There were mixed feelings after Liverpool's 1-0 win over Burnley on Friday. Many fans were happy for the three points, but deeply disappointed by the manner in which they were earned. Liverpool lacked any sense of urgency in the first half, and the performance was such that a nil-nil draw may have been a fairer result for an organized Burnley side that had obviously studied Liverpool's game for weaknesses.
"No, not at all," was Brendan Rodgers' reaction post-match on whether or not he thought his side were fortunate to scrape three points from a match dominated largely by Burnley. "I thought in terms of our character and resilience in the game we showed outstanding qualities when needed. Burnley pressed really hard and made it difficult for us, in particular during the first half.
"But we were better in second half. There weren't many chances in the game at all but the one clear chance that came out way we put away. We deserved three points for the character we showed."
Liverpool's chance came midway through the second half when Philippe Coutinho played a through ball to Raheem Sterling, who converted the game's only goal. It was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dreary match, but Rodgers liked what he saw from the players he selected.
"I was really pleased collectively," he continued. "We had to show a different side to us, different type of qualities than against Arsenal or Bournemouth. Burnley had the crowd behind them, they are always in the game and don't concede many, it's always very right. The players deserve huge credit. We defended reasonably well in the first half even if we didn't play well. We defended the box really well, and got blocks in."
Keeping a clean sheet is one silver lining from the match, as is the fact that the team managed to defend eight corners without conceding. Liverpool have made incremental improvements to their game over the last few matches, and while they have yet to find a way to tie it all together in a single match, they'll have additional opportunities to connect the dots against lower table opposition over the next week.