Liverpool win once more at Anfield in 2017, this time against Burnley.

Jurgen Klopp kept much the same lineup that had started in the last fixture, though recent injury to Roberto Firmino saw Divock Origi move off the substitute bench and into the starting 11 for this game.

Liverpool had been beaten by Burnley very early into our 2016-2017 season. A rainy night in Burnley saw the Liverpool players overwhelmed by heavy rain and defeated 2-0. This time, Burnley would not get such advantages. at Anfield.

Burnley started well and so did Liverpool. It was rather equal from the first whistle of the game, both sides had early attacks. The scoreline would open up by the 7th minute though and it would be the visitors who would get the goal.
I don’t like to point fingers and am not going to blame either defenders or goalkeeper for this early goal. It looked to have been a cross but the ball ended up making it’s way past Mignolet and into the net. Ashley Barnes will surely claim the goal as his own and not on a defensive error but it’s highly debatable as to whether he was even shooting or if his cross just happened to hit the back of the net accidentally from his misplaced cross that swerved to the far post and found it’s way into the goal. Regardless of how it happened, it was now Liverpool 0-1 Burnley with less than 10 minutes played.

Liverpool were not playing at “peak performance”, it’s true. We struggled against a side that has been down in the bottom half of the league for most of the season while Liverpool have been up to the top of the league and mostly stayed in 2nd place, as Chelsea edged ahead by a couple of points. Top 4 sides like Liverpool really shouldn’t have such a challenge against the smaller sides, but it’s been seen to happen to us and was certainly happening in this fixture.

Liverpool weren’t completely useless though. We didn’t seem to lose much confidence or motivation for offense despite being a goal down and really did our best to push forward, with Mané and Coutinho being seen quite often near Burnley’s penalty area, edging towards goal to get a shot off. Burnley deserve some credit for their defensive abilities, our attackers were often stopped as they got challenged for the ball or their shots blocked. I’m not really a betting man, but if i was going to have placed a bet on who Liverpool’s first goalscorer was going to be I’d have betted on Mané or Coutinho. It wouldn’t be either of those who got our first goal though.

It took till the end of the first half to score. A rush towards goal in about the 44th or 45th minute saw Gini (Wijnaldum) collect the ball from Divock Origi’s cross on the left wing, turn against the incoming defenders, adjusted his position a little after his first chance was blocked within the penalty area then made space for his second shot which powered past the right hand of the Burnley goalkeeper who couldn’t save it as it went into the net. Well done Origi for the assist and well done Gini, for not letting his first rejected chance stop him from trying once more, because it was the 2nd time which proved vital in getting our goal. Half time whistle blew fairly soon after and it was Liverpool 1-1 Burnley at half time. We weren’t losing at the break. We’d drawn level.

So, this had already started to turn out to be better than our last encounter with Burnley by the end of the first half. At least we weren’t losing at this point in the game. We’d had our chances and even converted one of them into a goal already. Plenty more chances would be coming in the next 45 minutes too.

Liverpool continued to threaten Burnley’s defence in the 2nd half with Mané and Coutinho seeming to be at the center of everything that was going on. Lallana was there getting involved a bit, too but if there was a shot it came from the Senegalese or the Brazilian attackers mostly. Liverpool’s substitute bench had been rearranged significantly in recent weeks with Henderson, Sturridge and Firmino picking up injuries that meant our attacking options were being reduced. We had a bench of defenders and midfielders, essentially. When it came to the time that Klopp thought he would make a change to the lineup, Coutinho was brought off the pitch for… Ben Woodburn!

This was quite a risk, considering that we were only drawing 1-1 and still looking for a goal, while Coutinho seemed to be one of our best options for scoring. So, why bring him off? Well, it turned out that Woodburn would play rather well. He’d run the ball around the pitch, pushing our possession and completed pass ratios up and he’d try to give the ball to some of the players who don’t always figure so much. The defensive midfielders like Lucas Leiva and Emre Can spend a lot of time running backwards rather than forwards that they can just not given the ball from their teammates sometimes. Anyway, Can would get and use the ball very well in this game. It made the formation a little less dependent on one guy and more about the side as a whole. Woodburn wasn’t doing the whole “GIVE IT TO COUTINHO” thing where the ball is just pushed up the pitch until the squad player who is most likely to score has the ball and gets to shoot. One single player wasn’t the focus of where we’d take the ball, it was going to be a team effort. With these new tactics, it was refreshing to see something good come of what was pretty risky to use but the risk turned into success.

The player who secured our second goal and ultimately, the win was… Emre Can. Divock Origi once more was the player to assist the goal. HE REALLY deserves a lot of credit for being a part of both of Liverpool’s goals in this game. We didn’t see your name on the score sheet Divock, but you should know that we really appreciate your contributions for this fixture. We’ve won partly because of your vital assistance to your teammates.

Man Of the Match

Emre Can collected the ball as Divock Origi moved towards him from the left wing and put the ball to his teammate who was making a run. Can had a large amount of space to run into around the center of the pitch, with nobody expecting that he was about to pick his spot to shoot at from around 25 yards away from goal. Can powerfully and accurately placed his shot and it went screaming into the far right corner of the net and Can had proven all the critics who have been fairly harsh on him this season, completely wrong about him. He’s NOT as useless as they say. He does NOT need removing from the first team. That would certainly have been a mistake if it had happened for this fixture. He’s actually very good when he’s given a chance and in this case new tactics like the ones Woodburn was using rather than always making sure the ball ends up with our most successful strikers. No, this player is not Mané or Coutinho. No, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have anything to contribute to the team. He’s a player worthy of giving his chance and when he took his chance in this game, he’s contributed so well that he’s essentially won the game for us. So here I am, giving him the praise he fully deserves.  Well done, Emre.

What’s next? 

Liverpool haven’t faced Manchester City since around New Years Eve (2016) and were still trying push up from 2nd to first, as Chelsea had taken 1st place in the Premier League. While our winning streak started to break in 2017, we’re given another chance to prove to City that we’re not giving up until the very last game has finished and they’re next on our fixture list.

Walk on with hope in your hearts, Anfield Family. You’ll Never Walk Alone.

[written by] Stuart Drewery.

I’m an Englishman (born and raised in Liverpool in the 80s). My whole family including my parents and grandparents were Liverpool fans so I was born into being a red.

I’ve seen Liverpool win the league (more than 25 years ago) and I’ve been 100% loyal and committed while supporting the Reds through all the good times AND the bad times since the 80s.

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