Liverpool FC 2-0 Burnley: Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane net in Anfield revenge tale

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 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Liverpool made it back-to-back convincing wins to kick off the new Premier League season as they inflicted some Anfield revenge on Burnley.

It was the Clarets’ shock 1-0 win here in January - sealed by an Ashley Barnes penalty - that saw Liverpool’s incredible 68-game home unbeaten run halted, sparking a dismal sequence of six straight defeats on their own patch for the first time in club history.

But Jurgen Klopp’s side had no such worries of a repeat on Saturday lunchtime, with Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane netting in each half to secure a comfortable victory to follow the 3-0 triumph at newly-promoted Norwich on opening weekend.

A full crowd was inside Anfield to witness a match for the first time since March 2020, with tributes continuing ahead of kick-off to Andrew Devine, the 97th victim of the Hillsborough disaster who passed away in July from life-changing injuries suffered in the disaster 32 years ago.

Klopp made two changes to the side that taught a lesson to Norwich on their top-flight return seven days ago, with captain Jordan Henderson fit to return and 18-year-old Harvey Elliott handed a maiden Premier League start, with James Milner sidelined with a knock and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain absent.

There was an early scare for Liverpool as the lively Dwight McNeil struck the post via a deflection, but the offside flag was up.

Alisson Becker then palmed away a Chris Wood header at the near post before the hosts broke the deadlock, with Jota - preferred to Roberto Firmino again after both players scored at Carrow Road - displaying excellent movement as he got away from the Burnley defence before expertly glancing Kostas Tsimikas’ pinpoint cross from the left beyond Nick Pope and into the far corner.

Burnley reacted well to going behind as McNeil tested Alisson again, with Pope then pushing Mohamed Salah’s effort around the post before Virgil van Dijk headed over the crossbar.

Salah had the ball in the net after a lovely first-time, bending low finish following a defence-splitting Elliott pass, but the goal was ruled out for a marginal offside following a quick VAR check.

Undeterred, Liverpool went close again when man of the match Trent Alexander-Arnold’s lofted pass into the path of Mane bounced off the Senegalese’s shin and over the top.

Naby Keita fired over and some brave Ben Mee defending thwarted Salah, while Alisson breathed a sigh of relief after coming to the edge of his box to try and punch away a long free-kick, but getting nothing on the ball as it trickled wide off James Tarkowski.

Burnley - beaten at home by Brighton on opening weekend despite leading for more than 70 minutes - thought they had equalised shortly after the interval as Barnes swept home a low cross, but he was clearly offside and the goal did not stand.

Dominant Liverpool began to lay siege to the opposition box in search of that elusive second goal to put the game to bed, but Mane shot wide under pressure from Matthew Lowton and Van Dijk’s volley from a corner was deflected behind.

A fantastic pair of blocks from McNeil and Charlie Taylor kept it at 1-0 as Salah led the charge, while Pope then denied Mane in rather unconvincing fashion after an eye-catching turn, before gathering a weak header from the former Southampton forward.

The all-important second goal eventually arrived just shy of the 70-minute mark... and what a team effort it was, with Mane firing a spinning ball beyond Pope after Van Dijk had spread the ball out to Elliott, who then combined brilliantly off the flank with Alexander-Arnold.

Only some dogged, last-ditch defending from Burnley stopped two from quickly becoming three, with proceedings finishing 2-0 despite a lively end that included two smart saves from Alisson to preserve his clean sheet.

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