Liverpool were not a side firing on all cylinders in the 3-1 win against Burnley but, thankfully, they did not need to be to collect all three points at Anfield.
Liverpool 3-1 Burnley
Premier League (24), Anfield
February 10, 2024
Goals: Jota 31′, Diaz 52′; O’Shea 45′
Caoimhin Kelleher – 7 (out of 10)
With Alisson missing in action due to illness, Kelleher was back for his third league start of the season and the eighth of his career.
Clattered into Virgil van Dijk making an early save and, crucially, came out quick and strong to deny Fofana – their goal, meanwhile, was in the net before he could react.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 6
Sometimes you really do have to sit back and appreciate what the 25-year-old can do with the ball, the timing and precision is to be admired. For this, he deserved his assist.
The defensive side of his game, though, was not quite up to scratch. He was dribbled past four times in the first half, in addition to losing four of his six ground duels.
Passive but maybe understandable as he came off at half time as a precaution – rushed back from injury, perhaps?
Jarell Quansah – 7
Had his goalkeeper to thanks for sparing his blushes after getting a clearance all wrong, but it was one blemish on an otherwise solid day out.
Could’ve have had a goal and finished the match with the joint-most duels won, winning nine of his 11 attempts.
Virgil van Dijk – 8
Perhaps one of those performances that on the face of it was not anything special, but Van Dijk’s levels are different to that of his peers.
He was clean with the ball (90/98 accurate passes), won all four of his aerial battles and was behind only Alexander-Arnold when it came to passes into the final third.
Andy Robertson – 7
For the first time in more than four months, the Scot was in the starting lineup and it was a match he, understandably, needed to grow into.
Dusted off some of his trademark deliveries into the penalty area but without the payoff, though it was certainly a delight to see that threat from left-back again after all this time.
Wataru Endo – 7
Seven games away with Japan and there was no delay in getting the No. 3 back in the team, but his time away did lead to a slow start and he had to do more to stop Dara O’Shea getting a free header.
An early yellow card forced him to be more mindful. It is a performance from which to build on, but Liverpool will want him to dictate the tempo with greater effect.
Alexis Mac Allister – 6
Having thrived in the deep-lying role of late, there must’ve been a temptation to allow him to continue there despite Endo’s return.
As the right-sided No. 8, it took the Argentine more than 20 minutes to rack up just 10 touches – an anonymous start that played into the Reds’ lack of tempo and intensity.
He’s a player you want pulling the strings but it felt a lot more like he was solely putting out fires instead.
Curtis Jones – 7
It was probably not the day Jones expected to have, playing the first 45 minutes in midfield before moving to right-back to cover for the lack of right-sided defenders available.
Composed and aware of his surroundings, he did all you could want in a position that he will not favour, and Burnley quickly found out he was not a weak link to take advantage of.
Diogo Jota – 7
A man on a hot streak and that, of course, continued with a well-taken header into an empty net for his 14th goal of the season – we still have no idea why the Burnley ‘keeper had any complaints!
Too eager at times to take on the shot but he was heavily involved from start to finish, not something that is always said about the Portuguese.
Luis Diaz – 7
A positive presence on the left wing and while not every action was executed perfectly, he was always prepared to make the run forward or help clear the lines at the back.
A top save denied him a first-half goal, but he made sure no one could reach his second-half header after making the brave run and stooping low for the finish.
Had to make better decisions with his final ball, Nunez would be justified in having a word with him later.
Darwin Nunez – 8
Found it hard to be consistently involved through the middle, he had the fewest touches of any Red in the first half (22) – but he was at least a threat when involved.
He continued to make the right runs and his perseverance finally paid off with a well-directed header that was a bit behind him, you could see and sense his relief.
Let’s not forget, though, that this is a forward with five goals and four assists in his last 10 games – not bad, eh.
Harvey Elliott (on for Alexander-Arnold, 46′) – 9 (Man of the Match)
Has consistently been a productive sub and here he help set up goals for both Diaz and Nunez. The exact impact you want from the bench and that will give him a timely confidence boost.
When it comes to Man of the Match, you can’t really look past him. He changed the game at the exact right time.
Cody Gakpo (on for Diaz, 82′) – 6
Threw himself around but didn’t really see much of the ball
Kostas Tsimikas (on for Robertson, 90+6′) – N/A
Back for the first time since breaking his collarbone in December, good to see!
Bobby Clark (on for Mac Allister, 90+6′) – N/A
James McConnell (on for Endo, 90+6′) – N/A
Subs not used: Adrian, Mrozek, Gravenberch, Koumas
Jurgen Klopp – 7
Again without 10 senior players due to a combination of injury, illness and suspension, Klopp no longer had the ‘luxury’ of choice that he professed to have not even a few weeks ago.
He knows not to jinx it again, though that didn’t help with Alexander-Arnold.
Nevertheless, you could understand his squad being low on energy if the flu truly has spread throughout the squad and it will make the win more valuable to the manager.
Klopp will need to see an upturn in performances soon, but with a week until the next match he’ll hope he can welcome back a few more faces before the start of another hectic run of fixtures.
In the weeks to come it will be interesting to keep an eye on what happens next with Endo and Mac Allister.