Liverpool Return To Summit With Resounding Win
Liverpool broke a club record league winning streak with their 13th successive league victory in their 3-0 win over Burnley at Turf Moor.
A Chris Wood own goal, as well as strikes from Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino was enough to send the Reds back to the top of the table.
Manager Jurgen Klopp kept faith in the team that beat Arsenal and his players rewarded him with a performance of dominance and efficiency in a game that was flagged up as a potential banana skin.
The hosts, who claimed a credible 1-1 draw away with Wolves last time out, started with an attacking ambition. A trademark Burnley long ball, on the cusp of offside, sent Chris Wood in behind Liverpool’s high defensive line, but Adrian saved the Kiwi’s shot well before Matip completed the clearance.
The Reds settled well thereafter and almost took the lead in the fourth minute. Mohamed Salah’s venomous strike hit Nick Pope’s right-hand post with the keeper beaten all ends up.
There was a lull in intensity for the next fifteen or so minutes, before a chance for the European Champions sprung the game back into life. Jordan Henderson’s delicate dug out through ball sent Salah through, but Pope — quick off his line — smothered the Egyptian’s effort as he began to pull the trigger after his first touch.
It wasn’t long after that Liverpool took the lead, however. Trent Alexander Arnold shanked a back post cross which took a deflection off Wood and looped over the head of Pope and into the net. It was a huge stroke of luck for Klopp’s men, but, on balance, it was a goal their dominance deserved.
1-0 soon became 2-0 when Sadio Mane doubled the visitors lead. Ben Mee’s underhit pass was snaffled by Firmino and the Brazilian released Mane to calmly caress a finish into the bottom right corner of the Burnley goal. The Senegalese was the standout performer to that point, with the goal being just rewards. On the surface, the goal stemmed from Mee’s lack of technical ability, but credit is due to Liverpool for closing his passing lanes and forcing the error and also for Mane and Firmino reacting quick enough.
Burnley huffed and puffed, but never really threatened the Liverpool goal with Georginio Wijnaldum, in particular, denying the host’s avenue’s to attack Klopp’s back four as the Reds went into the break 2-0 to the good.
The second half followed much of the same pattern. The Reds enjoying the lion’s share of possession, but with the result, a foregone conclusion largely playing in second gear.
Salah ought to have squared to Firmino, but elected to shoot and shot tamely at Pope. Van Dijk, celebrating his UEFA Player of the Year award, shot well over from distance after he ventured deep into the home team’s half.
Oxlade Chamberlain got more valuable minutes into his legs on his injury return as he replaced Henderson, as the game largely petered out between the start of the second half and the 70th-minute mark and talking points were at a premium.
Adrian, a mere spectator throughout most of the second half, pulled off a good save from substitute Jay Rodriguez. The former Southampton man was well offside but it was encouraging, nevertheless, to see the Spaniard sharp despite having comparatively little to do.
The final nail in Sean Dyche’s team’s coffin arrived in the 79th minute. With Burnley committing men forward, Liverpool filleted the hosts on the counter. Learning from his earlier error, Salah passed to Firmino and Brazilan fired low past Pope from just outside the box.
Liverpool go into the international break with four wins on the trot and, much to the assumed delight of Klopp, their first clean sheet of the league campaign.
Liverpool team: Adrian; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane.
Substitutions: Oxlade Chamberlain for Henderson, Origi for Mane, Shaqiri for Firmino.
Subs not used: Kelleher, Milner, Gomez, Lallana.