Liverpool 4-2 Burnley: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Firminos Brace Closes Gap From City to 1 Point

Liverpool closed the gap to Premier League leaders Manchester City to one point with a 4-2 win over Burnley, while the visitors sit precariously in 17th, just two points clear of the bottom three.

Ashley Westwood handed the visitors a shock lead when his swinging corner evaded everyone and flew into the back of the net after six minutes, although the goal should have been disallowed for a clear foul on Alisson by James Tarkowski.

Burnley's lead lasted only 13 minutes, however, as Roberto Firmino turned home Mohamed Salah's cutback - which somehow squirmed through Tom Heaton and Tarkowski to present the Brazilian with his first goal in six matches. The turnaround was completed ten minutes later as Adam Lallana did well to block an attempted clearance that fell to Salah, who was denied by a fine Charlie Taylor tackle, however, Sadio Mane was on hand to curl a fine first-time finish beyond Heaton. 


Sean Dyche's men showed more willingness in the second period, however, the sucker punch was delivered after 68 minutes thanks to a second mistake of the day by Heaton. The goalkeeper's clearance could only find Salah, who raced through on goal only to be again denied by a fine challenge from Taylor, but his tackle fell kindly to Firmino for his second tap in of the match.

Mane hit the crossbar late on but it was Burnley who had set up a nervy finish, with substitute Johann Berg Gudmundsson firing home in added time. However, Liverpool drew final blood as Mane rounded Heaton with virtually the last kick of the match to score his second and reduce City's lead at the top of the Premier League to one point, while Burnley sit just two points clear of the bottom three in 17th.


Key Talking Point

In the middle of January, Liverpool found themselves four points clear of Manchester City in the Premier League table, yet, ahead of Sunday's game were in a contrasting position, with the Citizens holding a four-point advantage over the Reds.

Much criticism has been aimed at Liverpool in recent weeks, after they drew four of their last six league matches, handing over the advantage to Pep Guardiola's side in their quest for a first title in nearly 29 years. Westwood's goal was the first one they had conceded in 518 minutes but the criticism was centred around their forward players, who have blown hot and cold in recent weeks.


Jurgen Klopp' men were not at their fluid best on Sunday but got the job done to close the gap on City to one point, with their attentions now turned towards Wednesday's Champions League clash with Bayern Munich. Plenty of twists and turns will happen in the remaining eight games of the season but Sunday's win was crucial in maintaining pressure on the league leaders.

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Alisson (6); Alexander-Arnold (6), Matip (7), Van Dijk (7), Robertson (7), Wijnaldum (6), Fabinho (7), Lallana (8), Salah (6), Firmino (7), Mane (8)

Substitutes: Henderson (6), Keita (6), Sturridge (N/A)

STAR MAN - Adam Lallana

Making just his 12th Premier League appearance of the season, Lallana was a surprise inclusion in the starting XI after failing to register a goal or assist so far this campaign. The former Southampton man has come under criticism from his own supporters this season but was the brightest player in a red shirt in the first half.

Ashley Westwood,Adam Lallana

The 30-year-old had a hand in both of Liverpool's goals in the opening period and looked lively in an attacking role for Klopp's side. His all round play was reminiscent of the Lallana of previous years, and his contribution to the win vindicated Klopp's decision to play the midfielder ahead of either Xherdan Shaqiri or Naby Keita. He was substituted after 77 minutes to a standing ovation from the Anfield faithful for a solid display on Sunday.


Key Talking Point

Having picked up 18 points from ten matches since Boxing Day, Sean Dyche's side had recovered from their early season woes to give themselves a fighting chance of staying in the Premier League.

Against the odds they took the lead at Anfield in bizarre circumstances, with Westwood's sixth minute corner evading everyone and nestling in the back of the net despite what appeared to be a clear foul on goalkeeper Alisson.

Their inability to hold onto their lead against the Reds proved pivotal, as Klopp's side gained control of the game and eventually cruised to a half time lead. It was the beginning of the second half that Dyche would have rued as, while not creating many clear cut chances, they enjoyed a good spell of possession but failed to test Alisson before Firmino sealed the points.


That said, should Burnley remain in the Premier League it will be matches against opponents outside the 'top six' that will be crucial in securing their top flight status.

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Heaton (4); Bardsley (7), Tarkowski (5), Mee (6), Taylor (7), Hendrick (5), Cork (6), Westwood (6), McNeil (7), Wood (5), Barnes (6)

Substitutes: Crouch (6), Gudmundsson (6), Vydra (N/A)

STAR MAN - Dwight McNeil

The 19-year-old has enjoyed a good run in the Clarets' first team this year, with great performances keeping him in the starting XI ahead of much more experienced Burnley players. In a relatively weak showing from the visitors, it was the youngster who showed the most encouragement going forward.

Burnley FC v Crystal Palace - Premier League

He had the confidence to take players on down the left hand side, while also showcasing an incredible amount of composure when on the ball. The former Manchester United youth has plenty of his career ahead of him but could very well find himself in the England set up if he continues his rapid rise.

Looking Ahead

Liverpool turn their attentions towards the Champions League next as they travel to Germany on Wednesday to take on Bayern in the second leg of their round of 16 tie, with the first leg ending in a 0-0 stalemate.

For Burnley they will return to Turf Moor as they host Leicester City in the Premier League next Saturday.

Source : 90min