The Reds’ 3-1 defeat away to Arsenal has blown the title battle wide open in what was a bitterly disappointing afternoon.
With the match edging closer all the time, This Is Anfield’s Henry Jackson spoke to Matt from No Nay Never podcast (@NoNayNever) to discuss two differing seasons for both sides, Saturday’s game and more.
How have things been since we last spoke on Boxing Day?
I think frustrating best sums up how it’s felt to be a Burnley fan and player since you visited the Turf at Christmas.
Frustratingly, we have played well in some matches and not got anything to show for it – defeat to Spurs in the FA Cup, for example – and the inconsistency of the Premier League‘s officials has cost us points against Aston Villa and Luton.
Kompany continues to baffle us with his team selections and substitutions, too.
Does Kompany have the full support of the fanbase?
Definitely not. Even those who are trying to support Kompany, myself included, are finding it hard to explain what he is trying to achieve with this squad beyond playing at being a Premier League manager.
He is undoing a lot of the excellent work he did last season in building a competitive and entertaining squad which had a great relationship with the supporters.
We are struggling to connect with them, and therefore be patient and understanding, as they struggle with the leap to Premier League level.
Who has stood out and struggled the most for Burnley this season?
Ironically, it’s the newer players that have stood out.
Luca Koleosho was good until his injury, and since then, Wilson Odobert have been the brightest sparks in an otherwise dull campaign.
Sander Berge in midfield has settled in and is showing class, and before his spell out with personal issues, Lyle Foster was looking like the Premier League striker that Kompany assured us he could be when he brought him in 12 months ago.
In a nutshell, our defence have struggled as a group all season, with James Trafford being thrown in the deep end in goal, and alternating between sinking and swimming at this level.
A settled back four is looking less likely with each passing matchweek, with injuries disrupting Kompany’s plans, assuming he has some.
Will you avoid relegation, or are you resigned to it now?
You would be hard pressed to find even the most optimistic of Clarets supporter still believing we can survive without the help of points deductions elsewhere.
Eight points adrift with no consistency in keeping clean sheets isn’t the foundation on which to build a survival bid.
With a new centre-back Maxime Esteve, right-back Lorenz Assignon and striker David Datro Fofana the bright points of an otherwise disappointing afternoon against Fulham, there is the faint hope that things may improve, but we may well have run out of time already.
Planning for the Championship is well under way amongst fans and most likely at boardroom level also.
What are your thoughts on Jurgen Klopp’s shock departure?
I feel his complaining about various subjects has tainted the view fans of other teams will have of him, despite him clearly being a top manager and having an excellent record in his time at Liverpool.
We will all wait and see if there is a player exodus this summer and who will try and fill the large void he will leave.
How do you assess Liverpool’s title chances now?
It’s yours to lose, despite Man City‘s game in hand.
I think if you offered Pep Guardiola back-to-back Champions League wins or a fourth Premier League title, he would take the former and we may see him focus on that and slip up in one or two league matches.
Having said that, you can never rule them out, and with your 2020 title being all but sealed before lockdown hit, it will be interesting to see if you can keep going and match them week in, week out.
As for Saturday, where will the key battles take place?
I think it will be a game of battles between forwards and defenders in the main, and unfortunately, I think it will be your attackers that have more joy against our struggling back line.
I think your defence will also be kept busy by whoever Kompany puts up front for us, however, and they will be looking to frustrate and pounce on any errors.
If you could only have one Liverpool player at Burnley, who would it be?
There is a wealth of talent to choose from.
For me, though, your best all-round player who carries out his duties professionally and the most consistently is Alisson.
Finally, what’s your prediction?
Liverpool 3-1 Burnley.
Probably a consolation goal for the Clarets towards the end, similar to our result at the Etihad recently.