Liverpool 1-1 Burnley
Premier League (35), Anfield
July 11, 2020
Goals: Robertson 34′; Rodriguez 69′
Jones comes in for the captain
He was constantly demanding the ball in midfield, not afraid to call for it in tight situations.
The 19-year-old was first to have a shot on target, but his tame left-footed effort was easily saved by Nick Pope.
It was a statement of intent, though, and it wasn’t long before he was having another, which was blocked and went out for a corner.
He was always on hand in attack, and blasted another shot just off target after being set up by Mohamed Salah on the break.
Perhaps most encouraging from Jones was how comfortably he slotted into the midfield and into Jurgen Klopp‘s system.
Jones fitting in perfectly with the counterpressing!
Our production line in getting young players right for the system is incredible
— Dan Kennett (@DanKennett) July 11, 2020
The Scouser now needs one more appearance in order to qualify for a winners’ medal this season, and on this solid showing, he’s likely to appear in each of the last few games with Henderson out, even if just from the bench.
Dominant champions the team to beat
Liverpool will now be the team everyone is looking to beat, and this provides sides with motivation even when they have little else to play for, as was the case with Burnley here.
It’s unlikely that a side managed by Sean Dyche will ever give less than 100 percent, though, and even though the Lancashire side were definitely looking to limit the damage first, they worked hard enough to occasionally threaten.
And sometimes an occasional threat is enough. It certainly was when a long ball was won by James Tarkowski and Jay Rodriquez was on hand to finish well past Alisson.
In truth, it’s been like this for Liverpool for some time now.
Teams turn up at Anfield and camp in their own half, looking to steal something on the break, which is what Burnley were able to do here. But there will now be an added incentive for some.
The visitors welcomed the Liverpool XI with a guard of honour, but this didn’t extend to the game itself. They even had a chance to win it at the end, but Johann Gudmundsson’s strike hit the top of the bar.
Klopp’s side finished the game having had 71 percent of the possession, but still couldn’t secure the win.
Back in the starting lineup having only played 45 minutes against Brighton, the Scotsman was firing on all cylinders.
His pace down the left is unmatched, in both defence and attack.
He drew applause from the Liverpool coaching staff on one occasion as he sprinted back to help Joe Gomez in defence, winning the ball and getting his side going forward again.
Also impressive in the other direction, he was on the receiving end of more appreciation from the bench when, after a burst down the left, he produced a cross that asked to be tapped in, but there was no one on hand to do so.
Luckily, he had already take goalscoring matters into his own hands, scoring his second in the league and third in all competitions, getting on the end of Fabinho‘s cross to execute a difficult header to perfection.
It was a goal of which any seasoned centre-forward would have been proud.
It’s difficult to find fault with a side who were crowned champions with so much of the season still left to play, indeed that fact might well naturally affect subsequent performances.
But it was another inconsistent display from Gomez at the back, and another game in which Roberto Firmino failed to find the back of the net despite having chances.
In his good moments, Gomez is very good, and in holding off the attacker on one occasion there were echoes of Virgil van Dijk.
But there is also an occasional sloppiness that needs to be worked on.
While there is no real alternative to Gomez in defence, unless Klopp wants to risk Dejan Lovren, up front there is an alternative to Firmino in the shape of Takumi Minamino, but for whatever reason, he isn’t being used.
Elsewhere, Salah’s poor effort late in the game summed up his currently failing attempt to claim the Golden Boot, and his free-kick in the first half makes you wonder why he’s still lining up to take them.
Tough tests ahead
Liverpool are chasing City’s record points haul and now need three wins from their last three games to surpass it, and they will be made to work for them.
Following games against bottom-half Brighton, all-but-relegated Villa and midtable Burnley, the Reds will now face tougher tests in the shape of in-form Arsenal and Champions League qualification hopefuls Chelsea.
Chelsea are making waves in the transfer market and on the pitch. Christian Pulisic is showing why Liverpool were once interested in signing him, and they also have Timo Werner on the way who also interested Klopp.
Burnley were tough in their own way, but the next two games will pose a much different threat.