We preview Sunday's sole EPL game which sees Liverpool host Burnley.
Liverpool’s ill-fated title challenge has essentially been derailed by fixtures like these. It was the reverse fixture at Turf Moor that really catapulted some of Liverpool’s deficiencies against lower opposition into the spotlight. Teams with lower expectations don’t fall into the trap of trying to outpass Liverpool, and they are able to make hay on the counter when Liverpool have overreached. Sean Dyche’s side will not be attempting to reinvent the wheel this weekend and will be hoping to suffocate and frustrate this Liverpool side for as long as possible.
Liverpool v Burnley | Sunday 12 March | Anfield | 18:00
To Win (90 Mins)
Liverpool 2/9 | Draw 5/1 | Burnley 10/1
Liverpool’s victory over Arsenal, while clearly benefitting them in the quest for the top four, must leave die-hard Liverpool fans even more annoyed. They have won two games this year in the Premier League, against Arsenal and Spurs. The likes of Hull and Bournemouth have routinely usurped the Reds, and Klopp will be eager to elicit the type of performance that was commonplace earlier this season. Liverpool are really superior all over the park and will just need to overcome this psychological hoodoo. One of their holding midfielders has to have the discipline to retain their position, despite having close to 80% possession.
Jordan Henderson may be fit this weekend, but I doubt if Klopp will throw him straight back into the first team. He will persist with the dynamic side that derailed Arsenal so convincingly. Burnley will offer more industry than Arsenal in midfield and the Reds would do well to be mindful of that. The likes of Hendricks and Boyd won’t be gun-shy about putting a foot in where Arsenal players were too precious to tread. They will also have to guard against Gray’s ability to get in behind their defence. Also look for Brady and Boyd to utilise whatever possession they have by peppering Mingolet and testing his aerial abilities.
Tom Heaton may be available this weekend, and one suspects that he may be in for a rather industrious afternoon. Dyche may also be tempted to bring in Westwood for Barton, to bring some stability to the midfield. Barton is the type of incandescent figure that could get drawn into some pointless confrontations against a clearly superior side- see exhibit Manchester City vs QPR. Michael Keane has been exceptional this season and will need to be in top form against a potent attacking force.
Shaun Dyche will feel quite despondent that his usually reliable side wasn’t able to hold on to something against Swansea. Considering the absolutely shocking season they have had on the road, Dyche must have thought his side will get something at the Liberty Stadium. Ultimately, their away form is just far too poor to see anywhere beyond a comfortable Liverpool side.
Verdict: Liverpool 2/9 and Mane to Score Anytime at 17/20
Liverpool will build on that morale-boosting win over Arsenal and will look to exploit the fact that all the other sides vying for the top four are in Cup action this weekend. Look for Mane to get on the score-sheet as he looks to be in blistering form.
Written by Damien Kayat for