Situated on the broadcasting gantry within Anfield’s main stand, Oliver Miller offers his view on Liverpool’s Premier League match against Burnley
Liverpool wasted a hatful of chances as they were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Burnley
The clouds over Anfield were just turning grey and the air was beginning to chill when Jurgen Klopp emerged from the home dressing room, deep within the bowels of the stadium. He smiled, shook the hand of BBC Match of the Day commentator Steve Bower and proclaimed, “It’s our fault!” After racking up 35 efforts at goal – the hosts could only take a point away from the afternoon’s proceedings. Klopp was happy with the performance but the result left him with anger. Burnley left with their first league points from Anfield since 1974 – and in the process spoilt Liverpool’s 125th birthday celebrations.
Klopp also highlighted his sides’ dominance and fantastic attitude whilst also praising the fluency with which his side had played with – even though he had made seven changes from the game against Sevilla in midweek. The result, however, could have been even worse had Joel Matip not cleared Ben Mee’s header off the line late on.
Liverpool dominated the early stages but it was Burnley who took the lead out of nowhere in the 27th minute. Another defensive mishap by Matip and Klavan who failed to deal with Robbie Brady’s flick-on and the ball fell to Arfield on the edge of the penalty area. The Irishman finished well, into the bottom corner of Mignolet’s goal, right in front of the supporters in the Kop who sighed amid another defensive calamity.
However, their despair lasted only three minutes as Liverpool levelled through Salah, who brought the ball down from an Emre Can pass and smashed it into the net past Premier League debutant goalkeeper, Nick Pope. The suspension of Sadio Mane ushered the return of Philippe Coutinho to the starting line-up and halfway through the first half he began to pull the strings. The Brazilian’s pass released Daniel Sturridge in the Burnley area, he shot and many in the crowd jumped to their feet before realising that the ball had gone the wrong side of Pope’s post. Coutinho certainly seemed eager to exemplify his commitment to the cause after an unsettled summer but, it was fair to say, his shooting radar was not quite calibrated as he fired a number of shots over the crossbar.
As the second-half developed, the frustration grew – the fact that the loudest cheer of the match was for referee East handing a yellow card to Burnley goalkeeper Pope for time wasting was telling. It was virtually one-way traffic throughout the final thirty minutes – Coutinho, Can, Milner, Robertson, and Alexander-Arnold all had chances. Burnley – who were encouraged to play direct and test Liverpool’s defence by Dyche – stood strong. Although the Clarets almost conceded late on – a Solanke shot from close range was tipped onto the crossbar – they nearly nicked it themselves when Mee had one effort headed over by Matip and another saved by Mignolet. There was little room for celebration on Liverpool’s 125th birthday as their difficult week continued.
Salah’s performance was one from which Klopp – and the supporters – could take solace from. The Egyptian’s speed and direct running provided a contrasting threat to Coutinho’s clever angles and probing passes. Salah had four shots on target – more than any other player – but too often he found goalkeeper Pope, who had an impressive Premier League debut, rather than the back of the net.
A growing concern among the supporters is that the misfiring attack is leading to just as many dropped points as the unstable defence. Klopp post-match corroborated with this line of thinking by stating “when you have shots on goal it’s not about their defending”. Sturridge – who showed his quality at times with clever link-up play – was too often outside of the penalty area rather than in it where he could do the most damage.