Home programme ends with another defeat
It’s not been the best at home this season in more ways than one and Liverpool’s 3-0 win against us last night condemned us to another defeat at Turf Moor and a worst ever Premier League season at home.
Those are the facts. Only four wins in nineteen home games matching the total of six years ago but on this occasion we’ve secured one less draw than in that relegation season of 2014/15.
Having got that out of the way, there were some clear positives last night. We played far better than the result would suggest and the game was played in front of supporters for the first time in 438 days since almost twenty and a half thousand witnessed our 1-1 draw against Spurs.
It wasn’t quite back to normal, not by any means, but for those of us fortunate to get tickets it meant a change to what has become the normal routine and making our way back to the Turf. I was down there early. I spoke to a few people who I’ve not seen in a while including one supporter who had been unsuccessful in the ballot but just wanted to be part of it.
By then we had heard the team news with Sean Dyche making a couple of changes from the team beaten by Leeds. He brought back Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson as we returned to the formation we’d used recently at Manchester United. Matěj Vydra was the player to miss out.
The other change couldn’t have been expected. With Nick Pope still ruled out, we made a change in goal from Saturday with Will Norris coming in for a Burnley league debut in place of Bailey Peacock-Farrell who didn’t really cover himself in glory against his former club. BPF has had a difficult start to Premier League life. While Pope has conceded 37 goals in 31 games this season, Peacock-Farrell has conceded 14 in just four games albeit one of those was at Manchester City where every Burnley goalkeeper seems to concede five.
I’ve got into grounds in recent years when the players have still been warming up. I recall Joey Guðjόnsson smacking me on the head with a shot at Scunthorpe as I was making my way to my seat. But I can’t recall having been in my seat before the players came out and when they did, what a reception they got. It was an interesting watch and very much so for Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp who stood in the centre circle throughout watching our, not his, players.
Sadly, there was some limited booing when the players took the knee ahead of kick off but that was drowned out by those who opted to applaud the two teams for the action they are taking.
And so to kick off, and I think it is fair to say that we played well in the first half. Both teams had their chances and until just before half time both teams fluffed their lines. Chris Wood and Josh Brownhill had our best two with Dwight McNeil firing in one shot that Alisson saved well.
At the other end there were some concerning moments and one in particular when Mohamed Salah broke clear only for Mee to get back. Then, just as it was in the Leeds game, we looked set to go in at 0-0 and then conceded a goal just a couple of minutes before the break when Roberto Firmino turned in a Robertson cross. Jack Cork looked as though he should have done better as was the case for Norris who didn’t have the best of nights.
As a contest it was over really. Liverpool, needing a win to get back into the top four, were never going to relinquish a two goal lead and so it proved. Even so, we gave it a really good go and forced Alisson into a couple of saves and also saw a Mee header cleared off the line with me screaming for goal line technology to work its magic.
We needed a goal and I’m sure those of us there, having accepted the defeat, would have happily taken 1-2 if we could have got one. But it was not to be and just two minutes from time Liverpool made it a flattering 3-0 for them when substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain hit home a shot that went in at Norris’s near post.
We did not deserve that scoreline. I hadn’t realised until hearing Dyche after the game that Liverpool had scored with their only three shots on target all night. Now that’s efficient. We had four on target.
It was good to be back last night, it really was. I recall sending a text to friends after we’d beaten Sheffield United back in December. It had been a tough watch and I said I’d come to the realisation that I didn’t like football but I liked going to football.
I loved being back on the Turf last night. I have missed it so much and I can hardly put into words how it felt, being there, with friends and family. It was special. I hope that things can get back to normal for all of us next season but should we have to continue with small crowds then I hope those who missed out last night will get their chance. At least we know it will still be Premier League football.
The teams were;
Burnley: Will Norris, Matt Lowton, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Charlie Taylor, Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson, Ashley Westwood, Jack Cork (Matěj Vydra 76), Dwight McNeil, Josh Brownhill, Chris Wood. Subs not used: Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Jimmy Dunne, Richard Nartey, Erik Pieters, Anthony Glennon, Ashley Barnes, Jay Rodriguez, Lewis Richardson.
Liverpool: Alisson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Nat Phillips, Rhys Williams, Andrew Robertson, Thiago Alcántara, Fabinho, Georginio Wijnaldum (James Milner 86), Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino (Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain 81), Sadio Mané (Kostas Tsimikas 90+2). Subs not used: Adrián, Neco Williams, Billy Koumetio, Curtis Jones, Xherdan Shaqiri, Divock Origi.
Referee: Chris Kavanagh (Manchester).
Attendance: 3,500 (estimated).