Liverpool 2 - 0 Burnley
Liverpool: Jota 17’, Mané 69’
As with last week, this week the interesting news out of Anfield was the midfield. With James Milner out with a knock and both Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Fabinho missing for personal reasons, Klopp fielded a trio of captain Jordan Henderson, Naby Keita and Harvey Elliott to take on Burnley.
The first fifteen minutes of the match began full of mistakes for Liverpool, who couldn’t seem to string a decent run of passes together. Loose balls and simple interceptions from Burnley players seemed to be setting the stage for a frustrating afternoon.
However, that all changed 17 minutes in, courtesy of Kostas Tsimikas, whose beautiful left-footed cross into the box found the top of Diogo Jota’s head. Jota angled the ball with lightning precision passed the keeper, and just like that, Liverpool had taken control of the game with a one goal advantage.
Mohamed Salah nearly doubled Liverpool’s lead, thanks to an excellent assist from Elliott, but he’ was fairly determined to be offside and the goal was called back.
After some early jitters, Liverpool controlled the second half of the first 45 and went into the tunnel leading Burnley 1-0.
The second half kicked off with Ashley Barnes thankfully having a goal called offside. Liverpool had the likes of Roberto Firmino, Thiago Alcantara and Curtis Jones to call upon if legs began to tire. Liverpool looked slower defensively than they had in the first half, and that meant better opportunities for Burnley to control the ball in the first 10 minutes.
Sadio Mané was clearly searching for his chance to get his first of the season. His hard work almost paid off 57 minutes in, but the Burnley defender did just enough to put Mané off the ball and send it out for a goal kick. Then again five minutes later, Mané got the ball in the box with his back facing the goal. He produced a neat back heel and got himself into position to get a shot off. Unfortunately, it was saved by Nick Pope.
A weak header straight at the keeper followed moments later, and still Mané got no luck — at least until one minute later. Mané’s persistence paid off. The Reds streamed forward in attack, passes slipping through the Burnley defense. It was Virgil van Dijk to Elliott to Trent Alexander-Arnold and finally Mané, who struck true and doubled Liverpool’s lead.
Klopp made a double change in the 80th minute, taking off Jota and Keita in favor of Firmino and Thiago.
Van Dijk maintained the clean sheet for the Reds with an excellent tackle to deny Jay Rodriguez in the dying minutes of the match.
As a treat, Tsimikas gets a much deserved ovation as he was taken off, and Anfield had the pleasure of welcoming Joe Gomez back onto the pitch in a competitive match for the first time since his injury.
Final Thoughts and Man of the Match
Liverpool had some early shaky moments, but for the most part, they dominated the match. That’s five goals scored and none conceded in their first two games, a perfect start for the Reds.
Liverpool vs. Burley Man of the Match
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Virgil van Dijk