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A typical Turf Moor trip – 5 talking points from Burnley 0-1 Liverpool

Liverpool had to grind it out at Turf Moor in a typical Burnley away day, but Fabinho‘s goal touch continued as the Reds kept the pressure on City at the top.

Burnley 0-1 Liverpool

Turf Moor, Premier League
Sunday 13 February, 2022

Goals: Fabinho 40′

 

Wild depth for Klopp to manage

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 13, 2022: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during the FA Premier League match between Burnley FC and Liverpool FC at Turf Moor. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It’s such an unusual situation to be in, but Liverpool’s squad depth is absurd right now – because everybody is fit.

The manager has genuinely huge calls to make in several positions every match as it stands, because there are actual starting-calibre players fit and waiting to come into the team – and there just isn’t room for them all.

Consider: Curtis Jones has started the Reds’ three previous Premier League matches, but wasn’t even in the matchday squad at Burnley.

Taki Minamino, Divock Origi, Joe Gomez and all the young hopefuls involved over winter were similarly squeezed out of the 20.

It might not last too long, injuries being what they are, but it’s a real dilemma for Klopp to solve and savour – not just from a tactical perspective, but with his man-management, keeping them all happy, ready to play when needed and convinced they have a big role to play in the coming weeks and months.

Luis Diaz, Diogo Jota, Thiago and Harvey Elliott among the subs at Turf Moor!

 

AFCON trio return

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 13, 2022: Liverpool's Sadio Mané during the pre-match warm-up before the FA Premier League match between Burnley FC and Liverpool FC at Turf Moor. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

African champion Sadio Mane returned to the starting line-up, straight back in the side to give the Reds their ‘old’ starting trio in attack alongside Bobby Firmino and AFCON runner-up Mo Salah.

Added to them was Naby Keita, back in the line-up in midfield and almost back on the scoresheet early on, a driven strike well saved by the keeper among a good overall half for the No8.

Salah, well, his weekly occurrence happened – he was fouled in the box and didn’t get a pen – and he was the big threat in the second half, though we’ve yet to see him truly catch fire yet.

But Mane’s return was maybe most intriguing given Jota and Diaz both can play left and both have won headlines recently. He almost claimed a couple of assists and nearly scored in the first half too.

Few players get to be a standout at Turf Moor and it was the case again today, but certainly nobody was poor and pushed the case for a positional rival to get the start next time – competition for places should make this the case on a regular basis.

 

Could this game be any more Burnley?

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 13, 2022: Liverpool's goalkeeper Alisson Becker during the FA Premier League match between Burnley FC and Liverpool FC at Turf Moor. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Cold. Raining. Grey. Hurricane-force winds. Opening goal off a set-piece.

Honestly, if the stereotypical match report was to be written about a Burnley game, every single one of these would be right at the top of the list.

It was an absolute grind at times, not made any easier by the usual dismal refereeing decisions for constant niggly fouls, with Liverpool having to fight for space and repel powerful opponents and deliveries with frequency.

Counter-attacking chances were the order of the second half for the most part, though our build-up play improved when Burnley failed to find a way through early on and were eventually forced backwards.

When it comes to Burnley away, most of the time all you can hope to do is get out with three points and no injuries – mission accomplished.

 

Fabinho, in both halves of the pitch

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 13, 2022: Liverpool's Fabio Henrique Tavares 'Fabinho' celebrates after scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Burnley FC and Liverpool FC at Turf Moor. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Who had our Brazilian defensive midfielder making the late charge for Golden Boot then?!

OK, he might not quite get to Salah levels of celebrations, but he has been a vital and most-appreciated additional source of goals over winter.

His scrambled, scruffy finish here at the second attempt was his sixth of the season, his fifth in 2022 – but the great positive is that it never comes at the expense of his elite-level defensive work.

Fabinho made two really important interventions in his own penalty box, including a blocked cross after the Clarets cut through and had an otherwise clear chance down the left in the second half.

Passing, ball-winning, positional play and stopping those second balls being won – he’s perfect at the lot and our match-winner once again.

 

Off to Italy and then to rotate?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, September 15, 2021: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson gives an interview after the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 1 game between Liverpool FC and AC Milan at Anfield. (Pic by UEFA)

Hard to imagine anything other than a full-strength Liverpool side next time out, as we head to Inter Milan for a Champions League last-16 first-leg tie on Wednesday.

Thiago might be among those to come into the side for that and Jurgen Klopp might have one or two other decisions to make too – but it certainly won’t be about rotation for that game as we’ll want to set the platform to progress.

Beyond that, there might well be more rotation to come.

Norwich at home might offer the chance to make changes, and so too a rearranged midweek clash with Leeds which lands just four days before another must-win encounter: our League Cup final at Wembley against Chelsea in a fortnight.

A packed schedule, the chance for a trophy and the pursuit of another – it’s all systems go around Anfield and this was every bit as vital a victory.

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