Burnley: Pope, Bardsley, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor, Gudmundsson, Cork, Defour, Arfield, Hendrick, Barnes
Liverpool: Mignolet, Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Klavan, Gomez; Can, Wijnaldum, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Lallana, Mané, Solanke
Liverpool got 2018 off to a winning start at Turf Moor, recording a 1-2 victory after a moment of the highest order from Sadio Mané and some late, late drama from Ragnar Klavan.
With both sides playing for the second time in three days, the first-half lacked the usual intensity of a Premier League clash. Liverpool struggled to penetrate a well organised Burnley defence, with the home side pressing high up the pitch and closing off space for Mané and Solanke.
Klopp’s side could easily have been 1-0 done inside the opening 20 minutes when Burnley broke brilliantly from a Liverpool corner to set Gudmundsson free on goal. Adam Lallana was on hand to avert the danger though, tracking back with a perfectly timed slide tackle. That wasn’t the only lucky escape for The Reds either, with a poorly placed pass from Emre Can forcing Mignolet into a save from Arfield’s header.
The game was never expected to be a thrilling encounter, especially given Burnley’s philosophy of frustrating their oppositions and hitting on the counter-attack, but the second-half did bring more quality to the contest.
It took until the 60-minute mark for Liverpool to break down Burnley, with Sadio Mané emphatically finding the net with a brilliant individual goal. Getting on the end of a ball into the box, the Senegalese turned and fired into the top corner past Nick Pope.
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) January 1, 2018
The goal saw Liverpool find their feet in attack, with Trent Alexander-Arnold testing Pope from long-range with a powerful strike. Oxlade-Chamberlain also drew a save from the ‘keeper at the near post as the away side piled on the pressure. However, Burnley had their chances at the other end, with Ashley Barnes coming dangerously close inside the final ten minutes when his shot flashed just wide of the far post.
It seemed for all the world that Liverpool were going to see the result out before Gudmundsson was on hand to capitalise from a defensive error by Joe Gomez. Caught ball watching, the young right-back allowed the midfielder to coast in at the far post and divert Sam Vokes’ knock on past Mignolet.
With both teams set to share the spoils as the game wound down, there was to be some late, late drama for The Reds to ensure 2018 got off to the best possible start.
Oxlade-Chamberlain delivered a beautiful free-kick into the danger area, picking out Dejan Lovren. The Croatian did brilliantly to divert the ball towards goal, with Ragnar Klavan on hand to ensure Liverpool took all the spoils at Turf Moor.
Talk about drama…