Liverpool continue winning run at the expense of the Clarets
It was a 3-0 win against Southampton on the opening day of the season and in our first home game since had exactly the same scoreline although this time the goals and points went in favour of our opponents Liverpool who inflicted on us our second league defeat of the season.
Three years ago we beat Liverpool 2-0 at home in August on the day that Steven Defour made his Burnley debut. I’ve just taken a look at the two teams who played that day and it showed that Matt Lowton and Ben Mee were the only two Burnley players to play then and yesterday while it was three for Liverpool in Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum and Roberto Firmino.
We’d just got ourselves back in the Premier League for a third time and I would think our team is much improved now from what it was then. That’s certainly the case with Liverpool but I suppose the addition of players such as Virgil van Dijk, Mo Salah and Sadio Mané would improve any team.
Our opponents haven’t dropped a point since the week before they beat us at Anfield last season and yesterday were chasing a record number of wins. We always knew that to get a result we would probably need them to drop below their current form and that we’d need to play exceptionally well. Neither really happened and the result, I would suspect, is often an inevitable one after that.
Football fans have routines for home games and those routines are usually strictly adhered to. Yesterday, mine was changed completely for the launch of Clarets for Foodbanks which saw me joining representatives from West Yorkshire Clarets manning the wheelie bins as so many generous people made food donations for Burnley Community Kitchen. It all went well and so much better than I’d hoped and we even had chance to chat to a couple of Bury fans who were taking in our game and gathering support for their own club’s plight.
With the bins safely returned, it was time to get through the turnstiles for the first home game of the season against one of the top six, although I do think that Liverpool now can be considered, along with Manchester City, one of the top two.
Aaron Lennon came in for the injured Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson in what was our first Premier League change of the season and for fit again Lennon a first league start since the 1-0 defeat at Wembley against his former club Tottenham last December. Any hopes that Liverpool might rest one or two of their stars just didn’t happen and they lined up with a team probably as strong as they possibly could.
It might have been a brilliant start for us. With only around two minutes gone, Chris Wood got to a ball forward from Matt Lowton on the right hand side of the box. He turned Van Dijk but saw his effort saved by Adrián who is currently in goal for Liverpool. Wood had done everything right in his search for a first goal of the season prior to getting in the shot.
Overall, it wasn’t going so bad although Liverpool were inches from taking the lead when Salah smashed one against the inside of the post with the slightest of touches from Nick Pope saving the day and soon after the same two players were involved again; this time Pope did enough to block Salah and the ball eventually went out for a goal kick.
We got to the half hour mark with the scores still level at 0-0, and deservedly so, but then the game turned in favour of the visitors with two goals in the space of four minutes. The first was something of a freak. Trent Alexander-Arnold, who had another difficult afternoon in trying to deal with Dwight McNeil, crossed from the right. It got a deflection off Wood’s shoulder and that deceived Pope who saw the ball go beyond him into the far corner of the net.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get time to settle before they’d doubled that advantage and taken the game away from us. Our two central defenders have both played so well this season, but it was captain Ben Mee’s mistake that led to the goal.
He tried to play a return ball to Ashley Westwood from just inside his own half but it was intercepted by Firmino. He moved forward played in Mané and at that point I thought we were in danger of suffering a big defeat.
Without being anywhere near our best, we hadn’t done badly in that first half and I’m sure Liverpool must have been somewhat relieved to have gone in with that two goal half time lead and we just knew that it was the most difficult of tasks to get back into it.
In truth, the second half was really a stroll for our visitors. They never allowed us the slightest of chances really to get back into it and the only real attempt we had was a header from James Tarkowski that went way over the bar.
Liverpool defended well and controlled the game and went on to add a third ten minutes from the end with a goal that owed much to the work of Salah down the right. It was fortunate in the end that it fell nicely for Firmino but there was nothing fortunate about his shot into the corner from the edge of the box.
That came in the 89th minute and just a few minutes later it was all over and Liverpool had a third successive Turf Moor victory.
We hadn’t been at our best. There were too many self inflicted wounds. We too often conceded possession under little pressure, but we were playing a very strong Liverpool team who, once in front never looked back.
So often over the years they’ve come to Burnley and taken everything away. We might not have got anything from them on the pitch yesterday but a good number of their fans donated to our foodbank collection which they added to with a £120 donation from Spirit of Shankly and that was brilliant.
It’s time for the first break now before the early set off in two weeks time for the south coast and Brighton after a day which ended with the departure of Steven Defour.
The teams were;
Burnley: Nick Pope, Matt Lowton, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Erik Pieters, Aaron Lennon, Ashley Westwood, Jack Cork, Dwight McNeil, Ashley Barnes (Jay Rodriguez 73), Chris Wood. Subs not used: Joe Hart, Kevin Long, Charlie Taylor, Danny Drinkwater, Jeff Hendrick, Matěj Vydra.
Liverpool: Adrián, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joel Matip, Virgil van Dijk, Andrew Robertson, Jordan Henderson (Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain 71), Fabinho, Georginio Wijnaldum, Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino (Xherdan Shaqiri 85), Sadio Mané (Divock Origi 85). Subs not used: Caoimhin Kelleher, Joe Gomez, James Milner, Adam Lallana.
Referee: Chris Kavanagh (Manchester).
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