Liverpool vs. Burnley
Thursday, January 21, 2021 – 8pm (GMT)
Premier League (18)
Referee: Mike Dean
It’s not been the best few weeks, has it? It’s an unusual situation Liverpool find themselves in after nearly two seasons of perfection and now a reaction is desperately needed.
Despite much of the talk centred around the ‘makeshift’ nature of the Reds’ defence, it is the attack which needs a new lease of life after just one goal has found the net in the last four league games.
A return which has seen Jurgen Klopp‘s side slip to fourth in the table, and while the nature of the season ensures the gap is anything but insurmountable, the slide has to stop.
And the challenge which awaits is against a Burnley side who sit just four points above the relegation zone after goal struggles of their own, netting just nine in 17 games.
On paper, it sounds a kind fixture but Liverpool have already dropped points to those positioned two places below Burnley and two above, making this another ‘dangerous’ match.
But while there has been little to hang onto recently, this side is not one to ride a slump for an extended period of time and let’s hope this fixture can act as a turning point at what would then be the halfway stage of the season.
Three points please, Reds.
Is Matip Available?
While the boss remained coy in saying “we have to make a decision,” Matip is expected to mark his return, which could then see Jordan Henderson move back into his natural midfield role.
An update on Naby Keita was not provided on Wednesday, but patience looks to be the Reds’ course of action as a series of setbacks continue to ensure he is unable to pick up any rhythm.
Diogo Jota remains absent and is “still a few weeks away,” while Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez are on the long-term list and Kostas Tsimikas is back in the mix after his return to training prior to the Man United game.
For the visitors, meanwhile, defender Charlie Taylor has a chance of featuring having not played in 2021 to date but otherwise, they remain with few absentees.
Possible Burnley XI: Pope; Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Pieters; Brady, Westwood, Brownhill, McNeil; Barnes, Wood
Last 5 Home to Burnley (All Competitions)
Drew 1-1 – January 2015 (Robertson; Rodriguez)
Won 4-2 – March 2019 (Firmino 2, Mane 2; Westwood, Gudmundsson)
Drew 1-1 – September 2017 (Salah; Arfield)
Won 2-1 – March 2017 (Wijnaldum, Can; Barnes)
Won 2-0 – March 2015 (Henderson, Sturridge)
Did You Know?
It has not been the best of times in front of goal, as we all know, so much so that for the first time since 2005 the Reds have not scored in three games in a row.
And they will be desperate to avoid four successive league games without a goal, a run last recorded in the 1999/2000 season.
But, interestingly, the date this fixture falls on could be a good omen as not since 1911 have Liverpool not scored in a game played on January 21 from 21 games.
At this point, we will take any sign of the barren run ending and we have club statistician Ged Rea to thank for shining a light on it.
Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)
Burnley – Last five results (all competitions)
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Klopp shared his “respect” for Burnley and Sean Dyche and the way in which they approach games:
“When you look at the goal difference, I think it’s nine-22, that means obviously they didn’t score a lot of goals but they don’t concede a lot as well.
“So that just shows us how tough the game will be, but it was always like this against Burnley: a proper fight, second-ball fight, defending the channel balls, defending the intensity – Burnley puts in a specific intensity – and all these kind of things.
“They play a specific way and I really respect that. They do it for years and Sean is always able to squeeze really good performances out of the squad, even when it’s not the biggest squad in the world.”
TV & Liveblog Info
Chris Williams has you covered on This Is Anfield’s matchday liveblog, keeping you entertained with his usual bias take, starting from 7.15pm.