Liverpool returned to the top of the Premier League table with a 3-1 victory over Burnley on Saturday afternoon.
Despite a promising start from the visitors, Liverpool grabbed the opening goal of the game after Diogo Jota headed home a corner from the right-hand side. However, the Clarets did find an equaliser just before the break, Dara O’Shea producing a fine header himself from a corner at the other end.
Diaz then put Liverpool back in front seven minutes after the break and despite a few scares, the Reds secured victory late on through Darwin Nunez’s header.
How the game unfolded
With Manchester City having beaten Everton in the day’s early kick-off, there was even greater pressure on Liverpool to secure all three points against Burnley. The Clarets found themselves seven points off safety before kick-off having only shown glimpses of their quality this season, but were aiming to cause an upset at Anfield.
Vincent Kompany’s side made a confident start on Merseyside and were quick to show their attacking intent, with Caoimhin Kelleher the busier of the two goalkeepers in the opening stages and called into action to deny Zeki Amdouni just ten minutes in.
Despite a sloppy and fairly drab opening half hour from the hosts, the Reds did eventually take the lead. A whipped corner by Trent Alexander-Arnold was misjudged by James Trafford, with Jota heading into an empty net to continue his fine goalscoring streak and punish the first moment of indecisiveness from the Burnley backline.
Trafford did somewhat redeem himself for his earlier error, producing a fine stop from Diaz’s close-range effort to keep Burnley in the game. The visitors were then rewarded for a great display on the stroke of half-time, O’Shea producing a stunning header to level the scores going into the break from a pinpoint Josh Brownhill corner. No less than Kompany’s side deserved.
Liverpool were more dominant in the early stages of the second half than they had been in the first and quickly restored their advantage after the break. Substitute Harvey Elliott fired a ball across the face of the goal, with Diaz there to head home at the near post – much to the relief of the Anfield crowd after a lengthy VAR check.
Burnley could have levelled ten minutes later, but David Datro Fofana was unable to capitalise on a Jarell Quansah error. Kelleher produced an Alisson-esque stop to deny the Chelsea loanee, with Wilson Odobert rattling the rebound helplessly wide.
Fofana was then gifted another glorious chance as he raced through on goal, but curled his effort wide of the far post from just eight yards out. Shortly afterwards, Jota and Quansah came close to a Liverpool third at the other end but couldn’t quite beat Trafford.
However, Liverpool would wrap up the points with just over ten minutes to play, Nunez producing a deft header from Elliott’s lovely delivery into the box. It wasn’t a fantastic showing from the Reds, but they return to the top of the table regardless.
Liverpool player ratings (4-3-3)
GK: Caoimhin Kelleher – 7/10 – Some great saves to deny Burnley in Alisson’s absence
RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold – 7/10 – Set up Jota’s opener with a delightful corner and frequently showed his range of passing from deep and advanced positions. Substituted at the break.
CB: Jarell Quansah – 6/10 – Booked for a late challenge on Odobert in the first half and not his most comfortable display in a Liverpool shirt.
CB: Virgil van Dijk – 7/10 – Part of a defence that was a little disjointed, conceding more opportunities than they would have liked. However, he put in a largely solid display.
LB: Andy Robertson – 7/10 – Given how little football he has played since injuring himself in October, it was a good performance from the Scotsman. Offered threat down the left flank going forward.
CM: Alexis Mac Allister – 7/10 – A solid showing from the Argentine, who helped Liverpool slow the game down when needed.
CM: Wataru Endo – 7/10 – A little off the pace in the first half in his first start since his return from the Asian Cup, but grew into the game. A key creator in the second period with some neat forward passing.
CM: Curtis Jones – 6/10 – Not his brightest display in either half but a decent overall outing.
RW: Luis Diaz – 8/10 – Lively throughout and was rewarded for a spirited effort with a goal. A constant menace in the final third.
ST: Darwin Nunez – 7/10 – Full of endeavour, as he always is, but sometimes lacked quality in the Burnley half. However, his header was a lovely finish.
LW: Diogo Jota – 7/10 – The Portuguese just has a knack for scoring with his head, this time rising highest from a corner to give Liverpool the lead. Could have perhaps had more on another day.
SUB: Harvey Elliott (46′ for Alexander-Arnold) – 8/10 – Provided two assists with delicious deliveries into the penalty area. A great impact off the bench.
SUB: Cody Gakpo (82′ for Diaz) – N/A
SUB: James McConnell (90′ for Endo) – N/A
SUB: Kostas Tsimikas (90′ for Robertson) – N/A
SUB: Bobby Clark (90′ for Mac Allister) – N/A
Jurgen Klopp – 6/10 – Not a great performance from his side, but they scrapped their way to three points. Sometimes, that’s all that matters.
Burnley player ratings (4-4-2)
GK: James Trafford – 6/10 – A moment of indecision proved costly for his side in the first half but he made some smart stops to deny the hosts.
RB: Lorenz Assignon -7 /10 – An impressive display from the January signing, who showed his quality in both halves. Tested frequently by Jota down Liverpool’s left.
CB: Dara O’Shea – 7/10 – A fantastic header gave Burnley a deserved equaliser before the break and it was a dominant performance from the centre-back.
CB: Maxime Esteve – 6/10 – Not as notable as his defensive partner but didn’t do an awful lot wrong in his own half and dealt with Nunez well.
LB: Hannes Delcroix – 5/10 – Liverpool’s best moments came down his side as he struggled to get up to speed at times.
RM: Aaron Ramsey – 6/10 – A willing runner down the right, although he lacked any real end product.
CM: Josh Brownhill – 6/10 – Grabbed an assist in the first half and was typically ferocious in the tackle.
CM: Sander Berge – 7/10 – A commanding midfield display that saw him regularly break through the Liverpool press.
LM: Wilson Odobert – 6/10 – A bundle of energy and constantly looked to exploit the space left by Alexander-Arnold in the first half.
ST: David Datro Fofana – 5/10 – A prominent focal point for Burnley but spurned two wonderful chances. His misses proved mighty costly in the end.
ST: Zeki Amdouni – 6/10 – Came close early on and did plenty of running up top.
SUB: Han-Noah Masengo (80′ for Ramsey) – N/A
SUB: Vitinho (80′ for Esteve) – N/A
SUB: Jacob Bruun Larsen (86′ for Amdouni) – N/A
Vincent Kompany – 7/10 – Lots of positives to take from the game for the Burnley boss, but no points. Two Fofana misses were arguably to blame, with the Clarets performing well at Anfield.