Liverpool – Burnley: The much-anticipated Liverpool goal explosion never materialized at Anfield on Thursday, where the reigning Premier League champs grew their league scoreless drought to 438 minutes in a history-making 1-0 loss to Burnley.
Ashley Barnes won and converted a late penalty to give Liverpool a first home loss in nearly a half-decade: April 23, 2017 versus Crystal Palace. It’s also Burnley’s first away win over the Reds since 1974.
The visitors also hadnn’t scored in a while. Burnley would’ve taken a point 99 times out of 100 but had been shut out in three of four matches, scoring a 1-0 win in the other.
[ MORE: Klopp on loss, Dyche flap | Dyche reaction ]
Fourth-place Liverpool is now six points off table-leading Manchester United and four behind Manchester City and Leicester City. Man City has played one fewer game and boasts the league’s best points-per-game.
Burnley moves into 16th after adding its 17th, 18th, and 19th points of the season. They entered Thursday on a streak of four-straight 1-0 decisions — three losses and a win. Make it five.
There were flashpoints: Jurgen Klopp dropped Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino and didn’t introduce them until the 57th minute. The manager argued with Sean Dyche in the tunnel after Fabinho and Ashley Barnes could’ve arguably both been sent off for a pre-halftime coming together (Fabinho kicked out at the elbow-raising Barnes).
Three things we learned from Liverpool – Burnley
1. This league… Liverpool lost its perfect season to a Watford team that would eventually be relegated, the Feb. 29, 2020 meeting serving as the Hornets’ only win in an 11-game run. So it kinda figures given this insane Premier League season that the Reds would lose their first PL match at Anfield in ages against a Burnley team who doesn’t score often. When you add in Liverpool’s last home loss came to Crystal Palace, you just have to laugh. Man City, Man United, Arsenal, Spurs, and Chelsea couldn’t do it. Watford, Burnley, and Palace could.
2. Liverpool’s frustrations dictating their play: We noted last time out that Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp’s uncommonly ornery season with the press seemed to be moving on his players and now the whole crew seems ready to explode in more ways than one. You expected the Reds to finally find their goals at home versus Burnley, but Klopp’s celebratory fists remain holstered and more likely to be used for punching.
Klopp chased Sean Dyche down the tunnel at halftime after Fabinho’s needless elbow was reviewed by VAR but only yielded a yellow card. The players dominated possession but looked exasperated. We’re at the point in Liverpool’s journey that Klopp’s explanations for his team’s performances at the post-match presser are the most anticipated part of watching one of the world’s best attacks operate on the small screen.
3. Burnley will never ever go away: This isn’t to say that the Clarets won’t be relegated this year or any year, but if you think the Turf Moor traveling party enters any building without anticipation of leaving the hosts sore mentally and physically, you’re sorely mistaken. The advanced stats say Burnley should be relegated. The regular stats say the same. Liverpool had 70 percent possession and a 23-4 shot advantage when Barnes tumbled over Alisson Becker and converted his penalty. The second half possession was 74-26 at that point!
Man of the Match: Nick Pope
Oddly enough, this might’ve gone to Alisson Becker before the penalty. But Pope’s six saves were joined by 22 combined clearances for center backs Ben Mee (14) and James Tarkowski (8). It had to be one of that trio. We chose Pope.