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Football News: Burnley v Liverpool - A Liverpool Perspective

Burnley v Liverpool - A Liverpool Perspective
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Burnley v Liverpool A Liverpool Perspective


Two teams with clear tactical plans faced off. Burnley's plan was to hit hard and fast and try to bully and intimidate Liverpool. Liverpool were looking to take control of the ball and play their way around and through Burnley. Burnley were just trying to stop Liverpool, while Liverpool were looking to win, it was a huge difference.

The first half started with Burnley hitting hard, following through, and generally not allowing Liverpool time or space on the ball, taking them out of their rhythm and trying to take the game to them high up the pitch. However they were not able to keep up the pace and Liverpool refused to be intimidated and just kept going and going, gradually getting on the ball more and more and taking charge before the half ended.

The second half started like the first but Burnley soon struggled to maintain the pace, dropping deeper and relying on long balls to the big men to create chances. Then a setpiece led to them scoring a goal that should not have been allowed, there was an offside and a blatant foul to kick the ball from the keeper's hands. How the linesman never saw it is beyond me, it was clear to anyone who actually knows the laws of the game it should never have been allowed.

The refs and assistants had been poor throughout the game, not once penalising the follow throughs or doing anything about Bardsley's over the ball challenge on Moreno, though he gave a free kick for the foul so there is no excuse for not acting to at least book him. Without the official's being complicit, perhaps Gomez's injury would not have happened, as it was a follow through that caused the injury. Though a good tackle, these days if you catch the player after getting the ball, it is still being considered a foul, so, by that interpretation used so far this season, it was a foul that injured Gomez. That interpretation was not applied at all, for the first time I have seen this season.

The good thing from a Liverpool point of view is that it just spurred Liverpool on, they pushed higher up and got a goal back. Klopp was set for a double change anyway, but decided to go for it regardless of the equaliser and Liverpool got a second soon after. Burnley then decided to throw bodies forward in search of an equaliser which just left them open to the counter and eventually got caught.

A deserved win, and, in my opinion, the scoreline was as wide as it should have been, as Burnley deserved nothing from the game. They offered nothing apart from fouls, physicality and lots of long balls. Burnley look like a team that have forgotten all the lessons they learnt which took them to European qualification last season. They have reverted to hoof ball, after playing more technical football last season, and it is not helping their cause.


Dyche - his team are struggling badly and it seems he has run out of ideas. Now he is turning to intimidation tactics. It will not work because the team are just not good enough, and have gone backwards over the last few years. They have replaced their better players with lesser players and Dyche can do nothing with what he has left. Without a goalscorer they are just going to inevitably end up sliding out of the top flight.

The pressure is clearly starting to tell on him, his team are stepping over the line and his rant at the end, over nothing as far as I can see, was that of a man who can feel it all slipping away. Also, he has to take the blame for his nonsensical decision to sign Hart, when he already had 2 keepers that were better. Rating: 5.5.


Hart - while he did have a good game, I think his signing is a big part of the problem at Burnley. His signing has upset the apple cart there clearly, a player on much more money who offers nothing that the two keepers at the club already did not offer. His kicking is still terrible, his positioning is suspect and does not inspire confidence. Yes, he made some good saves, but he does not organise the defence to help keep the ball from getting into a position he has to make a save. Rating: 7.5.


Bardsley - works hard but is prone to rash, nasty challenges, like his over the ball one on Moreno. Hard to understand how he avoided picking up a card, in fact it is hard to understand how just one Burnley player got carded at all. Bardsley is just a weak link, who was clearly picked in an attempt to rough up Liverpool's left side. It failed, especially once Moreno was replaced at left back by Milner, who was not in the slightest bit scared of Bardsley and just ran him ragged. Rating: 2.5.


Tarkowski - not sure how this lad is still in the Prem at all, he is all over the place and all he does is throw his body in the way of things he should have seen out long before. He really is a weak link at the back, poor on the ball and poor defensively. They cannot continue with someone like him at the back and hope to survive. Rating: 3.


Mee - he carries the defence most of the time, which shows when he made a mistake a goal goes in, no one was there to rescue the situation. Not a bad game overall other than that one mistake. Rating: 6.


Taylor - had a decent game, but was in desperate need of some help on that flank as he was unable to cope with Shaqiri and Gomez/Alexander-Arnold. Going forward he showed a lovely touch and a real willingness to give it his all. Rating: 6.


Berg Gudmundsson - I am really not sure what he offered them in this game. He just does not produce enough of worth to deserve a place in the side. Rating: 5.


Westwood - he is a decent player technically but offers little else, as he just does not do enough but keep things tidy. Rating: 5.


Cork - one of the best players at Burnley, but he is not a creative influence and he needs someone alongside him to provide the creativity. He does as good a job as he can protecting the defence, but he needs better in the midfield with him. He did score the goal, though it should never have stood. Rating: 6.5.


Brady - he has a decent delivery with his left foot but that is all he can offer. Most of the game he just spends rushing around mindlessly throwing himself into reckless challenges and offers little outlet for the team or cover for the full back. Rating: 3.5.


Barnes - throws his weight around and does win lots of free kicks, usually for throwing himself to the ground under contact he initiated, but is just not scoring enough goals. In fact, I do not think I saw a challenge involving him that was not a foul by him. Somehow the ref just does not see his constant pulling and pushing. They really need a major upgrade on him. Rating: 4.


Wood - had a poor game and looks like a striker low on confidence. His runs were lacking in conviction and he did not do enough. It was little surprise he got hooked. Rating: 3.



Lennon - replaced Brady in the 71st minute. Barely got to do anything bar watch the ball sail over his head when Burnley had it and played as an auxiliary full back. I felt sorry for him, this reversion to hoof ball is not going to suit him at all. Rating: 5.

Vokes - brought on in the 71st minute in place of Wood. Just there to try and get to the long balls, but he had a difficult time of it. Simply not good enough to really do anything. Rating: 4.

Vydra - brought on in 83rd minute to replace Barnes. Offers nothing at Premier League level and all he did was pick up a booking. The only booking of the game, bizarrely. Rating: 3.


Klopp - made far too many changes, which disrupted the team's play. That nearly cost the team in the early stages when under pressure from Burnley's attempts to press. The nearly is the key word though and the team improved as the game went on, they began to pick up the pace with regards to moving the ball. Once they got Burnley on the back foot, the game was won.

His double substitution, was brave and decisive, especially when you consider there were no more left and it followed the equaliser, when he could easily have stepped back and left it. Instead he stood by the decision and you could see how demoralised Burnley were by the arrival of Firmino and Salah, just after they had lost their lead. Rating: 7.


Alisson - pulled off some good saves, was always available to receive the ball when a defender was under pressure and dealt with it calmly. He had the ball safely before the ball was kicked out of his hands, so should have been disallowed. There was one moment after that which showed he was rattled when he came for a ball but Burnley players stopped him from getting to it.

The third goal was in large part due to his quick thinking to launch a counter with a throwout to get it going. Rating: 7.5.


Gomez - was playing well but only managed 23 minutes before he got injured. Rating: 5.5.


Matip - I am not a big fan but he did not have a bad game. He gave as good as he got against the Burnley forwards. However, his passing left a bit to be desired, as he gave it away a few times with attempts to play balls that were never really on. Rating: 6.


van Dijk - had a sloppy moment early on, losing the ball due to being asleep, but it seemed to wake him up and he used his physicality to get the ball back. After that he was much better, much more alert and played some excellent crossfield passes to Alexander-Arnold, in particular. His strength led to the Burnley forwards trying to avoid him if at all possible, making it much easier to deal with attacks. His mere presence is becoming enough to do the defending for us in some games. Rating: 8.


Moreno - looked very out of touch and lacking sharpness. Never really had much trouble defending, as Burnley barely used the width, oddly, it was going forward that he just looked short of games. His link up was not perfect by any means, he struggled to understand what his team-mates were intending to do. Rating: 5.


Henderson - played some good balls, linked up play well, but defensively he found the ball mainly flying over his head and so was only mopping up defensive clearances in the main. It was not a game for a player playing his role to impress in. All he was there to do is pick up the ball and move it on quickly, which he did. Rating: 6.


Keita - he was the bright spark in midfield that really made the difference. His runs forced the Burnley midfield to drop off, as they could not deal with him, meaning he was getting at their defence. To avoid that they dropped deeper to deny him space to run. Played some good passes as well and generally looked a class above the rest of the players on the pitch. Forced Hart into a good save and tracked back to break up Clarets' attacks as well. Rating: 8.5.


Shaqiri - as usual with Shaqiri it was very hit and miss. His passing can be brilliant and incisive, but it can also be wasteful. As usual he was rotating between the two extremes during the game. Not a bad thing, as it is always higher risk to make incisive passes. The problem in this game is that he struggled to link up with the front two, the trio were not working as a cohesive trio. Often he and Sturridge were tripping over each other.

When he does get it right, it usually creates a chance and that is why he is in the team. It is just against better teams he needs to work out how to gel with the team. That is why he looks so much better as an impact player sometimes, as the understanding is not quite there yet. But, when it does work, it works brilliantly, as it did for his goal at the end. Rating: 7.5.


Sturridge - while he did show some nice touches and good passes, I cannot look past his constant bottling out of chances to take the ball on. The number of times he lost the ball, by either pulling out of a challenge or throwing himself to the floor to avoid a hit, was ridiculous. Nothing he did well could make up for that in my opinion. It was a big part of the reason Burnley were even in the game at all in the first half, as he was constantly turning the ball over to them again. Rating: 4.


Origi - worked hard but looked badly lacking in match sharpness and understanding of his team-mates. Rating: 5.5.


Milner - he was just ok for 65 minutes, playing decent stuff but not outstanding. Then he moved to left back and was excellent, absolutely destroying Bardsley, taking the game to him and leaving him tied up in knots. While nominally playing full-back, it was more of a winger's performance and was a throwback to him at his best on the Newcastle wing. Rating: 8.



Alexander-Arnold - replaced the injured Gomez in the 23rd minute. Had a good game, putting some decent quality balls in despite the less than ideal circumstances of coming on early in the match. Never really tested defensively as Burnley played very narrow and just looked for long, central balls. Rating: 7.

Salah - came on in place of Moreno in the 65th minute. As usual he frightened the life out of the defence and forced them back, creating more space for the midfield to operate. Rating: 6.

Firmino - came on in the 66th minute as Origi was taken off. Looked much more like the Firmino of last season. He was buzzing about and asking the Burnley team questions they had no answer for at all. And he scored pretty much straight after coming on. Rating: 7.


Just to explain my ratings. I have gone for what I believe is more simple than the usual of totting up points. I have decided to go with 5 as having no effect on the game other than being a body on the pitch. Anything below 5 is a player who had a negative effect on his team and anything above 5 as a positive effect. So a goal scored would be a positive effect and add to the rating, whereas giving away a penalty with a needless challenge would take away from it.

Written by Tris Burke December 07 2018 08:18:28


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