Torrential rain, galeforce wind – the conditions and the arena almost demanded an ugly win, and that’s what Liverpool provided.
Fabinho Nazario bundled in from a corner shortly before half-time and it proved to be the winner, securing three points that keep the Reds’ title hopes alive.
Burnley may be bottom of the Premier League but coming into this game, they’d only suffered eight defeats – as many as fourth-place West Ham – and conceded 29 goals, fewer than Manchester United.
It’s their impotence in front of goal which is largely responsible for their plight and they ultimately paid for failing to take some really good chances in the first half.
After the break, Liverpool exerted significantly more control, seeing the game out with relative ease.
Here’s how Jurgen Klopp’s side rated.
Alisson Becker – 8/10
Swept up well as Burnley looked to fire long balls in behind the Liverpool defensive line. Had to head it away twice in the first 20 minutes.
He once again proved himself to be the master of close-range one-v-ones, smothering a Jay Rodriguez shot and denying Wout Weghorst when he tried to round the Brazilian soon after (Weghorst was offside but Alisson wasn’t to know that).
Add in some precise long passes, and you get a commendable 8/10 display.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 7/10
A somewhat scruffy start to the game – epitomised by two errant touches on the right touchline – but he improved.
Picked out Sadio Mane at the back post with an excellent free-kick on 30 minutes, his best delivery of the game.
It wasn’t his passing, but instead his movement, which fashioned an opportunity in the final 10 minutes as he made a diagonal dart into the penalty area.
Joel Matip – 7/10
Matip has been prone to panic-inducing moments of sloppiness recently. Alisson wouldn’t have been happy with one or two back passes that made Burnley eyes light up.
There were some crucial defensive interventions though, like when he came across to clear after James Tarkowski took down a long free-kick, or when he glanced the ball to safety as Maxwel Cornet waited to convert a dangerous cross from the right.
On that basis, I’ll give him a seven. It would be a 6.5 but decimals are frowned upon at Anfield Index.
Virgil van Dijk – 7/10
This time, a seven that isn’t far short of an eight. Won five of his seven aerial duels, coping well with Burnley’s direct, physical threat, and launched some trademark passes out to the right-wing.
He did shank the ball straight to Rodriguez for his big first-half opportunity, though.
Andrew Robertson – 7/10
So nearly had an assist for Salah after just five minutes when he played a first-time cross into the back post. It only just evaded the Egyptian.
His foray into the Burnley box on 78 minutes was a mirror image of Trent’s, but Salah elected not to play him in. That could have been a glorious chance for the Scot to score a rare goal.
Fabinho – 8/10
An eight, bordering on a nine, for Fabinho. The goal, strikingly similar to his effort against Leeds United in September, owed itself both to determination and predatory movement.
Remarkably, in February, his six goals leave him just one short of his compatriot Firmino.
Goals in 2022:
— The Anfield Wrap (@TheAnfieldWrap) February 13, 2022
He also threatened to add an assist when he found Trent with a sublime dinked pass in the closing stages.
Aside from that, defended his own final third well when necessary.
Jordan Henderson – 6/10
Hard to say this was a noticeable improvement on what’s come before from Henderson.
His best moment came on 19 minutes when he fired a cross into the so-called corridor of uncertainty between Nick Pope and his defence, but no Liverpool attacker could capitalise.
He was rightfully booked after taking out Erik Pieters following a loose touch, and then subbed off just before the hour.
Naby Keita – 8/10
An enjoyable display from Keita. Produced one of Liverpool’s best moments in the first 45 when he forced Nick Pope into a good save with a driven strike from the edge of the box.
And in the build-up to the corner from which Fabinho scored, he played a clever ball in behind Connor Roberts for Sadio Mane.
He made at least three more tackles (five) than anybody else on the pitch and also finished with a commendable 90% passing accuracy.
Mohamed Salah – 7/10
Only had one shot in the entire game, well down on his season average of around four, but still made an impact.
His backheel fashioned a chance for Trent, and he slid Diogo Jota through with a few minutes to go, though maybe he shouldn’t have ignored the aforementioned Robertson run.
But for an overhit Sadio Mane pass (more on that below), he might well have been back among the goals.
Unfortunate to be denied a penalty after he was caught by Wout Weghorst in the first half.
Roberto Firmino – 6/10
A few tidy passes when he dropped into midfield, but his impact was mostly limited. No chances created, no shots on target. Needs to do more in light of Jota’s form.
Sadio Mane – 6/10
A reasonable return to action. Denied by Pope as he met Trent’s delivery on the stretch.
His involvement in the goal – a glancing header into the six-yard box – was key.
Liverpool might have doubled their lead before the HT whistle had he not overcooked a pass to Salah after shrugging off Tarkowski in typical style.
Subbed off after 67 minutes.
Thiago Alcantara – 7/10
A good, if perhaps predictable, change from Jurgen Klopp, enabling Liverpool to maintain control throughout the last half hour.
He was ambitious on the ball when he saw a chance, and safe when he needed to be.
Diogo Jota – 6/10
Came on for the final 25 at left wing rather than centre forward.
Looked destined to seal the points for the Reds, but couldn’t get a clean shot away under pressure from a desperate Tarkowski.