While they made it difficult for themselves, Liverpool sealed a vital 2-1 victory at home to mid-table Burnley on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
Liverpool 2-1 Burnley
Premier League, Anfield
March 12, 2017
Barnes 7′ (assist – Lowton)
Wijnaldum 45+1′ (assist – Origi)
Can 61′ (assist – Origi)
Continuing their campaign for a top-four finish in the Premier League, Liverpool welcomed an intriguing Burnley side to Anfield on Sunday afternoon.
While Sean Dyche’s side headed into the weekend 12th in the table, this did little to show their abysmal form away from home, with the Clarets having not won once on their travels this season.
And still bruised by their 2-0 defeat at Turf Moor back in August, the Reds will have headed into Sunday’s showdown eager to add to Burnley‘s 11 away losses for the season so far.
Taking confidence from their 3-1 win at home to Arsenal the previous Saturday, Jurgen Klopp‘s side took to Anfield for another crucial encounter, and came out victorious.
- Klopp makes one change to side that beat Arsenal
- Barnes opens scoring for Burnley after just seven minutes
- Wijnaldum equalises on cusp of half-time for fifth Liverpool goal
- Can powers home out of nowhere to give Reds the lead
- Liverpool seal back-to-back wins for first time in 2017
Kicking off in the rain, Dyche’s Clarets began in similar fashion to the start of the season, with Ashley Barnes breaking the deadlock after just seven minutes following a fine ball from Matt Lowton.
Liverpool continued to struggle against a structured, diligent away side, with only the pace and unpredictability of Sadio Mane troubling the Burnley defence.
It was the Senegalese who looked most likely to inspire any semblance of a comeback, and with Klopp moving closer to a three-man defence as Emre Can dropped back, Liverpool did grow more threatening.
But as on a number of occasions throughout the campaign, the Reds toiled against a low defensive block, with Philippe Coutinho particularly abject in his efforts to break Burnley down.
It proved a late injection of fortune that gave Liverpool a lifeline just before half-time, with the ball bouncing into the path of Georginio Wijnaldum in the box, and the Dutchman forced it home to make it 1-1 at half-time.
No doubt lifted by that late equaliser, Klopp opted to keep faith in his starting lineup, making no changes at the break as Liverpool re-emerged in search of three points.
They certainly improved, finding more pockets of space around the Burnley penalty area, while Klopp did make a substitution on the hour mark, sending on 17-year-old Ben Woodburn for the disappointing Coutinho.
Liverpool were ahead a minute later, as Origi fed Can with the midfielder 40 yards out, and driving towards the box, he sent a low, swerving strike beyond Tom Heaton to make it 2-1.
The away side remained a threat, however, and Klopp moved to change his tactical setup with the introduction of Lucas Leiva with 10 minutes left to play, moving Mane up front and Adam Lallana out to the right.
This allowed the Reds to see out the result as Burnley went direct late on, and while it was far from a convincing performance, they sealed back-to-back victories for the first time in 2017.
TIA Man of the Match: Georginio Wijnaldum
Referee: Craig Pawson
Liverpool: Mignolet; Clyne, Matip, Klavan, Milner; Can, Wijnaldum, Lallana; Mane, Coutinho (Woodburn 60′), Origi (Lucas 79′)
Subs not used: Karius, Gomez, Moreno, Alexander-Arnold, Wilson
Burnley: Heaton; Lowton, Keane, Mee, Ward; Boyd (Brady 73′), Barton, Hendrick, Arfield (Agyei 90′); Barnes, Gray (Vokes 79′)
Subs not used: Robinson, Tarkowski, Westwood, Darikwa
Next match: Man City (A) – Premier League – March 19