Saturday, September 30, 2023

Burnley Vs Liverpool Preview: Can Klopp’s Side Make It Two In A Row?

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Jon Depp (JD)
Eccentric writer, effervescent blagger. What he lacks in cheekbones, he makes up by being cheeky. The footballing Jack Sparrow pompously navigating the high-waves of journalism.2015 International Football Blogging Award Finalist, the pin-up boy of The 4th Official.

Burnley vs Liverpool FC
Venue: Turf Moor
Kick-off: Saturday, 3pm
Will be live on BT Sport/Sky Sports, BBC1 (highlights package)

3 Head-to-heads
Burnley 0 – Liverpool 4 (Steven Gerrard, Maxi Rodriguez, Steven Gerrard, Ryan Babel), 2010, April.
Burnley 0 – Liverpool 1 (Raheem Sterling), 2014, December.
Liverpool 2 (Daniel Sturridge, Jordan Henderson) – Burnley 0, 2015, March.

Blast from the past: It was Burnley who were witness to one of the most storied moments in Liverpool history, at the 2005 edition of the FA Cup third round, where the Merseyside giants were knocked out by the clarets 1-0. Djimi Traore’s ridiculously sublime, Zidane roulette own-goal is the stuff of pub quizzes are made of, and still very much a part of folklore.

It’s a Big Day For: Danny Ings, who makes his return to Burnley for the first time since his move to Anfield. It remains to be seen if the Turf Moor faithful will give him a kindly reception considering the transfer fracas between his current employers and his former romance, with whom he spent 5 years, racking up 122 appearances and 38 goals.

The story for Burnley: Sean Dyche, the Burnley manager, would be raring to get the first points on the board, after their disjointed 0-1 defeat vs Swansea City in their backyard, after the Swan’s Leroy Fer turned in a deflected header off Fernando Llorente, into the back of the net.

Largely outclassed by the battle-hardened Premier League side from Wales, Burnley’s chance to equalise fell to Dean Marney in the dying embers of the match, which was turned away heroically by the Pole, Lukasz Fabianski.

Burnley aren’t used to the habit of losing, this match being their first body blow since 2015, 26th of December.

The Story for Liverpool: Being a Liverpool fans is like being on a roller coaster ride, on a sea liner, navigating unruly waves. It’s a bit ridiculous, the whole buffet of emotions that are on offer through the course of the match, giving one acute acid reflux. Such was the case at The Emirates, where Jürgen Klopp’s showmen, in their usual pomp and style pulled off a remarkable comeback (out) of sorts that blew Arsenal’s steady frigate of home form out of the water and into rocky shores.

3-4 was the scoreline, the match, which in a space of 92 minutes displayed all that is woefully wrong with Liverpool and all that is jaw-droppingly good.

Burnley Players to Watch Out For

#1 Michael Keane – The former Manchester United graduate has seen his stock rise through the roof in the last couple of seasons, with the 23-year-old’s game showing no sign of glaring weaknesses. A very well-rounded centre-back, he’s as likely to step up for an interception as he has to put in a goal-line clearance.

He’s a threat in the opposition area as well when the former Republic of Ireland youth, almost scored the opening goal for Burnley was inches away from putting it in. Liverpool defence who have had their fair share of problems from set-piece since the past decade may do well to keep an eye on Keane, who would love to get one over the 18-times Champions for his mates over at Manchester.

#2 Andre Gray – 23-goal machine in Burnley’s stake to claim the Championship title last season was profligate in their opening fixture. A case of nerves, you’d think, as he missed a glut of goal-scoring opportunities. It remains to be seen whether he’ll wilt under pressure or relish it, playing against one the most respected names in world football.

#3 Steven Defour – The playmaker from Belgium, is seen as a bit of a coup for the Clarets, who on his day can take the entire team’s tempo and make it tick. Liverpool do not have a designated defensive midfielder in the ranks with the injury to Lucas Leiva, and it may give Defour some joy and time on the ball.

Liverpool Players to Look Out For

#1 Ragnar Klavan – The Estonian has been a bit of a revelation at Anfield, introducing a claim that has not been since the advent of Sami Hyypia and Daniel Agger. Resolute and unforgiving in the tackle, and uncannily nimble with the ball at his feet, he’ll play a big part to where Liverpool finish this season.

#2 Coutinho – Lil’ Phil Coutinho has always been the one for the biggest of occasions, scoring vs Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, and now Arsenal – but one question mark that’s been floated around his head, is his consistency levels. This is the sort of match that the beautiful Brazilian needs to perform in the week in week out to lay claim to the much-vaunted pedestal of Liverpool’s best player since Suarez.

#3 Alberto Moreno – Moreno has a lot of mulling to do. Jürgen Klopp came out with a stiff upper lip against the question of his persistence with the young Spaniard’s defensive transgressions. Starting today, Moreno needs to put in a string of performances together to better his form that made his one of Liverpool’s best players last season prior to the Christmas break. The talent is there to tear up Burnley’s right-hand side, but will there be enough prudence?

Liverpool expected line-up: Sturridge, Coutinho, Wijnaldum, Henderson, Grujic, Lallana, Moreno, Lovren, Klavan, Clyne, Mignolet.

Burnley expected line-up: Vokes, Gray, Arfield, Boyd, Marney, Defour, Ward, Lowton, Mee, Keane, Heaton.

Predicted Result: 0-3.

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