Liverpool vs Burnley result: Five things we learned as Clarets end Reds’ unbeaten Anfield run

Karl Matchett
·4-min read
Thiago in action for Liverpool against Burnley (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Thiago in action for Liverpool against Burnley (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Liverpool lost further ground in the Premier League title race with a 1-0 defeat at home to Burnley.

The Reds were dominant throughout the first half in terms of possession, but Burnley were as hard-working as expected and mostly restricted the hosts to long-range efforts, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri all going reasonably close without causing Nick Pope too many moments of panic.

Right before the break, Ben Mee’s poor backpass let in Origi to race through one-on-one, but although he beat Pope with his finish, the ball smashed back out off the crossbar and straight to the goalkeeper.

READ MORE: Premier League fixtures and table – all matches by date and kick-off time

Sub Mohamed Salah tested Pope at the near post after the break, but it was Ashley Barnes who won and scored a penalty with seven minutes to play.

Here are five things we learned from the game at Anfield.

Liverpool’s goalscoring woes: Ongoing

The Reds came into this game with the strange juxtaposition of being both the Premier League’s top scorers, and also a woefully out of form attacking side.

No goals in their past three games had seen them drop points and lose top spot in the table, and it was a similar story in the first half as a slew of opportunities were spurned - including Origi’s big one-on-one.

Salah and Firmino both missed chances after coming on and a few other long-range efforts went off-target, but it’s four entire games now and well over 400 minutes since the Reds last celebrated a goal.

Burnley’s goalscoring woes: Over

Burnley’s goalscoring malaise is longer-running. They only had nine goals coming into this game, the only side in the top flight yet to hit double figures as the halfway point of the season approaches.

Here, they threatened not once in the first hour of the game, with the only opening of note coming when Alisson didn’t properly claim a cross.

Burnley have scored only four goals from open play all season and never really looked like adding to that tally - until Barnes seized his chance from the spot.

Tag team on Thiago

A few former Reds had made headlines during the week by suggesting Thiago wasn’t a great fit for the team, despite him being one of the better performers of late.

Burnley boss Sean Dyche appeared to take the reverse opinion: that Thiago as key to making the team tick, so stopping him being in possession was vital.

As such, right from the first minute their twin approach was evident: the strikers took it in turn to block off the passing lane to him from the defenders, positioning themselves between the No. 6 and the ball at every turnover in play.

Thiago did still see plenty of the ball - but the first move out through the thirds was at times certainly hampered by Burnley’s approach.

Rotation vs regulars

Jurgen Klopp made several alterations as he attempted to kick-start his team’s form, while Burnley went with a tried-and-trusted first XI.

The changes didn’t affect the expected flow of the game, with the Reds dominating play and trying to force the issue - but the quality of those changes was evident at a couple of key moments.

Notably, Origi’s huge chance after running through on goal springs to mind, though of course the regular forwards haven’t been scoring of late either. Still it’s hard to imagine Salah for example spurning that opportunity.

Burnley’s well-established line-up know their roles and performed them exactly as expected, which kept them in the game throughout.

Table talk and that Anfield run

The Reds had dropped from first to fourth and watched both Manchester clubs win in midweek, as well as Leicester.

This was another opportunity which fell by the wayside, three full points dropped at home - for the first time in approaching four years.

There’s a long way to go and all the other sides will similarly drop points at some stage, but whether their poor runs will be as prolonged as the champions’ is looking is another matter.

At the other end, the Clarets will take this win in their fight against the drop, now 16th in the table but with a seven-point gap between themselves and the bottom three.

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