Competition: Premier League
September has been a sobering month for Liverpool fans. Gone are the exuberant days of August and with them, our care-free attitude to just enjoying our Redmen attacking, scoring, and attacking again. September has opened our eyes to those defensive concerns which we knew were always there. In August, we were able to sweep those matters under the proverbial rug. September, however, seems to be that better friend. Unlike August, she won’t let you ignore your problems, pretending they’re not there. No, September calls attention to what you don’t want to see, asking for a full-blown intervention to be held. The challenge is in listening, though. Will September’s warning cries be heard?
Liverpool lineup – Mignolet, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Klavan, Robertson, Can, Milner(c), Coutinho, Salah, Sturridge, Firmino
Subs: Karius, Lovren, Moreno, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Solanke
Burnley lineup – Pope, Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee(c), Ward, Defour, Cork, Gudmundsson, Arfield, Brady, Wood
Subs: Legzdins, Long, Bardsley, Westwood, Walters, Barnes, Vokes
Liverpool got down to business straight away this afternoon. Sturridge had the first shot on goal, an effort from around the penalty spot that was partially blocked by the defence. Nick Pope, deputising for the injured Tom Heaton, was grateful to get his first touch of the ball.
Andy Robertson was offering a great outlet on the left and his deliveries were causing early concerns for the Burnley defence.
There seemed to still be some early defensive nerves on the Liverpool side, remnants from the 2-2 draw with Sevilla. Joel Matip was looking shaky and was caught out in possession by Chris Wood.
Alexander-Arnold had a left-footed shot drag wide of the right-hand post in the 8th minute. Salah had a strong claim for a penalty in the 17th minute after Matip had strode forward from defence and put the wide-man through. Salah’s claims fell on deaf ears on this occasion.
In the 21st minute, Coutinho played a short ball back to Sturridge who then played in a deep cross to the back post where Salah got his head to it but could only put it over.
Burnley began to threaten shortly afterwards. A low cross from the left in the 26th minute was brilliantly dealt with by Andy Robertson who prevented Wood getting on the end of it.
However, a minute later and Chris Wood was involved in creating the opening goal. Robbie Brady won his header out wide against Alexander-Arnold and then Klavan and Matip failed to cope with Chris Wood. Wood’s knockdown made it to Arfield who finished it first time with his right foot. Mignolet could not do anything about it. 0-1.
The Reds made amends almost immediately. Emre Can played a great ball over the top which Salah got on the end of. Salah controlled it well and got his low shot away which Nick Pope couldn’t stop.
Liverpool looked good again after the equaliser and were once again camped in the Burnley half right up until the break. Indeed, Sturridge almost gave the Reds the lead in the 42nd minute when Coutinho played him in on the left. Sturridge’s strike hit the side-netting just outside the near post.
There was still time for Salah and Sturridge to manage another shot apiece but again, Pope was equal to both of them.
Half-time: Liverpool 1 – 1 Burnley
It was more of the same in the second half. Liverpool pushed and pushed but Burnley were as resilient as ever. There never seemed to be too much trouble on the break from Burnley, either, as they lacked any real pace in their midfield and attack.
Between the 55th and 61st minutes, Can, Milner, Sturridge, and Robertson all had shots on goal. Two were saved while Milner and Robertson saw their efforts go harmlessly wide.
Unfortunately for Liverpool, Nick Pope was in inspired form today.
In the 73rd minute, Klavan made a vital interception at the other end as Arfield tried to play Chris Wood into the box. Matip and Klavan had to combine on a couple of occasions to deny Burnley during this short spell.
Oxlade-Chamberlain replaced Firmino in the 79th minute and Solanke replaced Coutinho a minute later. Klopp was leaving it late before making any changes, again.
Solanke had a glancing header go wide after a good cross from Alexander-Arnold. Solanke really got stuck in after coming on and worked hard both going forward and coming back.
A minute later and it was Alexander-Arnold’s turn to be on the end of a cross. Milner did well on the left and chipped the ball in for the right-back to catch it with his left foot at the back post. Again, Pope was there to deny him.
In the 85th minute, Alexander-Arnold and Salah combined on the right-hand side of Burnley’s area. Salah looked to be clearly taken down in the box but Roger East didn’t give the penalty. The ball stayed in play and made its way into Solanke who had to try to pull the ball back from behind him in the six-yard box. His somewhat acrobatic effort crashed against the underside of the bar and down. Burnley scrambled it clear. It just wasn’t going to go in again for Liverpool.
Emre Can had one more shot on goal. His curling strike from outside the box seemed to be going wide, but just for good measure, Pope saved that one, too.
That was how it ended. September continues its tough love policy with Liverpool.