Burnley found 2018/19 a struggle in the Premier League – are they about to drift towards relegation or find a second wind in the top flight?
Last season: Won 3-1 away, won 4-2 at home
When we play them: August 31 (away); April 25 (home)
Having earned Europa League football the previous year, last season proved to be a grind for Sean Dyche’s battling side, who finished 15th.
A return to the Championship looked on the cards at one point, but they dug deep and preserved their top-flight status.
It’s hard to see Burnley not being in the relegation dog fight once more, as the gap between the top sides and those in the bottom half grows all the time.
Like so many, it has been a quiet summer at Turf Moor and their squad is one full of heart but lacking genuine quality.
Dyche remains one of the best British managers in the game, but there is a feeling that he has taken the Clarets as far as he can.
They should do enough to stay up for another year, but it’s unlikely to be pretty and Dyche may move on afterwards.
Notable ins: Erik Pieters, Jay Rodriguez, Joel Senior
Notable outs: Anders Lindegaard, Stephen Ward, Jonathan Walters, Peter Crouch
Best XI: Heaton, Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor, Gudmundsson, Cork, Westwood, McNeil, Barnes, Rodriguez.
We spoke to Matt Moss from No Nay Never Podcast (@NoNayNever) to hear about Burnley‘s season and Liverpool’s title chances in 2019/20.
How optimistic are you about the new season?
Relatively optimistic – more so now that a bit of transfer business has been sorted.
Last season’s start was very disturbed by injuries and the Europa League campaign, so it’s been good for almost the whole squad to have a full pre-season since July 1.
Bringing back Jay Rodriguez has been the key bit of transfer business that most Clarets wanted sorting out and we have replaced Stephen Ward at (back-up) left-back with Erik Pieters from our unofficial feeder club, Stoke!
Finally, a sigh of relief was breathed by most Clarets when Peter Crouch announced his retirement. We were happy to call him a Claret for six months, but we are also glad he is not our Plan B going forward.
Overall, with a few more squad members returning from injuries it does feel like we are stronger going into this campaign.
What are Burnley’s main objectives for 2018/19?
After last season’s relegation scrap I think the aim will be to be comfortably clear after the first 10 games and then maintain that throughout the campaign.
Nobody is expecting a repeat of our charge to fourth place that we achieved in the first half of 2017/18, but we also should be experienced enough now to win in different ways and pick up points home and away.
Who’s your man to watch, and why?
Whilst we have strength in many areas, it’s got to be Ashley Barnes.
He’s outscored Marcus Rashford in the last two seasons and is a nightmare for centre-backs.
Despite being physical in his game he also has a high skill level and may well develop a dangerous partnership with Rodriguez.
* All rival supporter views taken before the end of the transfer window.
Away fans’ pubs: Burnley Cricket Club, behind the away end of the stadium. Cracking atmosphere.
One piece of advice for visiting fan: Bring a cushion—you’ll be sat on wooden seats!
How do you rate Liverpool’s chances ahead of the new season?
Liverpool will be determined to deliver the same again this year in their search for that Premier League title.
Whilst they have been relatively quiet on the transfer front, that doesn’t mean they will be any weaker and I fully expect them to be challenging for the title again.
Who are you tipping to be our Player of the Year, and why?
Alisson, Andy Robertson and Mohamed Salah continue to impress, but I expect Virgil van Dijk to be a rock at the back, producing consistently high quality throughout the season and proving to be the real difference again.
TIA’s Burnley Predicted Finish: (Average of the TIA writers’ predictions) 16th
Where Matt says Burnley will finish: 10th-13th
Where Matt says Liverpool will finish: Somewhere in the top three
This is part of our club-by-club opposition previews this summer, getting the views of away fans on their club and their thoughts on LFC.