It was a cold, wet night at Burnley as Liverpool ran out a heavily changed side against the struggling hosts who set up deep and defensive. The results were about as one might have expected given all that. Which is to say, it wasn’t much fun to watch.
For Liverpool fans, the plodding and at times disjointed affair became even less enjoyable when Burnley scored the first goal of the night. Then, the Reds roused themselves to the task at hand. They pressed. They attacked. They were, says Xherdan Shaqiri, brave.
“At half-time the manager just said we have to be more in the game, more lively in the game, and to win the ball more,” said the stout Swiss attacker. “We weren’t exactly perfect on the ball but in the second half we did better and scored three goals.
“We have to be brave in these games. We know we are going to have a lot of possession but obviously we have to defend well too. They scored, I don’t know if it was a foul or not, but we stayed calm and it was most important to take three points from here.”
They also managed a pair of positives, getting some rest for a few of the players who have seen the most action this season and some playing time for a few fringe squad members, both of which should help as Liverpool head into a jam-packed holiday period.
Those changes were a big part of why Liverpool didn’t look as fluid in the early going, but the entire team—fringe players included—played better as the night progressed, and that’s a good sign for the next time Jürgen Klopp needs to call on some of them.
“Obviously, it is not simple for the other players who did not play for a long time,” Shaqiri added. “In the first half they needed time to come into the game, but we managed it well and you can see we have a very strong team where everyone can play.
”We played very well in the second half and it was important to manage the game, retain ball possession, stay brave and wait for our chances and to be clinical in front of goal and we did that.”