Brilliant Burnley secure first win
George Boyd scored the goal against Manchester City on the last occasion we won a home Premier League game; yesterday Sam Vokes, who got his first start in the top flight for us that day, and Andre Gray were the goalscoring heroes as we beat Liverpool 2-0 to get our first points of the new season.
Vokes gave us the lead in only the second minute of the game. We pressed Liverpool as they tried to come out of defence and Gray latched on to a loose ball from Nathaniel Clyne and played it up to Vokes just outside the penalty box
Sam still had plenty to do but he did it so well, turning away from Dejan Lovren and then hitting a superb shot in the corner giving Simon Mignolet no chance of keeping it out. The Burnley fans, finally given the opportunity, showed just how to celebrate a home goal without the tin pot music and eight minutes from half time there was more to come.
When credit is being handed out for this goal, much of it will go to scorer Gray and debutant Steven Defour, but do not underestimate the massive part played by left-back Stephen Ward. He won the ball back for Burnley and found Defour. The Belgian midfielder made a run forward from deep in his own half, getting a bit of fortune against Ragnar Klavan just past the half way line, but Ward made a run of his own down the left to take defenders with him. Defour continued, found Gray who came inside two defenders before placing his shot inside the far post with Ward, the one Burnley player to have got into the box.
That completed the scoring but certainly goes nowhere telling the story of this Burnley performance that was, I believe, as good as any I’ve seen from a Burnley side for many a year. We didn’t have too many opportunities beyond the two goals, but the disciplined way in which we played left Liverpool with virtually all the positions and a lot of wild shots from distance. It also left them hardly ever threatening to get back into the game.
It had all started on a miserable, wet day in Burnley. That’s nothing new to us hardened Lancastrians but we had been softened up all week with a few days of unfamiliar hot weather. It was a case of dodging the showers in getting to Turf Moor to hear the news that Defour would start in place of the departed David Jones in what was the only change to the starting eleven. There was also an interesting change on the bench with teenager Aiden O’Neill replacing Fredrik Ulvestad. No player has come through the youth team to make a first team debut since Joe Jackson was brought on with us 4-0 down at Blackpool in April 2012 and that’s something I would hope our current manager would never do.
Defending the Jimmy Mac end in the first half, the game kicked off with quite a few empty seats with some chaos outside due to a number of the turnstiles being closed. We were in front so quickly but it has to be said that for much of the rest of the first half it was very much the case that Liverpool dominated the possession. It also has to be said that they looked a very frustrated side because I can’t think of one solitary occasion when Tom Heaton looked unduly worried.
Daniel Sturridge, on one of his rare fit days, did fire one effort wide but generally they were unable to get through Sean Dyche’s framework. There were a couple of routine saves but we looked reasonably comfortable and once the second goal went in that level of frustration increased.
My only concern was the prophet of doom to my left informing me with 43 minutes gone that we’ve never led by two clear goals in a Premier League game at half time. The last time that was said was by a BBC commentator at the West Brom game in February last year and they promptly scored. This time, Liverpool didn’t, we did lead by two goals at half time and it was the first time we’ve achieved that in the Premier League.
I’m not sure what I expected would come in the second half. I probably thought Liverpool would step up their game and give us a very difficult 45 minutes. They didn’t; oh yes, we had a lot of defending to do but it was all very much like the first half with us looking for the most part in control. Heaton made one very good save to his left and tipped over a late effort from Marko Grujic, although that was a save you would have expected him to make.
Liverpool didn’t get back into it, they didn’t offer anything they hadn’t offered in the first half and they were well beaten by a Burnley team who were simply magnificent.
I have to admit spotting the clock on 84 minutes and starting to worry for the first time that if they got one they might get two, but, even with referee Lee Mason leaning towards them and then leaning a little bit more, they didn’t really offer one single threat.
“Burnley were superb,” said former Liverpool player Danny Murphy on Match of the Day while, at the ground, Burnley fans baited Sky co-commentator Jamie Carragher with chants of: “Jamie, Jamie what’s the score.” Carragher, laughing, asked Martin Tyler if it’s always like that for the home fans before proclaiming: “It’s 2-0 everyone.”
Yes, 2-0. We’ve beaten Liverpool 2-0. That is not something that happens very often. Just look at these stats.
It’s the biggest win against them since April 1966 when Willie Irvine and Ralph Coates scored in a 2-0 win.
It’s the first time we’ve beaten them at home in the league since Boxing Day 1973; Ray Hankin and Paul Fletcher scoring in a 2-1 win.
We haven’t scored against them in the league since Hankin netted in a 1-1 home draw in March 1975.
We haven’t won a league game against them since that wonderful night at Anfield when Ian Brennan scored.
So the last time Liverpool left Turf Moor with a league defeat was in the days of Bill Shankly.
In so many ways, it might have been better to have beaten Swansea and lost to Liverpool rather than this way round, probably because Swansea have more chance than Liverpool of being rivals at the bottom end of the table. But don’t tell any Burnley fans that because yesterday is why we, as fans, want to be in the Premier League.
Ask those fans which were the best results of the previous two Premier League seasons and I’m sure there will be an almost unanimous vote for the 1-0 wins against the two Manchester clubs, United in 2009/10, when Robbie Blake scored, and City in the game mentioned at the top of this report.
I really did think we were brilliant yesterday, and against a team that just six days earlier were tearing Arsenal apart at the Emirates.
Defensively we were brilliant, and that is certainly not the back four, each member of the team played his part perfectly. My man of the match was Michael Keane but I wouldn’t disagree with anyone who chose any other player.
Defour made a good debut, and his replacement Johann Berg Gudmundsson looked a very, very good player this week when he came on for us. Lukas Jutkiewicz played his part in the closing minutes and then young Aiden did get his debut. He didn’t get a touch on the ball but, even so, what a fantastic day for him.
What a fantastic day for all Clarets too. This really was one to savour. I loved every minute of it, despite the late nerves, and I enjoyed every minute of watching again last night.
Danny Murphy was definitely right, we were superb. This was Brilliant Burnley getting the first win of the season.
The teams were;
Burnley: Tom Heaton, Matt Lowton, Michael Keane, Ben Mee, Stephen Ward, George Boyd, Dean Marney, Steven Defour (Johann Berg Gudmundsson 56), Scott Arfield, Sam Vokes (Lukas Jutkiewicz 82), Andre Gray (Aiden O’Neill 90+3). Subs not used: Paul Robinson, Tendayi Darikwa, James Tarkowski, Michael Kightly.
Liverpool: Simon Mignolet, Nathaniel Clyne, Dejan Lovren, Ragnar Klavan, James Milner (Alberto Moreno 77), Adam Lallana (Marko Grujic 78), Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum, Daniel Sturridge (Origi 65) Roberto Firmino, Philippe Coutinho. Subs not used: Alex Manninger, Emre Can, Joel Matip, Kevin Stewart.
Yellow Card: Jordan Henderson.
Referee: Lee Mason (Bolton).
Attendance: 21,313 (including 2,414 from Liverpool).Follow UpTheClarets:
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