Burnley vs. Liverpool
| Saturday, August 31st |
Premier League | Turf Moor
5:30PM BST / 12:30PM EST
Sean Dyche has managed his side to a decent start in the league. One win, one loss and one draw last weekend after Wolves equalized far into added time. Jürgen Klopp generally speaks highly of Dyche and what the Kettering native is responsible for at Burnley. But the two managers have had spats on the touchline before that have boiled over into the post-match world. It was at Turf Moor in December 2018 when Joe Gomez got a leg crack that ended his incredible run of form to start last season. Klopp wasn’t happy with the behavior of Burnley’s players on the pitch and Dyche claimed some Liverpool players were cheating. It was a whole thing.
Dyche will go into the game without two of his preferred wide players. Icelandic winger Johann Gudmundsson is sidelined with a calf injury from last week’s game against Wolves. And Robbie Brady is healing from some type of a rib situation.
At the pointy end of Burnley’s set-up is Ashley Barnes who has scored four goals in his side’s first three Premier League matches. Two against Southampton on the opening day, and one each at Arsenal and Wolverhampton. Barnes will be a key focal point for Liverpool’s defense at Turf Moor on Saturday.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Adrián; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Mané, Firmino, Salah
Thankfully, Klopp’s team have largely ironed out the kinks in their defensive organization. Led by UEFA Men’s Player of the Year Virgil Van Dijk, the back line has gotten stronger with each match. Three wins in three has helped. The team adjusting to the sudden inclusion of Adrián has caused a few nervy moments but all in all solidity is on the rise.
Normally, I would say that it’s time for Joe Gomez to come back into the XI but, if Klopp’s true to his words about building momentum at this stage of the season, I think Joël Matip will keep his place next to Van Dijk. Matip has started the last three matches, including the Super Cup. That partnership is working pretty well. No need to go tinkering with it. So, obviously, this means Gomez will start.
I do think that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will get another start at Burnely. But deciding which midfielder to drop to accommodate the Ox is tricky. I’m going with Jordan Henderson because I think he’ll be cool with it. But Gini could also make way. Fabinho should never be dropped, amen.
The last time Burnley beat Liverpool it was 2016 and the Reds’ centre back pairing was Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan. James Milner was the left-back. We’ve come a long, long way.
What the Managers Said
Jürgen Klopp: “Everybody struggles who goes there (Turf Moor). I can’t remember any team who won there, high.”
Sean Dyche: “We have to stay focused, we have to attack well because we might not have the ball as much as we hope and we have to defend well for obvious reasons.
Referee: Chris Kavanagh
Assistant referees: Dan Cook, Sian Massey-Ellis
Fourth official: Anthony Taylor
VAR: Michael Oliver
Assistant VAR: Stephen Child
Kickoff is set for 5:30PM GMT/12:30PM EST tomorrow, and television listings for the match can be found on LiveSoccerTV.
In the meantime, and as always, 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.