Burnley vs. Liverpool
| Monday, January 1, 2018
Premier League | Turf Moor
3:00PM GMT / 10:00AM EST
Sean Dyche and Burnley have a habit of making things miserable for Liverpool, so it will be interesting to see whether that trend continues when Jürgen Klopp’s side travel to Turf Moor on the first day of 2018. The Reds are on a roll at the moment, powered by their dynamic front four, but Burnley are no slouches themselves this season, sitting just behind Tottenham and Arsenal in the table. Most recently, they’ve been busy ruining José Mourinho’s mood and were this close to nicking a win at Old Trafford.
It’s tempting to think of Burnley as a side that sets out to frustrate their opponents first and foremost, but that would be a disservice to what Dyche has put together at Turf Moor. There is a certain degree of resolve and venom in this side, and Liverpool need to be wary of the likes of Jóhann Guðmundsson and the much-improved Steven Defour, who stunned Manchester United with an unstoppable free kick on Tuesday. Burnley will also welcome back defender James Tarkowski - rumored to be targeted by Manchester City and Arsenal - who returns from suspension.
For Liverpool’s part, they will be eager to improve on the 1-1 result at Anfield in September, which had put a bit of a damper on Philippe Coutinho’s return to the lineup. Under normal circumstances, and given the Reds’ scintillating goalscoring form of late, you might expect Liverpool to be a stern test for Burnley, but with both sides likely to be somewhat fatigued thanks to the silly fixture schedule, expecting the unexpected would be a better idea.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Mignolet; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Klavan, Milner; Can, Wijnaldum, Lallana; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Solanke, Mané
Klopp has already signaled that Simon Mignolet will get the start in goal, and that there will be other changes from the lineup that got the win versus Leicester City. What those changes will be, however, is far from a certainty, and will be driven in part by the staff’s assessment of players’ fitness levels given the astoundingly brief turnaround time.
Still a bit too early to trot out Virgil van Dijk, unfortunately, so we might see Ragnar Klavan’s return to the middle of the back four. Andy Robertson has seen heavy minutes since Alberto Moreno’s injury, so James Milner (who has also seen a lot of playing time but who is maybe also indestructible) may be asked to fill in at left back again.
It’s further upfield that things get interesting. Gini Wijnaldum was used as a substitute on Saturday, so he is a strong candidate for a starting role tomorrow. Could Adam Lallana be called back into the starting lineup to spell Philippe Coutinho in the midfield? If so, expect those rumors of Coutinho-to-Barcelona to kick into overdrive. Up front, Salah will almost certainly be absent, and we might see Dominic Solanke get the nod to allow Roberto Firmino a rest.
Referee: Roger East
Assistants: Mick McDonough, Mark Scholes
Fourth official: Martin Atkinson
Kickoff is set for 3:00PM GMT/10:00PM EST tomorrow, and television listings for the match can be found on LiveSoccerTV. In the meantime, we'll be keeping you updated with all the buildup to the game, including team news as it's released, our live matchday thread, and post-match recaps from The Liverpool Offside staff. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on the action as it happens.