A somewhat disjointed and slightly nervy performance from Liverpool, in front of a record Anfield league attendance none the less, produced the desired three points. Goals from all the front three eventually dispatching a Burnley side that squandered chances, which could have put a real dent in Liverpool’s title credentials.
It was the ever-reliable Diogo Jota who opened the scoring in front of the expanded Anfield Road. A free header and an unguarded goal-line, coming courtesy of a goalkeeping error. However, with Jurgen Klopp imploring the officials to award Liverpool a penalty for a clear foul on the Portuguese striker minutes before half-time, Burnley silenced the near 60,000 crowd with a header of their own.
Trent Alexander-Arnold, withdrawn at half-time after injuring his knee, failed to deal with an attack down Liverpool’s right flank. Eventually, a corner on the opposite flank was awarded and a superb header from distance beat Caoimhin Kelleher, deputising for the flu-ridden Alisson Becker. Kelleher, who’d earlier thwarted a bright Burnley and was to do so again in the second half, stood no chance and the teams went in all square at the break.
Forced to make changes for the second half, Klopp introduced Harvey Elliott. His energy introduced a new dynamic to Liverpool’s attacking threat, which soon helped restore the lead. VAR intervened to look at whether the substitute was off-side, but his clipped pass to Luis Diaz, which he headed home, was deemed on-side.
Burnley though had chances to equalise, with Fofana first failing in a one-on-one with Kelleher, and then missing the target completely from inside ten yards. Vincent Kompany’s pained expression on the sidelines said it all, and with Darwin Nunez stretching Liverpool’s lead with the fourth header goal of the day, the Burnley manager’s anxiety at his teams profligacy proved prophetic.
The remaining 20 minutes of the match played out with little real incident. Burnley seemed to accept their fate, whilst Liverpool, nowhere near their fluent best all afternoon, easily saw out the game. For Klopp and his players all that mattered was getting back to winning ways following last week’s defeat. League fixtures against Brentford, Luton and Nottm Forest lie ahead before the visit of Manchester City. Results in those games may well be pivotal in determining the destiny of the title.