Liverpool were the only top six team having a Premier League match this weekend with the remaining five taking part in the FA Cup quarter-finals. Liverpool hosted Burnley on the back of a resounding win against Arsenal.
Divock Origi replaced Roberto Firmino from the previous match with Dejan Lovren missing out due to a back issue. Burnley captain Tom Heaton was back in the lineup while Robbie Brady was benched for Scott Arfield.
Ashley Barnes opened the scoring in the seventh minute before Liverpool drew level on the stroke of half-time through Georginio Wijnaldum. Emre Can scored a beauty in the second-half to put Liverpool ahead and the Reds held on to seal three points and reach within a point of Manchester City and Tottenham, with both of them having a game in hand.
Without further ado, here are the 5 talking points from the match.
#1 Burnley spring a surprise
Since the scintillating thrashings Liverpool have dished out in the beginning of the season to teams visiting Anfield and trying to play on the front foot, teams have learnt to sit back and defend deep while countering at every possible opportunity. This has particularly worked well during the home games of the respective team against the Reds and Burnley were expected to go about their plan in a similar manner.
However, to everyone’s surprise, Sean Dyche’s men instead took the game to a lacklustre Liverpool in the first half. The Clarets played direct and effective football with their midfield and defence trying to deliver the ball to the two forwards in Ashley Barnes and Andre Gray. This worked extremely well in the first half as Burnley created chances, pounced on any Liverpool sloppiness and prevented Liverpool from having a shot on target for most of the half.
The goal came from a similar scenario when Burnley right-back Matthew Lowton was allowed to have acres of space with no Liverpool player hurrying him and he delivered a superb first-time ball across the box that was turned home by Barnes to give The Clarets a shock lead in the opening ten minutes. The goal was a just reward for Burnley’s efforts and tactics and they continued in a similar fashion for the rest of the half.