Competition – Premier League
Venue – Anfield
Referee – Roger East
Date & Time – September 16th, 2017 @ 15:00 BST
Do I really need to mention last weekend’s game at the Etihad? We all know the team collapsed and lacked leadership after going a man down. The lack of game-management from the manager and the “leaders” on the pitch left me infuriated afterwards. Let’s hope the team grow from the experience. What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger, apparently?
Besides that City game, Liverpool had been performing well (and to be fair, were very much in the game up until Mané’s red card at City). Arsenal were taken apart at Anfield. Hoffenheim just about kept the score respectable when they visited, and the Palace hoodoo was overcome. The Palace result is probably the most relevant to look to when previewing this Burnley game. Palace came with the idea to stifle the Reds and do their damage on the break. This is most likely what Klopp and co will have to deal with again on Saturday. Of course, it took Mané to finally break that deadlock against the Eagles and he will not be available. This is why Philippe Coutinho’s return could not have been timed better. He may well have the key to unlock Burnley’s deep-lying defence with Firmino and Salah making the runs ahead of him.
Burnley have taken four points from their two away games so far this season. More impressively, those matches were at Chelsea and Spurs. Their 3-2 win at Stamford Bridge was followed up with a very creditable 1-1 draw with Spurs at Wembley in their next game on the road.
Last weekend, Burnley put the final nail in Frank de Boer’s premature coffin at Crystal Palace with a 1-0 victory. It was very much a case of grabbing the early goal and then hanging on for Burnley – their 4 shots on goal paling in comparison to Palace’s 23 attempts. But as the old saying goes, there’s only one stat that matters. Chris Wood bagged the only goal of the game.
Burnley’s only defeat was a 1-0 reverse at home to WBA in the second round of league games.
A fun and terrifying fact for Liverpool fans – Jonathan Walters has scored seven times against Liverpool in his Premier League career, more than he has against any other side.
Sadio Mané serves the first of his three UK games suspension (also misses the two games v Leicester (1 x Lge Cup, 1 x PL)). Clyne and Lallana are still out through injury. Coutinho is still working his way back into Klopp’s plans while Salah was sent home from training on Tuesday due to illness. The Egyptian winger luckily recovered in time for the game with Sevilla so, unless he suffers another illness setback, he should be good to go on Saturday. Loris Karius took his place between the sticks for the midweek Champions League group game but it should be Mignolet back in goals for this league game.
Sean Dyche has injury concerns for Tom Heaton and Dean Marney. Jeff Hendrick is also touch-and-go to make it back to full fitness for the trip to Anfield. Nick Pope should start in goals for Burnley after impressing when he was called upon against Crystal Palace last Sunday after Heaton’s injury.
Dyche went with a 4-4-1-1 shape for his team when they visited Chelsea and Spurs earlier in the season but that was before the signing of Chris Wood. Dyche went with both Wood and Sam Vokes up front against Palace. He may well revert to the 4-4-1-1 for this weekend seeing as how successful they have applied those tactics on the road so far.
Liverpool XI – Mignolet, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Lovren, Robertson, Henderson, Can, Wijnaldum, Salah, Firmino, Coutinho
Burnley XI – Pope, Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Ward, Gudmundsson, Cork, Defour, Brady, Walters, Wood
When they last met
Both sides took three points each from their meetings last season. Burnley inflicted the early-season 2-0 defeat on the Reds. Andre Gray and Sam Vokes scored the goals that day.
Liverpool won 2-1 in the return fixture on Merseyside. Ashley Barnes gave Burnley the early lead in that game but goals from Wijnaldum and Emre Can turned it around for Liverpool.
Liverpool have won five of their six Premier League matches against Burnley, including winning all three at Anfield.
This is going to be another tough game. Sean Dyche is an extremely underrated manager and his early season away successes at Chelsea and Spurs point to the evolving tactical awareness of Dyche and his backroom team. Liverpool can be found wanting when a game descends into a purely physical battle and that is what Burnley will be looking for. My head is telling me this game could be a draw but I’ll go with my heart and predict the win 🙂