Errors cost Clarets at Anfield
On a weekend when results went against us, we suffered a 4-2 defeat at Liverpool that has left us again hanging perilously close to the drop zone at the bottom of the Premier League.
We came up against a Liverpool team who needed a win to keep close to league leaders Manchester City but it took some generous helping hands from us for them to beat us on a day when I thought we generally played far better than the result would suggest.
For a third successive season we took the lead in this fixture but it was the usual story for us at the ground where Tommy Docherty once said you get nothing here other than a cup of tea.
We’d been warned that winter was returning ahead of the game. I was half expecting at least a covering of snow yesterday morning, which thankfully never arrived, but on the journey over we did encounter sleet, hail and heavy rain and during the match there were enough changes in the weather to have inspired Vivaldi.
I was curious as to what our line up would be. I wondered, after two more disappointing performances, whether Sean Dyche would decide it was time to give Dwight McNeil a break. Thankfully he didn’t and McNeil was to show us once more what an exciting prospect he is and I suspect Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold hasn’t had too many tougher games this season.
But it wasn’t McNeil who was the architect of our opening goal. That prize went to Joel Matip who gave away a needless corner. As Ashley Westwood’s left wing corner came across there is no doubt that we were paying some attention to Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson as the corner flew straight in for Westwood’s first ever Burnley goal. It was, incredibly, the first Premier League goal we’ve scored from outside the box since Steven Defour’s magnificent free kick at Manchester United on Boxing Day 2017.
Should it have been allowed? I have to be honest and say I’d have been unhappy had we conceded one like that, but we have, and there are so many goals scored now where the pushing and shoving is ignored. At least it gave the ranting Jürgen Klopp the opportunity to perform on the touchline.
There were just six minutes gone. Last season it look the only three minutes to equaliser; this time it was a little longer but they then hit us with two goals in ten minutes and both really could and should have been prevented.
Tom Heaton failed to cut out a low cross from Mo Salah for the first one with James Tarkowski in close proximity and it left Robert Firmino with a simple tap in. Ten minutes later, Jeff Hendrick left the ball for Phil Bardsley to clear but Adam Lallana seized on that indecision. Again Salah was involved but the ball fell nicely for Sadio Mané who made no mistake.
We did get to half time with no further damage and we started the second half really well. This was the part of the match that last night’s Match of the Day 2 chose to ignore, after all it was all about Liverpool’s title challenge. Without creating any real clear cut openings, we were putting Liverpool under some pressure, particularly down the left with Charlie Taylor and McNeil and hopes were high in the away end that we could get ourselves an equaliser.
But it all ended with a third Liverpool goal and again it was a mistake from our usual so reliable goalkeeper. His goal kick went straight to Salah whose run then took him into our box. Taylor went in to challenge but the loose ball fell for Firmino to get his second and Liverpool’s third.
I think we all thought the game was up for us now, it’s unlikely that you would come back from two goals behind at Anfield but we gave it a good go. Sean Dyche brought on Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson and Peter Crouch and what a welcome the latter received from the home fans for their former striker.
With just a few minutes remaining, Matěj Vydra was introduced and he and Guðmundsson got us back in with a goal in stoppage time. Vydra headed down Bardsley’s cross for Westwood. When the ball reached Vydra again he played a nice ball across for Guðmundsson who finished well.
That fourth goal was cruel I thought. It meant nothing in terms of the result in the end but it was deflating after that Burnley performance. But we simply can’t make the sort of mistakes we made in this game and get away with it.
There were, however, some positives to take out of the game. We have to continue playing like that and if we do we will be fine, I’m sure. It hasn’t been a good weekend but it is all still in our hands and we won’t come up against Liverpool and the whinging Klopp every week.
I’m already looking forward to next week’s game.
The teams were;
Liverpool: Alisson, Trent Alexander-Arnold (Daniel Sturridge 86), Joel Matip, Virgil van Dijk, Andrew Robertson, Georginio Wijnaldum (Jordan Henderson 68), Fabinho, Adam Lallana (Naby Keita 77), Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mané. Subs not used: Simon Mignolet, Dejan Lovren, Xherdan Shaqiri, Divock Origi.
Yellow Cards: Alisson, Fabinho.
Burnley: Tom Heaton, Phil Bardsley, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Charlie Taylor, Jeff Hendrick (Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson 79), Ashley Westwood, Jack Cork, Dwight McNeil, Ashley Barnes (Matěj Vydra 86), Chris Wood (Peter Crouch 79). Subs not used: Joe Hart, Matt Lowton, Ben Gibson, Robbie Brady.
Referee: Andre Marriner (West Midlands).
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