Burnley vs. Liverpool Review

Andre Gray  2

In the most ridiculous stat of the weekend that must be some kind of record, Liverpool had 80% of the possession against Burnley, but it was the Clarets who walked away with a 2-0 win. It’s not even as if Liverpool did nothing with all the possession they had but Sean Dyche and Burnley just put on a clinic of how to defend.

Sam Vokes

Burnley went two-nil up in just 37 minutes in the match and from that point on were able to sit back, allow the pressure to come to them and hang on for dear life for a 2-0 victory. Sam Vokes got the Clarets up and running inside just two minutes after a pass from Andre Gray and some shocking defending from Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan and then it was Andre Gray who stole the show in the 37th minute with a fantastic solo effort after a brilliant run and pass from new-signing Steven Defour.

What’s Wrong With Liverpool? 

Ragnar Klavan

When asked earlier in the season if I thought that Ragnar Klavan would be a hit at Liverpool, I immediately answered no. I’ve watched a lot of German Bundesliga over the years and the former-Augsburg lad was never one of the league’s standout defenders. He’s nothing special and not an upgrade on Martin Skrtel. Dejan Lovren meanwhile looks short of confidence and the two fullbacks in Moreno and Clyne have very limited defensive awareness if any at all. For the first goal, Klavan and Lovren were miles apart, which meant that when Vokes got the ball and turned away from Lovren, Klavan was never able to catch up. This made it just far too easy for Vokes to bang the ball in the back of the net. Meanwhile for the second goal, Jordan Henderson shows him on to his weaker foot, but shows him on to an angle where he can easily score a goal. If Henderson forces him on to his strong foot, yes it’s his strong foot, but the angle is far too difficult to score from and Mignolet probably makes the save.

Tom Heaton 2
Tom Heaton made 5 saves against Burnley. All 5 were shots from range. 

In contrast, Burnley played very narrow, very together and hardly ever allowed the Reds inside of their box. Burnley have 4 defenders who are not even averagely good in terms of Premier League defenders. The best of them, Michael Keane, is a player that Manchester United let go far too early in my opinion and even he is still learning and needs time to develop his game. But Sean Dyche set up his team to defend as a unit and got the result. Arfield was pretty much attached to Stephen Ward, while on the other side George Boyd was pretty much attached to Matthew Lowton. Meanwhile the two fullbacks, Lowton and Ward, were pretty much attached to Keane and Mee which meant that Liverpool could never break inside the box and were forced to take shots from distance all game long. If you’re Tom Heaton getting shots all game long from distance, it’s a happy day! Heaton was excellent to make some stunning saves for the cameras, but it wasn’t like these shots were flying in from 5 yards away, giving him limited time to react, they were from 30, 40 yards away giving him loads of time to set his feet.

I saw a stat yesterday that said that the last 4 shots that Simon Mignolet has faced, going back to the Arsenal game, have all been goals. Burnley had 2 shots on target and scored from both. But neither goal was Mignolet’s fault and I can guarantee that Karius wouldn’t have saved them either. Any Liverpool fan will tell you that they need a new left-back and need Karius to get back from injury and come in to the side immediately. I’ll tell you what Liverpool fans, you need an entirely new back four. The only one that can stay is Nathaniel Clyne and that’s because what he can offer going forward is better than about 90% of the fullbacks in the league. Liverpool need a lot of help this season and won’t finish top four if they don’t sign a couple of new defenders before the window closes in nine days.

Player Ratings – Burnley 2-0 Liverpool

GK Heaton – 8
RB Lowton – 7.5
CB Keane – 7.5
CB Mee – 8
LB Ward – 7
RM Boyd – 7.5
CM Defour – 7.5
CM Marney – 7
LM Arfield – 7
RS Gray – 8
LS Vokes – 8

CM O’Neill – 5
RM Gudmundsson – 6
ST Jutkiewicz – 5

GK Mignolet – 4
RB Clyne – 4
CB Lovren – 6
CB Klavan – 4
LB Milner – 5.5
RCM Lallana – 7
CM Henderson – 6
LCM Wijnaldum – 6
RW Sturridge – 5.5
CF Firmino – 6
LW Coutinho – 7

LB Moreno – 5
CM Grujic – 5.5
ST Origi – 5

Conclusion:

Sam Vokes 2

Liverpool kept 80% of the possession against Burnley but were woeful going forward. That was in large part thanks to the organization of Sean Dyche’s men at the back and their fantastic mentality to never allow Liverpool inside of their own box. Gray and Vokes were clinical in front of goal, while Firmino, Coutinho, Sturridge and co couldn’t buy a goal for Liverpool. If Jurgen Klopp’s side are going to finish top four, they need to get some new defenders in the door as quickly as they can. Burnley meanwhile, if they play like that every week, they may just have a shot at staying up this season.

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