A full Anfield greeted the players, much to everyone’s delight. That is everyone but Burnley’s fans and players, who don’t seem to take delight in much of anything (other than perhaps Brexit and injuring other players). Regardless, Liverpool were just too much for Burnley to, well, pull a Burnley. Not today, Sean Dyche!
It was a dominant performance, and the Reds were deserved winners on the day. The win continues Liverpool’s perfect start to the season: 6 points from 6, 5 goals scored, none conceded.
Let’s just take another moment to appreciate fans being back in the stadium. It was wonderful hearing the fans singing, cheering, and giving out to Mike Dean (more on him in a bit). Plus the forces of good (beautiful attacking football) prevailed over the forces of evil (booting lumps out of the opposition).
Virgil van Dijk Offensive Contribution
We know we have the world’s best defender, but we missed so many of his other attributes, especially what he offers going forward. Liverpool looked threatening on several set pieces today, thanks in large part to Big Virg necessitating multiple markers in and around the box. Moreover, his ability to pick out Mo Salah or Harvey Elliott on the big switch created several chances, including the one that Sadio Mané emphatically stuck into the back of the net.
I love clean sheets, and we know Virgil’s opinion on the subject. But Alisson Becker in particular seems to have decided that he’s had it with this whole “conceding goals” bullshit. I agree Ali, it is bullshit. Our first two opponents haven’t created many opportunities, but on the rare occasion when they have gotten in behind, the world’s best goalkeeper was there to come up big—quite literally so. Yes, we’ll face tougher challenges than Burnley and Norwich City, but if Ali’s early season form continues and he can stay healthy, the league won’t be getting much change out of this defensive unit.
Mike Dean and “Letting ‘em Play!”
Burnley amassed 12 fouls today and not a single warning was given to any of their players. Moreover, the 12 fouls were actually under representative of the aggressive and often reckless nature of some of their challenges. That Burnley (and other similar English sides) are putting in such rough challenges is no surprise, but referees have a duty to uphold the rules of the game and protect the players. Mike Dean failed from the opening minutes to control the game. We’re lucky that Liverpool’s players got out of the match with ankles, knees, etc intact.
What Happens Next
It’s a big showdown with Chelsea, one week from today. If Liverpool are able to send Chelsea back to London emptyhanded, it’ll be quite the statement victory. The flip side is that Chelsea will be hoping for a statement victory of their own. There’s a long, long way to go for any side hoping to challenge for the league, but we’ve seen how a hot start in recent seasons can build momentum and break the will of any other would-be challengers. Three wins from three would be a great start for Liverpool, especially with City and Chelsea (and possibly others) chasing.