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Liverpool 0 Burnley 1: A Title Defense Comes To An End

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Fortress Anfield has fallen as Liverpool suffer a shock first home league loss in nearly four years.

Liverpool v Burnley - Premier League Photo by Jon Super - Pool/Getty Images

Liverpool 0 - 1 Burnley


Clarets: Woods 83 (pen)’

Pre-Match

Surprise line up from Jürgen Klopp as Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino both start the game on the bench while Jordan Henderson is ruled out injured. The front line will consist of Xherdan Shaqiri, Sadio Mane and Divock Origi for a Liverpool side seeking to end their longest barren run in front of goal in the Klopp era. Joël Matip makes his third return from injury this season to start alongside Fabinho in the center of defense. Meanwhile, Thiago makes a third successive start in midfield alongside Gini Wijnaldum, who is wearing the captain’s armband from the start for the first time, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. It is imperative that the Reds stop the slide down the table and get a result against Sean Dyche and Burnley.

First Half

Origi punts into Row Z early on to set the tone. The Belgian looks to be playing through the middle with Mane on the left, Oxlade-Chamberlain on the right and Shaqiri playing deeper in midfield.

Burnley Chance! Nervy moments for Liverpool as Alisson is unable to climb high enough over Chris Wood to secure a looping cross, managing instead to only punch a few feet clear. The ball falls to Ashley Barnes on the edge of the box with Alisson a foot a two away, but the Brazilian is able to recover and spread himself to block the follow up shot.

The Burnley forwards are living off the shoulder, having been called for possibly their 97th offside as their teammates simply lump it up to them following a turnover.

A good period of Liverpool play follows as the Reds curiously seem to find a bit of joy hitting Burnley on the break. Mane lays on for what used to be a trademark Ox rocket from the edge of the box but it’s aimed straight at Pope.

Thiago then rides two challenges and finds Trent who plays it first time into the box. Timely foot in from a Burnley defender prevents a Origi tap in.

Big Chance! Origi misses the chance of the match. Ben Mee has a horrid miskick at the halfway line that puts the Liverpool forward through on goal by himself with Mee and Mane trailing to his left. The Belgian elects to go for power but the shot clips the underside side of the cross bar and bounces away. Should have been the moment.

Big VAR Call! Drama after the halftime whistle as Fabinho appears to kick out in response to a Barnes hip check leaping for the final goal kick of the half. A bit of a scuffle between the two sides breaks out as VAR takes a look to see if a red card for violent conduct is warranted. Klopp and Dyche, who had were both already halfway down in the tunnel at this point are caught exchanging heated words with the German particularly irate and gesticulating wildly. VAR concludes no penalty and Mike Dean gives Fabinho a yellow card.

Second Half

Liverpool have started the second period with a sense of urgency following what must have been an absolute leathering from Klopp in the locker room.

Early in the half, a blocked Trent cross sets up for the full back to have a shot that draws a good save from Pope at the near post. Nothing comes from the resulting corner. The Reds continue to pour forward with only the final pass failing to come off for the home side. 16 Liverpool shots to three from Burnley so far.

Klopp has seen enough, removing Origi and a disappointed-looking Oxlade-Chamberlain in the 57th minute for Firmino and Salah.

Liverpool Chance! Whaddya know, another keeper having a worldie against Liverpool. Gini receives a short pass from Alisson, beats his man on the turn and then races the length of the pitch before finding Salah for a rasping near post shot that brings out yet another smart save from Pope.

Alisson produces a wonder save from a powerful Barnes volley although the flag eventually goes up for offside.

Poor from Firmino as a Robertson return ball on a turnover leads to a miskick wide from the Brazilian. 21 shots now for the Reds and still no goals in 2021.

Dyche is relishing this as an increasingly-desperate Liverpool continue to lay siege to Clarets goal. Everyone and the Burnley kit man are camped out in the box now, throwing bodies in the way of every shot that comes their way.

Goal. 82’. A Burnley free kick is semi-cleared before being lobbed back into the box. Fabinho tries to hold Barnes but the Clarets forward manages to reach the ball first before going down under a phantom touch from the onrushing Alisson. A 0.7 second-long VAR check doesn’t change the call and Barnes buries into Alisson’s left corner. Liverpool’s 68-game league home winning streak is under threat.

Takumi Minamino comes on for a tired Shaqiri and Klopp sits down in frustration.

Liverpool Chance. Somehow Liverpool still don’t score. A Mane cross finds its way all the way to Trent who’s low cross is flicked goal-wards by Firmino. However, one of the five Burnley players on the line manages to clear. Unbelievable.

Four minutes of added time. Alisson comes up for a corner and nearly wins a header. Burnley clears and Trent dolefully miskicks an easy pass out to touch.

Final Thoughts

The home win record is gone and any hope of retaining the title is surely over. The Reds remain rooted to fourth in the table and nearly certain to drop further. There are no positives whatsoever.