Burnley vs. Liverpool
Premier League (19) | Turf Moor
December 26, 2023 | 5.30pm (GMT)
The manager may not be a fan but Boxing Day football is a tradition that English football prides itself on, and this year, Liverpool’s opponents are Burnley.
Here are 10 key things to know ahead of Burnley vs. Liverpool:
1. A quick turnaround
With Liverpool playing at 5.30pm on December 23, the Reds have just two days, including Christmas, to prepare for this one.
Of course, Burnley have just a couple of hours longer so things will be fair in that respect. Liverpool have actually got off quite lightly with their festive fixtures this time around.
2. “Early” preparations
As mentioned, there’a tight turnaround for the Boxing Day match, and footballers in Britain don’t get a normal Christmas.
“It’s England, nobody gives a s**t about my Christmas!” Klopp said.
“So this schedule is again crazy. Our Christmas, we call it Holy Evening, it’s the 24th, night time – family will be over, it will be great.
“25th, we will have training. I think we will train early in the morning and then the boys can go home and have Christmas lunch with families. On the 26th, we drive to Burnley.”
3. “Great place to celebrate Christmas”
This obviously didn’t go down well in some parts, with Klopp even joking that the Daily Mail would pick up on it. The boss later clarified his comments, saying: “I didn’t think for a second that it was serious.
“If he would have said London, I would say great place to be; if he would have said Fiji, I would’ve said great place to be, because we play football there and I wouldn’t have been with my family.
“The family of one of my best friends is from Burnley, just to make sure I have no issue with that.”
I’m sure his explanation won’t be shared quite as widely by the Daily Mail!
4. Jota would be a “surprise”
On Saturday night, Klopp gave an update on Jota, saying: “I don’t want to rule out anybody now, we will see.
“He didn’t train with the team yet, we have only one proper session so it will be a surprise. But maybe I will get a surprise. I don’t know.
“He didn’t train with the team but the session I saw was really intense but I didn’t ask who will be available yet and the medical department will tell me now or tomorrow.”
5. Team prediction
As Kostas Tsimikas begins his lay-off with a broken collarbone, Liverpool have increasingly few options in the squad.
Predicted XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Gomez; Endo, Szoboszlai, Jones; Salah, Gakpo, Nunez
6. Did you know?
The Reds picked up 23 points away from home in the whole of the 2022-23 league campaign. So far this season, they have accrued 16 points from nine away matches in the league.
Not since October 2015 have Liverpool played out three consecutive league draws in the same campaign – a good omen, potentially.
7. A memorable duo officiating
Paul Tierney will be the referee for this one, with Simon Hooper the video assistant referee.
Hooper was in charge for Tottenham vs. Liverpool this season, and Tierney refereed Liverpool vs. Tottenham last season – probably the two most controversial Liverpool fixtures for controversy of recent times.
Tierney’s assistants will be Marc Perry and Scott Ledger, while Graham Scott takes the fourth official role. Nick Hopton will be Hooper’s assistant in Stockley Park.
No repeat of the nonsense that saw Martin Odegaard’s handball not penalised, please.
8. 17-1 on Boxing Day
Since arriving on Merseyside, Klopp boasts a perfect record on St. Stephen’s Day, winning five out of five as fans tuck into leftovers.
In those five games, 12 different scorers have come to the fore. The only goal conceded was last year, to Ollie Watkins before Stefan Bajcetic sealed the win with his only goal to date.
9. Off the bottom
Saturday’s surprise win at Fulham took Burnley above Sheffield United and off the bottom of the Premier League. They have still earned only 11 points so far, though, but are just three behind Nottingham Forest, who lie 17th.
Having started the campaign trying to play the free-flowing football that won them the Championship, Vincent Kompany’s side have had to adapt.
The team is full of youngsters who have technical ability but, if Liverpool play as well as they did against Arsenal, they shouldn’t pose too many problems for the Reds.
10. Follow the match with TIA
Burnley vs. Liverpool is live on Amazon Prime with kickoff at 5.30pm (GMT).
TIA’s matchday live blog will be up and running from 4.45pm, with Adam Beattie tasked with keeping you entertained and up-to-date.
Come on you Reds!