Watching Liverpool these days, and watching Liverpool play well, inevitably causes the refrain from grumpy opposition supporters to opine ‘they’re good but they’re not Man City and they’re not going to win anything.’ This unjust comparison and ridiculous conclusion (European Cups are still a thing), couldn’t help but make me think of Quentin Tarantino’s latest work Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Its two leads perfectly encapsulate what Manchester City and Liverpool are all about. Brad Pitt, at 56, six pack abs and outrageously cool demeanour is in the blue corner. You look at him and he appears as if he’s not of this world, having achieved a level of magnificence it seems almost insulting to try and replicate it.
Liverpool are Leonardo DiCaprio in this comparison. With his tummy barely hidden by some questionable turtlenecks, he seems to be represent what can be achieved for the everyman. Of course, while you’re thinking on this, they combine to scoop up all the prizes and plaudits you had your eye on before you even notice what’s happening.
As it was on Saturday, it was Burnley playing the film’s antagonist, and with roughly the same result as Tarantino’s third act.
The match started optimistically for Clarets fans. Chris Wood had a great early chance after leaving the newly crowned UEFA Player of the Year, Virgil Van Dijk, for dead in the box. Combining with some good defensive play and Dwight McNeil looking bright down the left hand side there was just a hint that Burnley were in with a sniff of a chance of taking something.
If you want something from these games though, you absolutely cannot afford bad luck and sloppiness even less so. Burnley had both of these within a few minutes after Trent Alexander-Arnold’s deflected cross left everyone flat footed and Ben Mee’s terrible pass allowed Roberto Firmino all the room in the world to slip in Sadio Mane in for the second shortly after.
This effectively ended the game and despite the characteristically good endeavour from Burnley, Roberto Firmino’s second half finish came as neither undeserved nor unexpected. On the complete balance of play, 3-0 may have flattered the Reds, but as they never had to move past second gear, there’s very little to complain about for Burnley fans.
It feels as if a small chapter of the season has been closed for Burnley now. The opening day win against Southampton represents the only match that a win for the Clarets was the most likely result so keeping the performance level up in the tougher games was always going to be paramount.
Saturday seemed to be the first dip from the standard set thus far, but not so alarming given the standard of opposition. With more winnable matches coming on paper, the performance level Sean Dyche’s team has set should see them add many more points to the four already accrued.
Burnley have matched, or bettered the result they achieved last season in the comparative fixtures so far and the aura around the club suggests this trend is set to continue.
Last season saw Burnley survive by a healthy margin in the end, so finishing in a higher position is extremely achievable and if not, there are always happy endings in the movies.
A different perspective from Matthew Thornley. Our regular match appraisor Dave is on holiday soaking up the Spanish sun. (TEC)