Toothless Liverpool Misfire Their Way To Burnley Draw
Liverpool had their 100% winning record at home in the league taken away from them, after poor finishing and inspired keeper saw them frustratingly draw 1-1 at home to Burnley.
Andy Robertson’s arching header gave the Reds a merited lead before the visitors — who were only in the contest thanks to heroics from keeper, Nick Pope — stole an equaliser through an angled Jay Rodrigues volley. The hosts had two clear penalty shouts denied in a frustrating afternoon.
With the chance to potentially beat Manchester City’s record 100 point total, the hosts started in a quick, bloody-minded fashion. Curtis Jones, Sadio Mane, and Mohamed Salah all spurned opportunities, though, with a mixture of poor decisions — with Jones guilty — bad finishing — of which Mane was a culprit — and Pope’s infallibility denying the Reds an opener.
Continuing to probe and push, Liverpool — who ended the game with 71% and 23 shots — were rewarded for their intent in the 34th minute when Robertson — who looked back to his best after a couple of ropey performances following the confirmation of the league victory — beautifully redirected Fabinho’s dinked pass into the far left corner of the goal at the Anfield Road end.
Further chances came to extend the lead towards the end of the half but Pope — who is tied with Alisson with 14 Premier League clean sheets this season — brilliantly denied Mane, on his left foot, and Salah, on his right foot, with two saves that thwarted shots that were destined for the top left and right corners respectively.
The teams went into the half level, but, given Liverpool’s dominance, there was a sense of the floodgates would eventually open when the hosts would inevitably start to take advantage of their dominance.
It wasn’t to be, however, with Golden Boot chasing Salah spurning more good chances and the Clarets, with what would be classed as a half chance, drawing level with 20 minutes remaining.
A speculative punted free-kick into the Liverpool area saw James Tarkowski win a header — although VAR had to be checked to ascertain whether A: there had been a foul and B: if the visitors were offside — which fell to Rodrigues outside the box. Swivelling, the forward hit a sweetly struck half volley past Alisson and into the bottom left corner.
The Reds tried in vain for a winner — which, on the balance of play, they would have easily deserved — but all their efforts fall by the wayside.
Jurgen Klopp, clearly unhappy with his sides sharpness, made three substitutions in order to provide the attacking thrust so evidently missing. Naby Keita replaced Jones — who, despite some poor choices in front of goal, can be happy with his first-ever Premier League start; Trent Alexander Arnold came on for Neco Williams, who had a solid outing in his more natural right-back role, after playing on the left against Brighton; meanwhile, Georginio Wijnaldum, who has had better outings came ashore for Alex Oxlade Chamberlain.
The Champions had what looked a clear penalty on Robertson cleared away when Charlie Taylor recklessly fouled the Scot in the box, but Liverpool — who have only won five penalties all season — had their claims denied, without VAR even being consulted.
Roberto Firmino, whose Anfield goal drought in the league is now 18 games, came close to giving the Reds back their lead, but the Brazilian hit Salah’s through ball against the base of the post at the Kop end.
Burnley, who flooded the area around Alisson in goal and who arguably could have been reprimanded for fouling the keeper on several occasions, had a great chance when substitute Johann Berg Gudmundsson hit the bar after a scramble in the box after a set-piece.
The last chance, though, was for Liverpool and it nutshelled their performance as a whole. Enterprising play down the right saw Alexander Arnold expertly deliver a flat, low cross that found Salah in the box. Instead of taking a touch, however, the Egyptian hit the ball harmlessly into the hands of Pope on his weaker foot and wasted an opportunity that he would usually gobble up to end a frustrating afternoon at Anfield.
Liverpool team: Alisson; Williams, Gomez, van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Jones, Salah, Firmino, Mane.
Replacements: Alexander Arnold for Williams, Keita for Jones, Oxlade Chamberlain for Wijnaldum.
Subs not used: Adrian, Elliott, Lovren, Shaqiri, Minamino, Origi.
Referee: David Coote