Henderson leads, Sturridge finding sharpness, Professional Reds: 5 Talking points from Burnley victory

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After Liverpool’s controlled 2-0 win against Sean Dyche’s Burnley at Anfield, Ben Twelves selects five discussion topics from the fixture.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, March 4, 2015: Liverpool's celebrates scoring the second goal against Burnley during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

A controlled performance from Brendan Rodgers’ Reds ensured Sunday’s monumental effort against Man City didn’t go to waste and another vital victory ensued.

A superb half-volley from Jordan Henderson in front of the Kop finally beat a determined Tom Heaton in the Burnley net, before the stand-in skipper then turned provider for Daniel Sturridge’s match sealing header early in the second period.

While not the most blitzing display from in-from Liverpool it was certainly job done against the Premier League strugglers, and here are the discussion topics from the deserved victory.

 

Captain Henderson Produces the Goods

The vice-captain once again lead the Reds superbly in Steven Gerrard’s absence with another excellent display on Wednesday night.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, March 4, 2015: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson scores the first goal against Burnley during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The 24-year-old has added a production and leadership to his ever-improving game as he continues to blossom – making him nailed on to inherit the armband when the 34-year-old eventually departs – and it was Henderson who took on the responsibility to make the difference against the stubborn visitors.

His pile-driver of a half-volley – reminiscent of a certain strike against Olympiacos just over a decade ago – was the perfect reward for his burning desire to join the attacks, and his impressive vision and intelligent use of possession linking defence and attack, combined with his tenacious work in the middle of the park meant the away side were firmly second best throughout.

On a night when it was essential no complacency crept in, the Captain ensured it was business as usual with a leading display.

 

Daniel Sturridge Sharpening Up

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, March 4, 2015: Liverpool's celebrates scoring the second goal against Burnley during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The goal machine is still not at the performance level we have come to expect over recent seasons, but Sturridge is certainly on his way back to recapturing form.

While the striker didn’t enjoy his most eye-catching night in a red shirt – with his usually immaculate touch and finishing ability deserting him when one-on-one with Heaton in the first half – he remained as dangerous as ever in the final third and enjoyed a far more productive night in his all-round contribution.

The England man grabbed the all-important match winner with a brilliant header from Henderson’s pin-point cross – a much needed goal following a slightly rusty period of form – and his intelligence in finding space allowing for link-up play with Adam Lallana and Philippe Coutinho kept the Reds firmly in control.

The 25-year-old still has a way to go to rediscovering his best form following five months on the side-lines, but a well-taken goal and promising performance showed signs that Sturridge is on his way to recapturing that electric sharpness again.

 

Mr Consistent Alberto Moreno

The Spaniard has been somewhat overlooked in recent months despite playing a key part in the Reds’ transformation, and Moreno kept up his good form with another solid performance.

Football - FA Premier League - Liverpool FC v Manchester City FC

While not his most spectacular display in recent weeks, the 22-year-old has well and truly made the left midfield position his own with his consistent displays, and his tenacious style defensively alongside the positivity he brings going forward, is certainly a huge reason for the solidity down the Reds left flank.

In front of both Mamadou Sakho and Dejan Lovren, the natural left-back has continued to go about his business unfazed and the protection he provides with his swarming style has undoubtedly helped the Croatian to settle well after a nervy start in place of the French international.

It was another decent night’s work from the summer signing, who was rightly withdrawn prematurely receiving a well-deserved rest.

 

Emre Can a Class Act Again

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, October 22, 2014: Liverpool's Emre Can in action against Real Madrid CF during the UEFA Champions League Group B match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Despite it being a relatively quiet night for the Reds back line as they dominated the visitors’ attack, the German still managed to turn in a classy display.

The defensive stability Can affords alongside Martin Skrtel highlights his importance to the back line, and anything that progressed as far as the assured back three, Liverpool’s very-own Rolls-Royce dealt with effortlessly – displayed as he won two out of two tackles, four out of four aerial duels and made two interceptions.

The German’s composed ball-playing – completing 85.5% of 76 passes played – ensured Burnley found nothing to feed off in the final third, and playing with such confidence and effortlessness has resulted in the German now tackling with skill rather than force – illustrated as the 21-year-old regained possession with a sublime ‘Cruyff’ turn as the away side attempted to break.

Another excellent display was topped off with the adoring Kop sounding their appreciation with their latest number as they chanted his name.

 

Professional Reds Keep Composure

It was fundamental that Liverpool built on their superb work on Sunday against the Champions in a trickier fixture than most imagined, and Rodgers’ side did just that on the night.

In a controlled performance from the first whistle, the Reds were refreshingly calm throughout and did everything required to grab the all-important three points from the match, taking their run of form to an excellent 9 wins from the last 11 games.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, January 20, 2015: Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers before the Football League Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg match against Chelsea at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Most impressive though, was the disciplined nature of the display alongside the usual flair and creative work, and Rodgers’ men worked tirelessly – pressing their opponents from the front and as a unit despite the score-line – ensuring no opportunities were afforded to the away side to get back into the game.

The business-like performance was executed perfectly and it was exactly the sort needed to ensure of another forward step in the race for a top for place.

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Next up for Liverpool is the small matter of an FA Cup quarter final tie against Blackburn on Sunday afternoon, with a chance for a Wembley visit up for grabs.

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To mark the end of the 30-year wait for a league title, the ‘Liverpool Mishmash’ poster is available to order exclusively on This Is Anfield — the history of the Reds in one image!

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