Match Preview: Burnley v Liverpool

Liverpool fans are still on something of a high after last weekend’s 4-3 away to Arsenal, even if the Reds did their very best to throw away two points.

The Emirates triumph was the perfect way for Jurgen Klopp’s men to start their 2016/17 campaign, with sparkling displays from Philippe Coutinho, debutant Sadio Mane and others.

Winning at the home of a rival should give the Liverpool players huge self-belief, but the big test is to ensure they build on that result.

Time and time again over the years, it is games against the lesser clubs that has been their downfall, and Saturday’s clash with Burnley at Turf Moor is a perfect example of this.

If Klopp and his side are to mount a top-four challenge, and even an assault on the title, they have to start showing more consistency and ruthless.

Head-to-Head: Recent Meetings

Burnley spent last season in the Championship, following their relegation in 2014/15, so it feels like a while since the two teams last met.

In reality, it isn’t.

The last clash took place in March 2015, when Liverpool strolled to a 2-0 win at Anfield, thanks to goals from Jordan Henderson and Daniel Sturridge.

Prior to that, they met on Boxing Day in 2014, when a solitary Raheem Sterling goal was enough to earn Brendan Rodgers’ Reds a 1-0 victory at Turf Moor.

In fact, the Clarets have not defeated Liverpool in the league since 1974, with their last victory in any competition coming in January 2005, when Djimi Traore’s disastrous own goal knocked Rafa Benitez’s Reds out of the FA Cup.

Team News

There are likely to be a few changes to the XI that won so dramatically in north London last weekend.

Mane, comfortably Man of the Match against the Gunners, is expected to miss the game with a shoulder injury, but he should be back for the trip to Tottenham a week on Saturday.

James Milner is now first-choice left-back in the eyes of many, and could well replace Liverpool’s current boo-boy Alberto Moreno, following his shaky display against Arsenal.

Joel Matip is pushing for a start, but given his probable lack of match sharpness, it would be a surprise if Klopp didn’t stick with the centre-back pairing of Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan.

Emre Can, Divock Origi and Sturridge are all fully fit, so it will be interesting to see how Klopp midfield and attack looks on Saturday.

Is Can a certainty to return? Does Klopp stick with Roberto Firmino up front? Does the Brazilian drop deeper, with Origi coming in and Adam Lallana dropping to the bench?

Klopp will leave us all guessing until Saturday afternoon, but the beauty now is that the depth within the squad means the starting line-up will invariably look strong.

Mane looked impressive in the 4-3 win at Arsenal but may not start

The Opposition 

Sean Dyche is doing a tremendous job at Burnley, having been in charge since 2012.

Twice he has led them to promotion to the Premier League, and he is widely thought of as one of England’s best young managers.

Their return to the top-flight was not a happy one, though, as Swansea picked up a 1-0 win at Turf Moor last Saturday.

Some of their supporters have expressed concern about a lacking of new faces this summer, although the shock signing of Belgium international Steven Defour has come out of nowhere.

Defour could well make his debut against Liverpool, and the club’s record signing (£7million) will add guaranteed quality to their midfield.

Andre Gray is a key man up front, having scored 23 goals last season, while Scott Arfield and George Boyd can both be effective on their day.

Despite some obvious strengths, though, it would be a real disappointment if Liverpool failed to walk away with maximum points.

Predicted Liverpool Starting XI:

Screenshot_11

Match Prediction: Burnley 1-3 Liverpool

Written by @HenryJackson87

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