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Burnley boss Dyche will give Drinkwater shot at redemption

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Danny Drinkwater is going to get another chance to live up to expectations at Burnley.

The 29-year-old Chelsea loanee suffered an ankle injury in controversial circumstances, reportedly thrown out of a bar and jumped by a group of upset patrons. The incident comes less than six months after a drunk driving arrest.

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Manager Sean Dyche says the incident should be “just a blip” for Drinkwater at Turf Moor, and that the players will an opportunity to do the right thing and make an impact on the field once healthy.

From The Lancashire Telegraph:

“He’s certainly old enough and wise enough to know you do whatever you can to not get in scrapes but sometimes it happens. We’ve been big over our time here – you can’t just talk about development when it’s good news, you also have to work with players if things are not quite as good.

“It’s been more that sort of situation, have a chat with him and say, what happened first of all, what was the situation that led to it. OK, let’s move away from that, now where to do we go from here. So I think that’s where we’re at.”

Drinkwater is expected to miss a few weeks with his ankle injury, with Burnley set to face Brighton, Norwich City, Aston Villa, and Everton.

Drinkwater set to meet with Dyche after reported nightclub injury

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There’s a wild story making the rounds regarding the ankle injury that will cost Danny Drinkwater time on the pitch for Burnley.

Multiple reports say that the ankle injury came when he was attacked at a pub after repeatedly hitting on the girlfriend of a League Two player (Marca).

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Burnley boss Sean Dyche won’t cancel Drinkwater’s loan move, according to Sky Sports, but is set to meet with the Chelsea loanee this week

Lancs Live claims that neither Burnley nor Chelsea have issued a comment on salacious reports that Drinkwater was thrown out of a Manchester night club and beaten up by a “gang of men,” suffering multiple injuries.

He’s expected to miss 2-3 weeks, and is yet to play a Premier League match during the loan deal. He played 90 minutes against Sunderland in a League Cup loss.

The 29-year-old has struggled on and off the field since transferring from Leicester City, and arrested for drunk driving after crashing his car last season.

Premier League Preview: Burnley v. Liverpool

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Liverpool can set a club record with victory over Burnley as the two sides meet at Turf Moor on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. ET, live on NBC or live online at NBCSports.com.

The Reds are gunning for 13 straight top-flight wins, something never been achieved before in the club’s history. Liverpool currently stands as the last remaining 100% league record in any of the top six tiers of English football.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

The last time Liverpool failed to record victory in top flight action was back in early March, a 0-0 draw with nearby rivals Everton at Goodison Park. Their last loss in Premier League play was all the way back in early January, a 2-1 defeat to Manchester City that famously featured a Liverpool goal ruled out by goal-line technology by the tiniest of margins, setting the stage for Man City’s ruthless run to the title.

The Reds are mostly healthy, with just Naby Keita and Alisson sidelined due to injury. The former is still recovering from a hip flexor strain and will reportedly not be fit until after the international break, while Liverpool’s first-choice goalkeeper is still on the mend with a calf problem that Klopp would not commit to a timetable, only saying Friday during his pre-match press conference that it is a “proper injury” and “it will take some time.”

Burnley will be without Johann Berg Gudmundsson, whose calf injury is less serious than initially feared but still troublesome enough to hold him out this weekend. Robbie Brady and Steven Defour are also likely missing from action for the Clarets. The start to the season has been a mixed bag for Burnley, who sit on one each of a win, loss, and draw in that order. A 1-1 result against a solid Wolves side last time out will prove promising, despite the match featuring two points dropped as the opponents scored deep into stoppage time to share the spoils.

However, an embarrassing loss to Sunderland in League Cup last time out will leave manager Sean Dyche looking for a reaction, with yet another defeat in league play turning what has been a fairly solid start to the season somewhat spoiled, while a shocking result against an in-form Liverpool side would provide a valuable spark. History is not on their side, having picked up just four of a possible 30 points all-time against Liverpool in Premier League play.


Injuries/suspensions

Burnley – OUT: Robbie Brady (rib), Steven Defour (calf). QUESTIONABLE: Johann Berg Gundmusson (calf).

Liverpool – OUT: Naby Keita (hip flexor), Alisson (calf).


What they’re saying

Burnley midfielder Jack Cork on playing the best teams: “It’s a good challenge and a good test. When you’re young and growing up you want to be playing against these sort of teams; you dream of playing for the Liverpools and Manchester Uniteds. It’s good to play them and say ‘I’m good enough to do this at this level.’ It’s good to test yourself against the best players in the world and there’s nothing better than the current European champions. You can’t look past that. We know it’s going to be a difficult game.”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp on previous confrontation with Sean Dyche: “Probably everybody will write that it didn’t look like Sean Dyche and I were best friends after the last game. It was an intense game, Joe Gomez got injured, we had a couple of discussions. But both coaching staff, myself and Joe are just proper competitors, so we don’t hide our emotions obviously. That can happen. But from my point of view, it was always completely respectful because I respect them and I respect Sean a lot, what he is doing there, to keep a team like Burnley really always on that level of motivation, determination and desire and all that stuff. It’s so difficult and they are doing that.”


Projected lineups:

Burnley: Pope; Pieters, Mee, Tarkowski, Lowton; McNeil, Westwood, Cork, Lennon; Wood, Barnes.

Liverpool: Adrian; Robertson, Van Dijk, Matip, Alexander-Arnold; Wijnaldum, Fabinho, Henderson; Mane, Firmino, Salah.


Prediction:

While Sean Dyche won’t face the same dilemma Arsenal botched last time Liverpool took the field in pushing full-backs further up the pitch, this is still a difficult game for Burnley in a slightly different sense. Sure, Liverpool doesn’t look as defensively hardened as they did last campaign, but this is still one of the best back lines in the European game, and Burnley’s attacking options aren’t up for the task. Unless Ashley Barnes can channel his good form to next-level heights, Burnley will fall 1-0 to a good Liverpool attack that will work hard to find a way through and hold firm once going in front.

Burnley’s indefatigable Dyche ready for Chelsea

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Burnley boss Sean Dyche is often mentioned along with Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe as targets for open managerial slots at bigger Premier League clubs, given their status as successful young managers who have kept their teams in the top flight against the odds.

[ PL PREVIEW: Chelsea v. Burnley ]

Dyche’s star was never higher than this time last year, when the Clarets stunningly qualified for the Europa League. The competition helped Burnley start very slow this season, however, which may be skewing the perception of just how good Burnley’s been since Boxing Day.

Since then, as Sky Sports points out, only Man City, Liverpool, Manchester United, and Arsenal have collected more points than Burnley’s 27. That total includes wins over Tottenham and Wolves, and a draw at Manchester United.

So finishing 7th with this bunch is a bit more rewarding than finishing 7th with West Ham or Everton. From Sky Sports:

“We have a financial framework that is very difficult. We have just posted record profits but within that is a wage bill that’s bottom three in the Premier League. … There are some obvious realities to what we are trying to achieve here. We never kid each other. We have always been honest about our situation. Last season there was the marvel of qualifying for the Europa League but this has been a more reality-based season, which is what I was expecting. I wasn’t expecting anything other than a challenging season. Maybe not as challenging as it has been, mind you.”

Dyche’s work has been exemplary. Many, including me, figured Burnley a drop candidate before the season he led the club to the UEL, and the Clarets looked certain to stay in the Bottom Three for the early part of this year and then a candidate to return to it just weeks ago.

Don’t doubt the Royal Dyche.

Premier League Preview: Chelsea v. Burnley

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Maurizio Sarri and Chelsea can climb third in the Premier League with a defeat of improved Burnley at Stamford Bridge on Monday (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

The Blues are the first team to play their 35th match in the group of four Premier League clubs vying for third- and fourth-place this season.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Burnley meanwhile knows a win would seal its already-likely place in the Premier League for 2019-20. Even a draw would probably do the trick given Cardiff City’s immense disadvantage in goal differential.

It’s really a must-win for the Blues’ Top Four hopes, because Chelsea will want cushion given a four-match PL, Europa League run of Manchester United, Eintracht Frankfurt, Watford, and Eintracht Frankfurt again.

What they’re saying

Chelsea boss Sarri on the Europa-PL schedule congestion: “It’s not easy for us, we have to play only four matches but we have to try. I think in the last four matches it will be difficult for every team involved in fighting for the top four, not only for us. And so we can see some very strange results in the last part of the season; we have to fight and to see at the end.”

Burnley manager Sean Dyche on transfer rumors for young star Dwight McNeil: “His worth to the team I’m more interested in, and that’s the way he’s delivering performances. I like his assuredness, he’s quiet, he’s calm, but there’s a toughness in there, particularly to have the ball. That’s something that can come and go with players, but he’s certainly got that desire to grip a game with the ball, ‘give me the ball, I want to do something’. That’s a powerful thing.”

Prediction

The Clarets will put up a good fight, but the extra day’s rest will be plenty for Chelsea, who may just claim a Top Four place and the Europa League… if it can deal with a tricky finish to the season. The tough run of fixtures means the Blues know at home to Burnley is a must-win. Chelsea, 3-0.