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Late Barnes pen ends Liverpool’s unbeaten run

Liverpool lost at home for the first time since April 2017 as Ashley Barnes’ late penalty earned Burnley a 1-0 win, bringing the champions’ 68-game unbeaten Premier League run at Anfield to an end.

Liverpool’s alarming recent form continued as they failed to score and win for the fourth successive league game. They were once again met by an inspired Nick Pope, but their best chance came in the first half when Divock Origi smashed the crossbar.

The opening period ended in a fiery encounter between both players and managers after a Fabinho tackle on Barnes, raising tensions for the second half. But despite Liverpool’s chances, it was a poor challenge from Alisson that sent Barnes over and handed Burnley the match-winning penalty, which the striker converted for his 100th career goal.

It is the first time Burnley have won at Anfield in 46 years and ended Liverpool’s unbeaten Anfield run, stretching back to April 2017. The result also leaves the Reds six points behind Premier League leaders Manchester United in fourth, while Burnley have gone above Brighton into 16th.

How Liverpool’s run came to a limp end

PL table 21/01/21
PL table bottom 21/01/21

Both sides had only scored one goal in their previous four Premier League games, so a quiet start was no surprise, although Burnley had a glimpse of goal in strange circumstances. Alisson raced off his line to try and collect a long ball through, but couldn’t quite get there. The ball landed to Barnes with an empty goal in his sights, but the Liverpool goalkeeper stretched across to his right to block the powerful shot.

Xherdan Shaqiri went close not long after, flashing a fierce volley from the top of the area just wide. The Swiss international and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain then both worked Pope, but the shots were straight at the Burnley goalkeeper. Divock Origi then struck twice with almost identical efforts. Both included runs across the top of the area followed by a half volley, but Pope was down low to make an easy save for each. The Burnley stopper was then called into a trickier save when Andy Robertson hammered the ball goalwards from a tight angle, but Pope did enough to push the ball away.

Player ratings

Liverpool: Alisson (6), Alexander-Arnold (7), Matip (6), Fabinho (6), Robertson (7), Oxlade-Chamberlain (6), Thiago (7), Wijnaldum (7), Shaqiri (6), Origi (7), Mane (7).

Subs used: Salah (6), Firmino (6), Minamino (n/a).

Burnley: Pope (8), Lowton (7), Tarkowski (7), Mee (8), Taylor (7), Brady (6), Westwood (6), Brownhill (6), McNeil (7), Barnes (7), Wood (6).

Subs used: Pieters (6), Gudmundsson (6).

Man of the match: Ben Mee.

Liverpool’s best chance of the game came just before the break. It was a horrendous mistake from Ben Mee that allowed Origi to drive forward with only Pope to beat, but the Liverpool striker could only smash his effort off the top of the crossbar before the ball was cleared away.

A fiery end to the opening period followed as players and managers confronted one another following a Fabinho challenge on Barnes. Burnley were adamant that the Liverpool midfielder had kicked out, but VAR checked the incident and agreed with referee Mike Dean’s initial assessment of a yellow card.

preview image 0:12
There was a heated exchange between Jurgen Klopp and Sean Dyche as they left the pitch at half time during Liverpool’s match against Burnley

After the break, Trent Alexander-Arnold could have put Liverpool ahead early on. His initial effort was blocked by Dwight McNeil, but the full-back’s second effort forced a superb low save from Pope. The Burnley goalkeeper produced another sensational stop on the hour mark as he leapt to keep out an effort from substitute Mohamed Salah. Roberto Firmino also fired wide as the wait for a goal continued to tick by.

Team news

  • Liverpool made three changes. Joel Matip, Divock Origi and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain replaced Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino – who dropped to the bench – while Jordan Henderson was out of the matchday squad completely.
  • Burnley made two changes. Charlie Taylor and Dwight McNeil returned to the XI, replacing Erik Pieters and Johann Berg Gudmundsson, who were among the substitutes.

Burnley also had second-half chances. Alisson showed off his own skills as Barnes fired his way from eight yards out, but the Brazilian made a superb stop as the offside flag was raised. Shortly after McNeil made a superb run down the left, but his cross was sent wide by Johann Berg Gudmundsson.

Ashley Barnes challenges Joel Matip in the air
Image: Burnley have not won at Anfield in 46 years

The game looked to be meandering towards a draw, but then Burnley won a penalty in the 82nd minute. Fabinho let the ball run back to Alisson, but Barnes was alert to the situation and the goalkeeper swiped at his legs to send the striker over. Despite Alisson’s protests, it was a clear-cut penalty and he was beaten by Barnes’ powerful effort.

Liverpool pushed for an equaliser in the final throes, Alisson coming up for set-pieces as they scrambled to keep their unbeaten run intact, but were once again unable to find the net.

Man of the match – Ben Mee

It was a captain’s performance from Ben Mee as he helped Burnley to a famous win. He made a joint-high two tackles and blocks with a massive 14 clearances too.

Credit must also go to Pope on his 100th Burnley start, with the England goalkeeper enjoying another eye-catching display at Anfield.

Analysis: Title slipping away from Liverpool

Matthew Lowton battles with Sadio Mane
Image: Liverpool went a fourth Premier League game in a row without a win

Sky Sports’ Jamie Carragher at Anfield:

“We were talking about a blip for Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp has come out and defended his players as you would expect because these players have done so much for Liverpool.

“But at this moment it looks like the title is slipping away. Six points can still be recovered but the form Liverpool are in and the fixtures they have in the coming months, I think Liverpool fans will be worrying a little more about their top-four position than the title.

“I think they have got to get back to scoring goals and winning games before they start thinking about someone taking the title off them. They have just been so poor. You cannot quite believe what has happened to Liverpool in the last few weeks.

“You go from that 7-0 win at Palace to so many players out of form at the same time. It is his job to fix it – whether that is formations, personnel, however they go about it – but there are so many teams challenging for that top four it will be a worry for Liverpool until they get out of this little run that they are on.”

Opta stats – Pope shines again

  • This was Burnley’s second Premier League win away against the reigning champions (also v Chelsea in August 2017). Indeed, since the 2017-18 season, Burnley are the only side with two away league wins over the reigning English champions.
  • Liverpool have gone five Premier League games without a win (D3 L2) for only the second time under Jurgen Klopp (also from Jan-Feb 2017).
  • Liverpool had 27 shots without scoring against Burnley, the most they have had in a single league match without finding the net since April 2013 vs Reading (28), and most at Anfield since April 2012 vs West Brom (30).
  • Since the start of last season, no goalkeeper has made more saves against a single opponent in the Premier League than Burnley’s Nick Pope against Liverpool (19). Pope has made 14 saves in his last two games at Anfield, including six tonight.

What’s next?

For Liverpool, it’s another showdown with Manchester United on Sunday when they meet in the FA Cup at Old Trafford. Their next Premier League outing is a trip to Tottenham on Thursday; kick-off 8pm.

It’s also an all-Premier League tie for Burnley in the FA Cup this weekend, traveling to Fulham on Sunday. They will then welcome Aston Villa in the league on Wednesday; kick-off 6pm.

Original Source

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