in front of their home supporters. However, for a club that have been in and out of the Premier League three times in the last seven years, the board have arguably not made the signings that will keep them up. Up until Defour’s transfer this week, Jon Flanagan remained their only major signing. This is a point of great frustration for Burnley supporters as the club do have money to spend after the new, lucrative TV rights deal and the considerable compensation fee from Danny Ings’ free transfer to Liverpool. Whether Sean Dyche can inspire his men to fight their way out of the ‘yo-yo club’ name tag remains to be seen.

Lineup

Burnley - Week 2

Burnley’s lineup should see a unchanged XI face Liverpool on the weekend. In goal Tom Heaton will of course keep his place, a very good ‘keeper, Heaton was part of the ill-fated England squad for the 2016 European Championship although he didn’t play a game. Burnley’s defence is criminally underrated, without having a plethora of big-name stars they always manage to defend well, often against “bigger” opposition. Ben Mee is the player who stands out after an outstanding season last campaign. Michael Keane, Matthew Lowton and Stephen Ward can all more than hold their own though, meaning that the experience of Lowton and Ward could make finding game time for a returning Flanagan difficult throughout the season. Having lost Joey Barton to Rangers, Burnley’s midfield is less experienced and resolute than last year, a point Liverpool will hope to exploit. The seasoned pair of Dean Marney and David Jones are unquestionably their strongest central duo, and will again be flanked by George Boyd and Scott Arfield. Up front, without Barnes, Sam Vokes will retain his spot next to Andre Gray. As previously stated, Flanagan will watch from the stands, whilst Defour is unlikely to start the game, but expect to see him feature at some point.

Liverpool

Team News

Loris Karius and Sheyi Ojo are all still some time away from returning to team training, let being involved on match day. Mamadou Sakho, Joe Gomez and Lucas Leiva have started individual training, but this week’s game will likely come too soon for them to feature. However the likes of Joel Matip, Daniel Sturridge, Marko Grujic and James Milner could all appear against Burnley after being given the green light by Jurgen Klopp. The only new concern was the devastating news that new winger Sadio Mane had dislocated his shoulder after a collision in training. It has since been reported that after scans the injury is not nearly as severe as previously thought, though there is apparently some muscle damage. In his pre-game conference Klopp seemed unconcerned about this and gave the impression that Mane will be back sooner rather than later, he will however almost certainly miss the trip to Turf Moor.

Lineup

liverpool - week 2

Liverpool will likely adopt their more familiar 4-2-3-1 formation against Burnley with the likely exclusion of Mane. This will see the return of Emre Can, pushing Adam Lallana out wide. Mignolet will retain his place in goal with Karius not due to return until the start of October from a broken hand. The defensive line should be roughly the same with the only difference being the possibility of Milner replacing a highly-criticised Alberto Moreno after an erratic performance against Arsenal. The midfield duo will consist of captain Jordan Henderson alongside Can as stated above. Divock Origi could lead the line supported by Lallana, Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho fresh off his man of the match display against Arsenal. The likes of Matip and Sturridge will be unlikely to start as they need time to regain fitness but could feature off the bench along with Grujic. Milner is exempt from this assessment however due to his exemplary fitness and conditioning. Georginio Wijnaldum will consider himself unlucky to be omitted from the starting lineup after a positive display on debut, expect to see him feature at some point though.

Analysis

Burnley, despite being a considerably “weaker” side than some of those that Liverpool will face in the coming weeks, are not to be underestimated. They are a well-drilled side with an intelligent and respected manager in Sean Dyche, and will have no doubt done their homework on Liverpool, especially their frailties at the back and from set-pieces. In particular they will look to utilise the considerable pace and talent of Andre Gray, a young striker who lit-up the Championship last season with 25 goals; he could cause similar problems to Theo Walcott last week. The key battle to keep an eye on will be Gray vs Klavan and Milner, it will be a true test to see how effectively the defenders can deal with a man with considerably more pace than either of them.

Liverpool are on a high after their win at the Emirates, and will look to continue their goal-scoring form at Burnley. Utilising the 4-2-3-1 formation, the Reds will look to overload Burnley’s back four with skillful dribbling and passing to draw fouls and create space. Mane’s absence will be a loss due to the chances he creates on the back of his direct-running and speed, but Origi is also quite fast as well as being incredibly strong, a real all-around talent. Expect to see the likes of Firmino and Coutinho linking up to try and release Origi into space, Can will also drive up from midfield to support these attacks. The key battle to watch here will be Origi vs Mee, whilst Mee had a good season in the championship, it will be a true test of his talents when he comes up against the omnipotent Belgian.

Prediction

I expect Liverpool to be able to fairly comfortably control this game, although it will require a much improved performance from the midfield from last week, in particular Henderson must be better. Having said that Liverpool should win, but Burnley will not roll over. I’m predicting a 2-0 win for Liverpool, with both goals coming from Divock Origi, a clean sheet and a win being the most important factors.

 

 

Cieren O’Dea for Red Or Dead – Liverpool FC Football Blog – on 19/08/2016.

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