No matter how much Sean Dyche points out how fine the margins are at this level. No matter the positive spin the Burnley gaffer places on the fortitude and the desire shown by his players.
No matter how much the footballing media pundits pontificate on improved Burnley away performances and the Clarets' increased familiarity with the relentless demands of the Premier League, one inescapable fact remains, Burnley are dire away from Turf Moor.
Yesterday’s match at Anfield was merely the latest in a catalogue of Clarets' away-day misery. The end result replicated a story so familiar with so many other Burnley away games; Manchester City, Arsenal, Watford and Swansea being other classic examples.
Burnley losing again on the road by a single goal, showcased a result that was so tantalisingly close to being a very different story.
Recurring problems remain evident, a concentration deficit which leads to goals being conceded at the tail end of either half. A lack of composure in possession resulting in hurried and inaccurate passes. Forwards being sent to run up blind alleys, obliged to chase hopeful long balls and the rigid adherence to a tactical blueprint that frankly, everyone and his dog has now worked out.
It isn’t that performances are bad, Burnley are no one’s pushovers and often decisions and sheer bad luck have counted against them. It seems to me only the weak to believe in luck, the strong put their faith in cause and effect.
Burnley’s problems away from home go deeper than an inopportune run of the ball or an ill-judged refereeing decision. Dyche's Burnley and their away woes are more likely to reside in the square foot of real estate lodged between each player's ears. As long has this away game torpor persists, then the players’ confidence in themselves and each other is inevitably eroded exponentially.
There is no easy answer, no quick fix, except for finally emerging from an away fixture with three points. Until then the anxiety levels amongst players, staff and supporters will remain heightened. One thing is for certain, Premier League survival cannot be guaranteed through home form alone.
Saturday's visit to the Stadium of Light offers a more realistic and tangible prospect for Dyche's Burnley than other recent fixtures. Sunderland bear the pallor of the doomed at present. Black Cats' fans deserting their seats in droves at the concession of a second goal, players seemingly devoid of a spark to ignite their survival challenge.
At the weekend Burnley can take nothing for granted, because rest assured Sunderland are well aware of Burnley’s away form and will fancy taking the three points themselves. On Wearside this game is already designated as a must win "Six Pointer" for the home team.
If Burnley can prevent the Black Cats from securing the three points and go on to grab victory for themselves, the away curse will finally be lifted and everyone connected with the famous old East Lancashire club can all breathe out.
This article was written by uber Burnley fan and regular Clarets Mad contributor Dave Thornley.