Another day, another mild heart attack at the thought of Liverpool playing against one of the bottom-half teams. This time it’s Burnley, who trounced Liverpool in their last meeting 2-0, despite the Reds having the lion’s share of possession. They’ve got to try their luck at Anfield this time, where hopefully Liverpool will ensure a better outcome.
Liverpool have a rare opportunity on Sunday. With none of their top four rivals playing in the league this weekend, they can more convincingly consolidate their position in the top four and potentially pull five points ahead of fifth place Arsenal. Manchester City also played out their game in hand against Stoke to a 0-0 draw, meaning that they’re only four points ahead of Liverpool in third place.
The big news out of Melwood is that Roberto Firmino hasn’t been training at all this week after suffering a knock against Arsenal. In his place will likely be Divock Origi, since Daniel Sturridge is also still out injured.
Burnley, like every effective team against Liverpool, will sit back deep and defend and let the Reds search for a goal. They did this perfectly in August at Turf Moor, albeit aided by a lucky goal in the second minute that allowed them to fall back early without any need to score. Liverpool had 80% of the possession that day, and came out with nothing to show for it, save for perhaps some PTSD.
On Liverpool’s side is the fact that The Clarets have yet to notch a win away from home this season. They’ll also be without Steven Defour and Johann Berg Gudmundsson for this game, and of course Liverpool’s own Jon Flanagan will be ineligible to play against his home club.
Mignolet; Clyne, Matip, Klavan, Milner; Lallana, Can, Wijnaldum; Mané, Origi, Coutinho
It will be interesting seeing who Klopp chooses to pair with Matip in the center of defense. Klavan came on last week and performed well, and for the sake of consistency, he may play him there again. Other than that, the line up is more-or-less set thanks to injuries to Sturridge and Henderson. If Firmino beats the clock and can play on Sunday, then it’ll be him in place of Origi up front.
Kickoff is set for 4.00PM GMT/12.00PM EST tomorrow on Sky Sports 1 in the UK. Elsewhere, Optus Sport in Australia, TSN4 in Canada, Star Sports Select HD2 in India, Supersport3 Africa in Kenya, Astro Supersport 3 in Malaysia, and NBCSN in the US are carrying the match. You can find full listings at LivesoccerTV.
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 all the action as it happens.