Liverpool’s astonishing Anfield unbeaten run was brought to an end with a toothless performance as Burnley snatched a win from the spot to resign the Reds to a 1-0 defeat.
Liverpool 0-1 Burnley
Premier League (19), Anfield
January 21, 2021
Goal: Barnes 83′
Alisson – 6 (out of 10)
It was not a strenuous night for the Brazillian, but he was at the heart of the biggest moment of the game after giving away a penalty – albeit with what looked to have been little, if any, contact.
Was an otherwise commanding performance but, unfortunately, his strong hand against Barnes previously, despite being offside, is forgotten as a result.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 5
A cross anyone? Look, it was a night to forget from Trent’s right-boot as some sailed above the heads of his teammates or sprayed into the stands, but some did require timely interventions.
Defensively he was not asked too many questions but was when he was it wasn’t entirely convincing – it was at the other end of the field where he could not make time and space count.
Joel Matip – 8 (Man of the Match)
After a four-game absence, the big-man was back for the first time in 2021 and what a welcome sight it was.
His usual front foot approach and desire to find his forward players was clear to see, and his body positioning snuffed out the few chances Burnley did have.
Fabinho – 7
Arguably the non-event of his challenge at half-time was the liveliest the game had been up to that point, but performance-wise it was another with few faults.
Could have done better to block Barnes’ run into the penalty area but this one was not at the hands of the defence, and he continues to lay claim to Liverpool’s most important player of the campaign.
Andy Robertson – 6
Acted as the natural outlet once more and his work ethic was clear to see, as we have come to expect from the Scotsman.
His link-up with Mane looked the most promising early on, but another guilty of too many ill-directed crosses.
Thiago – 6
Despite suggestions to the contrary, did move Liverpool up the pitch in a timely fashion – and his cross-field pass to Trent after manoeuvring through midfield was particularly pleasing.
Did, however, gift possession from time to time in a period of particular sloppiness by the Reds and you would say, by his standards, the worst of the bunch for the Reds so far.
Gini Wijnaldum – 6
Captaining the team from the start for the first time, a more advanced and expansive game awaited as Thiago manned the stations from deep.
Popped up in pockets around the penalty area and his brilliant forward drive in the second from his own half ought to have created a goal for Liverpool.
Xherdan Shaqiri – 7
A midfield berth once more in a position he looks to have locked in for the season was bright and he had a number of almost moments in his first back-to-back start since 2019.
Did work himself nicely into shooting positions but such is the Reds’ fortunes of late, was unable to hit the sweet spot, but his link-up play showed promise for the future.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 5
It was a place on the right-wing for Ox in just his second start of the season, a position he has not enjoyed previously.
And it was a similar story this time out, playing on the periphery with a tendency to drift and thus leaving the right-flank vacant and with the ball not quite sticking at his feet.
Divock Origi – 5
The first half for the Belgian came with a number of near chances, thanks to tame finishes, and the best opportunity of the opening 45 minutes having run clear on goal only to find the crossbar.
Was very much representative of Liverpool’s goalscoring woes of late.
It would be Origi’s last ‘meaningful’ action in what was his first league start of the season after being withdrawn before the hour mark.
Sadio Mane – 6
As the only member of the usual front three to start, he was the focal point of the attack for the first hour but had little in the way of his own chances on goal.
Like in recent games, the No. 10 did show flashes of breaking the shackles but poor decision making that has swept through the side agonisingly saw chances go begging. He now has just two goals in his last 14 league outings.
Mohamed Salah (on for Oxlade-Chamberlain, 57′) – 6 –
Did force Pope into making a meaningful save minutes after his introduction and was perhaps guilty of wanting it on his left-foot and the shift meant the chance disappeared.
Roberto Firmino (on for Origi, 57′) – 6 –
Two golden chances for the Brazillian, one wayward of his own making and another agonisingly cleared when it looked destined for the net. A timely rest here, but he’s lost his spark.
Takumi Minamino (on for Shaqiri, 83′) – N/A –
Came on after Burnley scored, but what has the guy got to do to get a chance?
Subs not used: Kelleher, Phillips, Tsimikas, N.Williams, Milner, Jones
Jurgen Klopp – 5
The manager’s animation on the touch-line was no doubt representative of the entire Reds faithful as this was a performance devoid of spark and ideas.
It’s now five league games without a win and four without a goal and the light at the end of the tunnel to end such a run seems to be dimmer.
The result means the 68-game unbeaten run comes to a grinding end and it did not deserve such a finish, with the performance not one representative of the side Klopp has built.
Now it is back to the drawing board, but they don’t have time to sulk as Man United await on Sunday – it might be a cup game but it now needs to act as one where a response is recorded as a corner needs to be turned with a testing run on the horizon.