BURNLEY VS. LIVERPOOL
| Sunday, February 13th |
Premier League | Turf Moor
2PM GMT/9AM EST
The battle of the Dutchmen is set to take place on Sunday when Liverpool visit Turf Moor to take on Burnley, led by their new Dutch attacker, Wout Weghorst. Weghorst already won the contest with Harry Maguire when the Clarets played out a draw against Manchester United in midweek. His next challenge will be fellow countryman Virgil van Dijk, who is, unfortunately for Weghorst, no Harry Maguire.
The heat is on for both teams, though for different reasons. Liverpool are nine points behind Manchester City at the top of the table with one game in hand. Burnley, on the other end, are propping up the table, but they’re only four points behind 17th placed Newcastle United with two games in hand. Neither team can afford to lose points as they push on towards their own goals.
Sean Dyche and Jürgen Klopp have both overseen a strong run of form for their respective teams since the new year. Liverpool have won their last five games in all competitions, earning themselves a place in the Carabao Cup final and overtaking Chelsea for second place in the league. Burnley have come back from multiple Covid-related problems and are undefeated in their last three league games, managing draws against United, Arsenal, and most crucially, relegation zone roommates Watford.
Luis Diáz has made a big impression on Liverpool fans in the two games he’s played for the team since joining. This means that Klopp is spoiled for choice in attack at the moment, with both Mohamed Salah and AFCON-winner Sadio Mané returning to the team after their month away, as well as Harvey Elliott being newly fit and firing.
This is good, because matches against Burnley have been low-scoring affairs on both ends this season. Two of their last three ended in scoreless draws, while Thursday’s game against United blew the roof of the place with a rousing one goal a piece. The Clarets have scored nine goals at Turf Moor in the league this season and allowed in 10 from their visitors. They’re undefeated in their last six home matches, with a record of one win and five draws.
If Liverpool’s talented attacking line find a way to get one into the back of the net, that might be all they need to bring home the three points.
It feels as though Klopp’s team is coming together at the perfect time. Every league game is crucial, the Reds are set to play their first cup final since Madrid, and the Champions League knockout rounds kick off next week.
Predicted Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Elliott, Fabinho, Henderson; Salah, Jota, Diaz
Klopp has a full house to choose from right now, but he’ll have one eye on Wednesday’s Champions League match against Inter. Diogo Jota scored both of Liverpool’s goals against Leicester City at midweek, so he will have earned his place over Roberto Firmino in the starting line-up. Mané has returned, but Klopp may choose to rest him for this one.
Jordan Henderson is fit to play after suffering a back injury against Cardiff City in the FA Cup, but the midfield is another area where Klopp has plenty of choices. Thiago, Naby Keïta, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, James Milner, and Curtis Jones are all ready if Klopp decides to play them. Thiago started midweek, his first start since December following a hip injury, so we likely won’t see him starting this one so soon after.
Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Matej Vydra, and Charlie Taylor are all out injured for Sean Dyche. Meanwhile, the manager confirmed that Maxwell Cornet, who went off injured against Manchester United, will be available on Sunday.
What the Managers Had to Say
Jurgen Klopp: “So, I had the pleasure to watch their Tuesday night game, Burnley against [Manchester] United. And probably this situation explains the Premier League the best, that Burnley is bottom of the table at the moment, even with games in hand I know. But the quality they produced that night was incredible, especially second half; it was the highest intense game, they played pressing high up the pitch, counter-pressing was there, there were a lot of things. It really was a proper team performance.”
Sean Dyche: “We have a lot of respect for the manager and the team. I appreciate his comments on what we are trying to do. I think a lot of our performances have warranted more than what we have got.”
Referee: Martin Atkinson. Assistants: Gary Beswick, Darren Cann. Fourth official: Graham Scott. VAR: Darren England. Assistant VAR: Dan Robathan.
Kickoff is set for 2PM GMT/9AM EST tomorrow. In the meantime, The Liverpool Offside team will keep you updated with all of the team news and match buildup as it becomes available, along with providing a matchday liveblog and post-match recaps and reaction. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account and have your say on the action as it happens.