There was nothing to enjoy about Liverpool’s 1-0 defeat to Burnley, with another bad performance dissected, as well as working out how the Reds can overcome this slump.
This was supposed to be the night that the Premier League champions got back on track – instead, it was the most damaging outing of the season so far.
Liverpool were hopeless all evening at Anfield, playing aimless crosses into the box and failing to break down a stubborn Burnley side.
A draw would have been bad enough for Jurgen Klopp‘s men, but Ashley Barnes’ late penalty rubbed salt in the wounds, ending the Reds’ long unbeaten home run in the process.
Here, This Is Anfield’s Henry Jackson (@HenryJackson87) is joined by an equally miserable Marco Lopes (@FootyML) and Taintless Red (@TaintlessRed) to discuss a sobering night for anyone of a Liverpool persuasion.The bad…
MARCO: The match, unfortunately, was quite predictable in respect of how meek Liverpool’s attack performed. It was another negative night, despite the positive news of seeing Matip back in the lineup.
Take your pick of the worst of the bad.
Abject quality of chances created; crosses numerous enough to accompany church bells (playing straight into Burnley’s strengths); Origi’s awful finish after Burnley’s only real unforced error; trying the same things that aren’t working and trying different things that don’t work (Ox in the front-three).
Losing the unbeaten record. Losing the game. Losing ground on defending the title. Maybe even losing the title as well. The list goes on…
You can maybe have complaints over the penalty given to Barnes, or the penalty shout ignored on Mane, but that’s just being generous to Liverpool, who didn’t deserve much from this match.
RED: At some point Liverpool’s incredible unbeaten home league record would fall, and it eventually did after 68 games and 1369 days.
Our football up until the final third was not the problem, but in it, our ability to play good football dissipated. Constantly playing the ball wide to cross, often aimlessly, was a regular theme, as Marco states.
Not varying our mode of attack by using dribbles, one-twos, combination football on the edge of the box or runs into the area from midfield made us predictable.
Rarely has Trent used the ball so poorly from good positions or Mane fail to fashion good opportunities when inside the box. Decision-making and execution was a problem for most of the team and has been for a while.
Perhaps most worrying was how mentally tired the players looked. The composure in and around Burnley’s 18 yard box was lacking, which made it a bigger shame that Thiago, perhaps our best and most composed passer, was wasted so deep for most of the game battling in duels with Barnes and chasing Wood.
HENRY: What a hideous night. It was one of those games that you knew wasn’t going to end well from about the third minute – I looked at the scoreboard on 77 minutes and thought, “our unbeaten record could go here”.
For once, I got something right.
Barring Matip and Fabinho, who were quite good, there was nothing to admire about the performance, with this Liverpool side looking completely devoid of energy, creativity and confidence.
I agree with the lads about the endless hopeful crosses, which were causing me physical pain by the end, and Ox being used in attack was again a baffling decision.
In terms of individuals, Trent was the worst, as Reds highlighted. He is Liverpool’s Kevin De Bruyne in many ways – their creator supreme – but his end product was non-existent and his pass into touch in stoppage time summed it up.
The worst part of it all? That’s the end of Liverpool’s title hopes, in my opinion.The drought…
MARCO: Watching this and reflecting back, I felt like I was experiencing a series of flashbacks – goal droughts in the 2000s, the series of draws in 2008/09 and the malaise in attack in 2014/15.
In one respect, this isn’t a worse low. Liverpool fans with long enough memories have seen worse. In other respects, it’s quite unusual, simply because for two years, this club, this team and these fans are not used to this. They’re used to seeing the team bounce back.
And yet, even with Klopp’s commendable honesty after the match to take the blame, one can’t help but wonder if this has been an issue since the team returned from lockdown. Since then, there have been too many matches where cheap goals are conceded, even with Van Dijk and Gomez in the side before their injuries.
There has been an odd atmosphere of immodesty that seemed to peak in the side’s psychology, with recent examples in the draws against the likes of Fulham, West Brom and Newcastle.
The question is whether or not this is the team having regressed to the mean after two years of superb levels of performance, or if it’s a genuine dry patch to work through, eventually progressing back to their top level again.
RED: Let’s not pretend that the lack of goals vs. Burnley was just down to the rotations in the starting XI.
The players who didn’t play have been poor in numerous recent games as well. It’s a wider problem.
Strangely, Liverpool are still the league’s top scorers, and in Salah they have the league’s top scoring player, but we can’t buy a goal at the moment.
Firmino’s finishing has been a problem for a long time, but that it’s come at the same time as Salah and Mane both dipping in form has made it stick out like a sore thumb.
Jota’s goals are an obvious miss, but as big of an issue are the goals are not spread amongst the team – we have been overly reliant on the front-three for a long time.
None of the midfield score with any regularity and the unavailability of van Dijk and Matip significantly reduces our set piece threat – not only through the goals they score, but the space they create for others by drawing defenders.
HENRY: I can’t really add too much here, the lads have nailed it.
This drought just feels like a combination of many things coming together at the same time – injuries finally taking their toll, tiredness setting in, individuals playing badly in unison and this weird version of football not helping matters, with lifeless atmospheres to play in.
I’m not worried that this is the start of a decline, as Marco alludes to – I simply think it’s a horrible period and one that they will eventually come through.
At some point, Liverpool will click again, and once the injuries ease and football returns to normal, they will be as good as ever.
Perhaps I’m being too positive, but let’s not forget it’s only just over a month since the Reds won 7-0 and we all thought they were going to cruise to another league title.And how do Liverpool get back on track?
MARCO: Changes are clearly necessary.
I’d make the case that the game plan is broken and they need to fix (change) it, especially given that the cost of not doing so could be too high to accept. The team appears to want to get plan A to work better, but surely by this point it’s clear a new approach is needed.
Assuming signings aren’t made, the only options Liverpool have are to adjust their tactical options to address the situation. This could mean one, or all of, many things. Formation. Build-up tempo. Attitude and sense of urgency. Game plan.
Could a shift to a 4-2-3-1 formation make better use of the attacking talents at hand, or do a better job of maneuvering defences into more vulnerable positions?
Klopp may lament the decision-making in the final third, but it’s much harder to make the right decision when the whole team’s build-up play could be much faster.
They need to mix up the game plan, too. If creating through the full-backs isn’t working, try something else. And don’t pump crosses into the box when the opposition defenders outnumber you five to one.
The team have been humbled a little – perhaps that was necessary – and to persist with the same plan doesn’t appear likely to change the results. Other teams have grown and moved, Liverpool need to do the same.
RED: Liverpool have accumulated 7.76xG (from one model) since they last scored, which shows they’ve maybe been a bit unlucky, but when that’s spread over 87 shots it perhaps indicates there’s been a lot of low quality chances/shots.
When we are near the 18-yard box we have to show improved guile and creativity. This is partly why Klopp has tried Shaqiri as a No.8. Getting Keita fit would be a boost, but he’s rarely available.
A new centre-back is pivotal, but it looks like Liverpool will wait until the right player is available in the summer.
It’s time to get our best passer, Thiago, closer to the opposition box. Even if Fabinho is needed in defence, I would rather play Wijnaldum or Henderson as the No.6, allowing Thiago to be more advanced.
But systems and tactics will only work if the players can regain their confidence and refresh their minds. That will come down to our coaching team, training and how Klopp chooses to rotate them.
Some of the players who do look jaded, like Trent or Firmino, might need more than just the odd game out of the team whether to recharge their batteries or shake them into fighting for their place.
The situation may feel bleak now, but we still have an exceptional group of players with the best manager in the world and I’d back them to turn it around.
HENRY: A nice positive sentence to finish from Red there – works for me!
Again, both guys have nailed it, with lots of work to do on the training ground, Thiago needing to be used differently and a possible shift to a 4-2-3-1 required.
It’s a terrible run, but Liverpool will come out the other side of it, whether that be next week, in April or in August.
Refresh the minds, eventually get fans back (and the best centre-back of the last 20 years) and the Reds will be the best in the business again.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admits player confidence is an issue as a seven-hour goal drought contributed to the 1-0 defeat by Burnley which ended an unbeaten home league run stretching back to April 2017.
Ashley Barnes’s 83rd-minute penalty was his 100th senior club career goal and he became the first Burnley player to score an away league goal since October 3.
For Liverpool, whose 68-match unbeaten run at home was brought to an end, their goal drought now stretches to seven hours and 18 minutes.
“Confidence is a small flower and obviously someone has stamped on it, and now at this moment we have to find a new one and we will. But for tonight it was not enough,” said Klopp.
“It’s not the luckiest period of our lives but it would be a bit cheap to put it only on that, that we don’t have enough luck.
“I think our problem is the decision-making at the moment and the decisions are based on the information I give and also the mood you are in and how confident you are to do it in really small spaces.
“That’s the reason we didn’t score in these moments. It is not cool to mention it but we won games with lesser possession but we didn’t win because we didn’t score in these situations.
“How is it possible we lose that game? But we lost it, we made even that happen. It is our fault and that means my fault.”
Defeat made it just three points from the last 15 and left Klopp’s defending champions six points behind arch-rivals and current leaders Manchester United.
“If I sit now here, losing against Burnley and didn’t score for the last four games and talk about the title race how silly that would be?” he added.
“It is still not rocket science but it still didn’t work out again tonight.
“That’s the job a manager and coach has to do. I’m not the first and I won’t be the last one.
“We need to score goals and that is what we have to do. We have to work harder but not talking like it is an easy situation.
“We have to get better and we have to become ourselves again in the decisive moments.
“In the last third in the last moment decision-making is not how it should be.
“Everyone will talk about it, which makes the problem not smaller but bigger.
“It shows how incredible and consistent the boys were and that is nothing anyone should have been taking for granted.”
Venue – Old Trafford, Manchester
Referee – Craig Pawson
Date & Time – Sunday, January 24th @ 17:00
Current Odds – Manchester United 8/5, Draw 12/5, Liverpool 13/8
Liverpool and United meet again this Sunday. This time it’s the FA Cup and Liverpool will make the short journey to Old Trafford.
Both managers have some big decisions to make. Neither will want to surrender the tie, going out of the cup and giving their rivals a psychological boost, yet, on the other hand, neither will want to risk injury to any first-team players with such a tight Premier League title race still to run between now and May.FORM
Manchester United Form
United are one of the form teams in the UK at the moment. Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side has lost just once in their last 12 games. They are currently top of the Premier League table.
Last weekend, Manchester United avoided defeat at Anfield, drawing 0-0 and maintaining their impressive unbeaten away record in league football which dates back to their 2-0 defeat to Liverpool in January 2020. On Wednesday night, The Red Devils came from behind to win in trademark fashion at lowly Fulham.
Liverpool are struggling right now. There’s no denying that fact. However, it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom for The Reds. A turnaround in form is one excellent performance away.
Liverpool haven’t won in five league games and failed to score in the last four of those matches. In that time, Jürgen Klopp’s men have lost their grip on the Premier League top spot and suffered their first league defeat at Anfield in almost four years when Burnley won there on Thursday night.
A win at United on Sunday could be just the tonic Liverpool need to kick-start the second half of their season.TEAM NEWS
Manchester United Team News
Ole Gunnar Solskjær may give starts to Dean Henderson, Brandon Williams, Eric Bailly, Alex Telles, Donny van de Beek and Mason Greenwood on Sunday.
United will probably stick with their 4-2-3-1 formation with Greenwood leading the line in attack.
Like Liverpool, United will rotate some while still aiming to maintain a ‘strong enough’ starting lineup.
Liverpool Team News
There are likely to be plenty of changes to Liverpool’s lineup from their game against Burnley.
Of course, we are still without Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Diogo Jota, Kostas Tsimikas and Naby Keïta.
Elsewhere, Joël Matip will not be risked for this clash, I’d expect.
Jordan Henderson had a minor fitness issue that kept him out of Thursday’s defeat to Burnley.
Jürgen Klopp will likely give more first-team experience to Caoimhin Kelleher between the sticks. Neco Williams and Nat Phillips could also start at right-back and centre-half respectively.
Klopp may go quite strong in midfield, starting Jordan Henderson (if fit) and Thiago Alcântara with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain coming in for Gini Wijnaldum.
Roberto Firmino may be rested and that would give Takumi Minamino the opportunity to start up front alongside Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané.PREDICTED LINEUPS
Manchester United XI (4-2-3-1) – Henderson; Williams, Bailly, Maguire, Telles; McTominay, Van de Beek; Pogba, Fernandes, Rashford; Greenwood
Liverpool XI (4-3-3) – Kelleher; Williams N, Phillips, Fabinho, Milner; Henderson, Thiago, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Salah, Minamino, ManéWHEN THEY LAST MET
Last Sunday, the sides played out a drab 0-0 draw at Anfield in the Premier League.
Liverpool’s last visit to Old Trafford was ended 1-1 last season with Marcus Rashford giving Manchester United a first-half lead only for Adam Lallana to cancel it out with a late equaliser for Jürgen Klopp’s side.PREDICTION
MANCHESTER UNITED 1 – 1 LIVERPOOL
Expect another tight game with both sides probably fielding slightly ‘weaker’ starting lineups. I expect (I hope) at least some goals in this one, however. If it does go to extra-time and penalties, it’s anyone’s guess who comes out on top then. Of course, the Premier League title is the main concern for both clubs but a victory on Sunday would taste very, very sweet indeed.
The media felt Liverpool’s shock 1-0 loss to Burnley showed the Reds have lost their identity and “aura of greatness”, and are now in a “full-blown crisis.”
Of all teams it was Burnley who ended the Reds’ historic unbeaten Anfield run, which finished at an incredible 68 games.
Ashley Barnes’ late penalty inflicted a painful defeat on a dreadful night which saw Liverpool extend their goalless run to four games.
Jurgen Klopp‘s side are a shadow of their former selves and desperately need to find a route out of this slump with an almighty scrap for a top four place now facing the Reds.
Like the whole football world, the media were in disbelief at events at Anfield, and here’s the key analysis from the harrowing defeat.Liverpool’s “aura of greatness” is no more and the Reds are now in “a full-blown crisis”…
To write that was the Mirror’s David Maddock, who reflected on a result that “sends shockwaves around the English game”:
It is a defeat that sends shockwaves around the English game, and not just because it ends the second longest home unbeaten run in Premier League history.
It also removes this team’s aura of greatness.
It was the Liverpool Echo’s Paul Gorst who said Klopp’s side are now in “a full-blown crisis”, also stating that the Reds are “as poor as they’ve been in years”:
A four-game winless run has just become a full-blown crisis.
And given how wondrous this Liverpool team have been for some time under Klopp, it is no exaggeration to suggest this is as poor as they have been in years right now.
The half-way mark of the season has only just been reached, but Neil Jones, of Goal.com, thinks this was a result that already ends Liverpool’s title defence:
The damage was done – both tonight and, probably, in terms of their title challenge too.
With a depressing assessment, the Liverpool Echo’s Ian Doyle said the priority right now should not even be about fighting for top four, but instead on just actually scoring a goal:
Exactly halfway through the season, Liverpool can forget about defending the title. They can forget about a top-four berth.
They just need to concentrate on one thing. And that’s scoring again. Time to go back to basics.
The only way for Liverpool to get the season back on track is to bring in new players this transfer window, in the view of Maddock:
And the painful truth for Jurgen Klopp is, he needs major surgery – and new blood – to save Liverpool’s season.
Taking a results-based view of the recent run, Jones is in disbelief at how the Reds wasted a “kind” festive period and building momentum after thrashing Crystal Palace 7-0:
The fixture list was kind to them over the festive period and they didn’t take advantage. Their momentum was checked and they haven’t been able to get it back.Reporters are shocked by how the Reds are so out of form, so easy to play against and still falling foul to the same old problems…
First off, the Mail’s Ian Ladyman described the display as “too recognisable” to those of recent times, as it repeated the same traits of being “too slow” and “too predictable”:
But that doesn’t disguise the fact that this was too recognisable from Liverpool and not in a good way. Too much of it was too slow. Too much of it was sideways. Too much was predictable.
Doyle bemoaned Klopp’s side coming unstuck to the same plan from opposition – that being sitting back, forcing the Reds into hopeless crosses before nicking an inevitable soft goal:
Stick players behind the ball. Let the Reds have it out wide. Head possession away. And then look to threaten on the counter-attack or set-pieces. So easy. Yet so, so effective, especially with no fans inside Anfield to roar Liverpool on in the closing stages.
But Burnley are the type of side which can tolerate high, whipped crosses from deep. Liverpool spent the first 60 minutes failing to deliver enough low crosses in advanced areas which are more difficult to deal with.
As such, right from the first minute their twin approach was evident: the strikers took it in turn to block off the passing lane to him from the defenders, positioning themselves between the No. 6 and the ball at every turnover in play.
Gorst said recent games have shown that opponents have not only sussed how to stop the Reds, but also found the ideal “blueprint” to beat them:
A blueprint has seemingly been unearthed by opposition managers. Sit in, dig deep and wait until the final quarter to go forward.
It worked for Sam Allardyce and Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer before paying off in spectacular fashion for a delirious Dyche here.
Liverpool’s changes didn’t have the desired effect, though. Neither Oxlade-Chamberlain nor Origi took their chance.
Wasteful, wasteful, wasteful from the Belgian. It was to sum up his team’s night.
Meanwhile, Doyle found one small positive in Joel Matip‘s comeback as he labelled the centre-back “easily Liverpool’s best player” on the night:
One good interception before break and a lot of wondering when the assistant referee was going to put his flag up. Easily Liverpool’s best player.Members of the media started the inquest into Liverpool’s collapse, picking out several contributing factors…
Ladyman assessed that a loss of creativity is the main problem that has taken the Reds to this point:
No, Liverpool’s problems this season have been at the other end and that killed them again here. Liverpool simply do not create chances the way they used to.
Bascombe said that Klopp’s side have lost their “slickness and balance”, but feels the biggest problem is a lack of confidence in front of goal:
But the attacking slickness which brought the title has gone. So too has that balance between the different positions, although the defeat could be attributed to dwindling confidence in front of goal.
Meanwhile, Maddock believes Liverpool are suffering most from a “devastating loss of belief and identity”:
But make no mistake, Liverpool really are suffering a devastating loss of belief and identity, their confidence shattered by a total lack of threat in front of goal that threatens not only their title chances, but their prospects of finishing in the top four.
Andy Dunn, also of the Mirror, says the players are simply running on empty, but also feels Liverpool have been missing “that extra bit of hunger and motivation” this season:
But this is a squad that has been running on a torrent of adrenaline for over two seasons. But maybe their mental and physical exertions over such a prolonged period are taking a toll.
They dominated Burnley yet lacked that extra bit of hunger, that extra bit of motivation and, in the end, succumbed to this shock defeat.
Bascombe suggested that the struggles are the result of the crippling injury list, but also a team that is adapting to a change of style in midfield:
Then there is the reluctance of the full-backs to play as wingers without the defensive security of the world’s best defender. […] We can’t ignore the most inconsistent period for the once lethal front three.
Finally, Dunn believes the players and Klopp himself are badly missing the lift of the Anfield crowd during this slump:
And while they are far from alone in this – in fact, to some extent, every club is in the same boat – Klopp has a team that would dearly love the lift from its fans.
And even Klopp looks like he needs a lift, something to spark him back to his inspirational self.
Jürgen Klopp's pre-match press conference takes place at 1.30pm GMT today - watch it live with us.
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Jürgen Klopp offered a frank assessment after Liverpool were beaten 1-0 by Burnley at Anfield on Thursday evening.
The Reds suffered a first loss on home soil in the Premier League since April 2017 as Ashley Barnes swept in a late penalty to secure victory for the Clarets.
Afterwards, Klopp answered questions from journalists during his post-match press conference. Read on for a summary of what the manager had to say…
On whether he feels luck is not quite with Liverpool at the moment...
No, it is not the luckiest period of our lives, for sure not. But I think it would be a bit cheap to put it all on that; that we have not enough luck or in a specific moments. I think our problem is the decision-making in the moment and decisions are based on information I give obviously and the mood you are in, so how confident you are to do it in really small spaces and stuff like this. That's why I said what I said. That’s the reason why we didn’t score in these moments. It is not cool to mention it now but we won games with lesser possession against Burnley, with lesser chances against Burnley and we won them. Tonight we didn’t win because we didn’t score in the situations. When I look at the game back now and when I think about it – in all the interviews I had enough time to think a little bit about it – how is it possible that you lose that game? But we lost it. That’s our and that means my fault.
On his side being capable of putting a run together...
Look, how silly would that be if I sit here now, losing against Burnley, didn’t score for the last three or four games – I don't know exactly – and now I talk about the title race? How silly would that be? It's just we have to win football games – it was always like this. For this we have to score goals, there is no doubt about it. That's what we have to change and have to do better. If things don't work, you have to work harder, do the right things more often, longer and more consistent, all these kind of things. But not talking like it is an easy situation, it's not. It shows a lot of things. It's incredible how consistent the boys were but that was never something that anybody should have taken for granted because now we see they are all human beings, that's how it is. And now I have to make clear about what we have to do in the right moments and then we will score goals again.
On getting 'belief back into' his players...
It’s the job a manager or a coach has to do. I'm not the first one who has that situation and I will not be the last one, but it is not helping if I tell you now what I will tell the boys and stuff like this. Anyway, about this specific game, I first have to think about it because after the game I just did interviews. It is still not rocket science, but it didn’t work out again tonight. It's not the first game it didn’t work out for two, three, four games or whatever. That's what we take. It's not about the performance, it’s decisive moments. We have to get better in the decisive moments again, we have to become ourselves again in the decisive moments. Not in the build-up, that's all good, and how we do different things, but in the last third, in the last moment, the decision-making is in the moment not how it should be. Now everybody will talk about it, it is not nice, that makes the problem not smaller, it makes it rather bigger and we still have to change it. That's what we will do.
On the confidence of the players…
We can do with this group, we can play much better football, that is my concern. That is what I am thinking about. The confidence is not on the highest level, I think that is so obvious that I don’t have to mention it – you can see it in specific moments. It is like 90 per cent of all what the boys did all of the time is still there, but the decisive 10 per cent in the moment is missing. So, now we have to work on this decisive 10 per cent. That’s how it is – we always work on them, but now we have to dig a little bit deeper to get them back.
On the decision making in the final third of the pitch…
They have the right information, they get the right information, but when I say it is my fault maybe I was not convincing enough, I could not give enough confidence, that’s my job as well. I cannot say we are not confident enough and then say, ‘I don’t know why that happened.’ That is how I understand the job. It is about crossing in the right moment, passing in the right moment and all these kind of things. It is not that we gave the wrong information, but you need to be in the right mood to use it. You have to be brave in between the lines, you have to turn in between the lines, you have to pass the ball, you have to get it in between the lines and then you pass in behind the line and then full-back is coming from outside, is there and is crossing the ball. Again, it is not rocket science but obviously it didn’t happen tonight and I think, how I understand it for myself – and that is the only thing that is important for me in this case – that it is my fault.
Premier League (19), Anfield
January 21, 2021
Goal: Barnes pen 83′Changeable faces, familiar story
More changes, another injury – the latest to Jordan Henderson.
Joel Matip did return, though, giving Liverpool a more natural presence at the back and an assured figure on recovery runs, defending high and long diagonal passes and on set-piece duty.
At this moment, Xherdan Shaqiri appears to have earned himself a starting spot on a more regular basis than has been seen in a long time – taking Curtis Jones‘ spot from earlier in the season, in effect.
The pattern of the game was very much the same though: loads of possession, loads of aimless, pointless crosses.
Trent alone made no fewer than 21, between open play and set-pieces. Precisely one found a team-mate.Forwards and finishing
Origi and Ox started, Firmino and Salah were dropped to the bench. Was it the right call to drop them? Arguably so, given recent games.
Did it pay off? Obviously not, given the scoreline.
Obviously, the big chance of the night – of the new year, of the month, maybe of the season, who knows – fell to Origi and his one-on-one run.
Liverpool have now missed their last eight clear-cut chances in the league, and 10/11 including the Villa game.
0-0 at half time, eight league halves without a goal.
— Andrew Beasley ? (@BassTunedToRed) January 21, 2021
He missed it. Maybe Salah would have scored. Maybe not, we’ll never know – it doesn’t matter either, because the current run of missed chances involves the entire team, not just one player or even just three.
As for Oxlade, he has never, ever worked while playing in the front three and his selection there and not in midfield seemed odd.The Anfield adventure comes to an end
It had to end at some stage and, setting aside emotion (or as it feels right now, bile and bitterness), perhaps Burnley deserve some sort of medal.
They were the only team to not lose at Anfield last season and they’re the only team to win at the ground in damn close to four years (since April 2017 to be precise).
That defeat, that record coming to an end, is a hard one to take.
It’s a very tangible piece of evidence as to the uncertain nature of the team at present and the struggles being faced to get back on track.
If it acts as a catalyst for equally tangible improvements and a reality check as to what’s needed in various areas of the team, it could yet prove to be worth it.
A more worrying record is that we’ve now won just three of the last 10 league games.Trent…
It’s unfair, given the five-matches-without-a-win run in the league, to single out a sole player.
So let’s not point fingers and place blame at the fact the right-back has been crap – and he absolutely has – but instead look at underlying issues and possible fixes.
Neco Williams hasn’t had much of a chance this year, but his own form wasn’t great either, so a like-for-like switch isn’t entirely feasible other than for a cup game perhaps – which we have, next.
Trent had Covid and it’s entirely possible this is having a lingering effect, given the glaring lack of sharpness in his game, the hesitancy in his touch, the lack of aggression and acceleration on show every single game at present.
But if he’s going to play, the team have to mitigate his lack of impact where possible – not still play the same way and expect him to produce the same results.
It’s painfully clear he can’t at present, and that’s in turn meaning the team can’t, either.
He needs to be helped out far more if he’s staying in the team, because he’s struggling in both halves of the pitch.League and cup
A nice break from league action then, to focus on our one-game unbeaten streak in the FA Cup.
It’s probably safe to say United will offer a sterner test than Villa’s collection of college kids did.
Klopp has two choices here: play a first-choice XI and bludgeon our way back to scoring and winning form, whenever that happens, or else try something utterly different – shape, formation, personnel, whatever.
There’s a sour mood which has settled around the team at present, between injuries, results and the general locked-down nation, and only a big win is going to revitalise matters.
What could be better than a trip to the league leaders and our biggest rivals in a one-off knockout game, right? Right?!
Liverpool’s astonishing Anfield unbeaten run was brought to an end with a toothless performance as Burnley snatched a win from the spot to resign the Reds to a 1-0 defeat.Liverpool 0-1 Burnley
Premier League (19), Anfield
January 21, 2021
Goal: Barnes 83′Alisson – 6 (out of 10)
It was not a strenuous night for the Brazillian, but he was at the heart of the biggest moment of the game after giving away a penalty – albeit with what looked to have been little, if any, contact.
Was an otherwise commanding performance but, unfortunately, his strong hand against Barnes previously, despite being offside, is forgotten as a result.Trent Alexander-Arnold – 5
A cross anyone? Look, it was a night to forget from Trent’s right-boot as some sailed above the heads of his teammates or sprayed into the stands, but some did require timely interventions.
Defensively he was not asked too many questions but was when he was it wasn’t entirely convincing – it was at the other end of the field where he could not make time and space count.
Joel Matip – 8 (Man of the Match)
After a four-game absence, the big-man was back for the first time in 2021 and what a welcome sight it was.
His usual front foot approach and desire to find his forward players was clear to see, and his body positioning snuffed out the few chances Burnley did have.Fabinho – 7
Arguably the non-event of his challenge at half-time was the liveliest the game had been up to that point, but performance-wise it was another with few faults.
Could have done better to block Barnes’ run into the penalty area but this one was not at the hands of the defence, and he continues to lay claim to Liverpool’s most important player of the campaign.Andy Robertson – 6
Acted as the natural outlet once more and his work ethic was clear to see, as we have come to expect from the Scotsman.
His link-up with Mane looked the most promising early on, but another guilty of too many ill-directed crosses.
Thiago – 6
Despite suggestions to the contrary, did move Liverpool up the pitch in a timely fashion – and his cross-field pass to Trent after manoeuvring through midfield was particularly pleasing.
Did, however, gift possession from time to time in a period of particular sloppiness by the Reds and you would say, by his standards, the worst of the bunch for the Reds so far.Gini Wijnaldum – 6
Captaining the team from the start for the first time, a more advanced and expansive game awaited as Thiago manned the stations from deep.
Popped up in pockets around the penalty area and his brilliant forward drive in the second from his own half ought to have created a goal for Liverpool.Xherdan Shaqiri – 7
A midfield berth once more in a position he looks to have locked in for the season was bright and he had a number of almost moments in his first back-to-back start since 2019.
Did work himself nicely into shooting positions but such is the Reds’ fortunes of late, was unable to hit the sweet spot, but his link-up play showed promise for the future.Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 5
It was a place on the right-wing for Ox in just his second start of the season, a position he has not enjoyed previously.
And it was a similar story this time out, playing on the periphery with a tendency to drift and thus leaving the right-flank vacant and with the ball not quite sticking at his feet.
Divock Origi – 5
The first half for the Belgian came with a number of near chances, thanks to tame finishes, and the best opportunity of the opening 45 minutes having run clear on goal only to find the crossbar.
Was very much representative of Liverpool’s goalscoring woes of late.
It would be Origi’s last ‘meaningful’ action in what was his first league start of the season after being withdrawn before the hour mark.Sadio Mane – 6
As the only member of the usual front three to start, he was the focal point of the attack for the first hour but had little in the way of his own chances on goal.
Like in recent games, the No. 10 did show flashes of breaking the shackles but poor decision making that has swept through the side agonisingly saw chances go begging. He now has just two goals in his last 14 league outings.Substitutes
Mohamed Salah (on for Oxlade-Chamberlain, 57′) – 6 –
Did force Pope into making a meaningful save minutes after his introduction and was perhaps guilty of wanting it on his left-foot and the shift meant the chance disappeared.
Roberto Firmino (on for Origi, 57′) – 6 –
Two golden chances for the Brazillian, one wayward of his own making and another agonisingly cleared when it looked destined for the net. A timely rest here, but he’s lost his spark.
Takumi Minamino (on for Shaqiri, 83′) – N/A –
Came on after Burnley scored, but what has the guy got to do to get a chance?
Subs not used: Kelleher, Phillips, Tsimikas, N.Williams, Milner, JonesJurgen Klopp – 5
The manager’s animation on the touch-line was no doubt representative of the entire Reds faithful as this was a performance devoid of spark and ideas.
It’s now five league games without a win and four without a goal and the light at the end of the tunnel to end such a run seems to be dimmer.
The result means the 68-game unbeaten run comes to a grinding end and it did not deserve such a finish, with the performance not one representative of the side Klopp has built.
Now it is back to the drawing board, but they don’t have time to sulk as Man United await on Sunday – it might be a cup game but it now needs to act as one where a response is recorded as a corner needs to be turned with a testing run on the horizon.
Liverpool’s long unbeaten home run came to a devastating end on Thursday night, as the Reds lost 1-0 at home to Burnley.Liverpool 0-1 Burnley
Premier League (19), Anfield
January 21, 2021
Goal: Barnes pen 83′
After a poor run of results, Jurgen Klopp‘s champions needed a win against a well-drilled Clarets outfit.
Despite playing slightly better after the break, the hosts’ end product continued to be woeful and they were punished late on.
Terrible. Losing the home record was always likely in an empty Anfield. But all told we are seriously lethargic
— Dan Clubbe (@dan_clubbe) January 21, 2021
#LFC were always going to lose a league game at Anfield eventually but that feels big for different reasons. Namely that they just no longer look like a title-challenging team. Injuries a key reason, no doubt about it, but I didn’t expect to be saying that so early in the season.
— David Lynch (@dmlynch) January 21, 2021
Losing the Anfield record in the most pitiful circumstances. Liverpool so, so poor. No intensity, no belief, no movement. Don’t even look like scoring.
— Leanne Prescott (@_lfcleanne) January 21, 2021
It’s weird. I shouldn’t care this much, especially after we just won the title. The problem is we haven’t even had time to celebrate, no supporters in grounds, no parade.
This season is just an awful grind, nothing to really savour. And right now constant dread of the next game.
— Rory Greenfield (@RoryGreenfield) January 21, 2021
“Team is broken. Big clearout needed at the end of this season.”
– Michael Pugh on Facebook.
Liverpool lost. In more ways than one.
— Jim Boardman (@JimBoardman) January 21, 2021
This really hurts.
— Ben Kelly (@bkelly776) January 21, 2021
— Paul Senior (@PaulSenior1) January 21, 2021
“Disgraceful I hope Klopp comes out and says it.”
– RER on the forums.
Such a brainless, idiotic performance. Cross after cross against a team desperate to do nothing but deal with crosses and long balls. Going to log off Twitter tonight because I'm frustrated and will doubtless say something stupid. We're in real trouble at the moment.
— And Could He Play (@andcouldheplay7) January 21, 2021For some, Liverpool’s title hopes are over…
Oh well, being champions was fun while it lasted.
Shambolic run of form – a team completely ground down by injuries, bad luck and individuals slipping well below their best.
— Henry Jackson (@HenryJackson87) January 21, 2021
Dreadful. Forget a title race, we’ll be lucky to get top four if this isn’t rectified very, very quickly.
— Ste Hoare (@stehoare) January 21, 2021
“The title is slipping away and 2 more weeks of this and top 4 will be the focus.”
– Ross Mills on Facebook.
Full time: Liverpool 0-1 Burnley.
Liverpool's 68-game unbeaten run stretching back to April 2017 is over. So too, could be their hopes of retaining the title. A disastrous night for the Reds.
— Paul Gorst (@ptgorst) January 21, 2021
“Could be 7th come next league game”
– Walshy07 on the forums.
PL title race over for Liverpool. Have to concentrate on finishing in top 4 and doing well cup competitions now.
— Nas (@Nascelotti) January 21, 2021Oxlade-Chamberlain fluffed his chance to impress…
Not convinced Ox is a football player, anymore.
— Kevin (@emptyMINDZ) January 21, 2021
Ox is on his way out the club I reckon.
— Kevin Thompson (@KevThompson) January 21, 2021
“Chamberlain is really, really bad.”
– ILLOK on the forums.
Ox in the front 3 has never worked. Ever. Not even in pre-season. Absolutely no idea why Klopp tried it again.
— Matt Ladson (@mattladson) January 21, 2021There were also real concerns about Trent’s form…
Completely fallen apart. The players look devoid of ideas but they've clearly been overplayed – even the ones with alternatives in the squad week after week.
Trent Alexander-Arnold case in point; he's done nothing during this run that Neco Williams couldn't.
— Jack Lusby (@LusbyJack) January 21, 2021
Genuinely think that Trent performance is one of the worst I’ve ever seen in a Liverpool shirt. Would have rather had Johnny Vegas on the pitch
— Jack Moore (@Jack_Moore7) January 21, 2021
— Owen Collins (@OGBCollins) January 21, 2021
Let us know your thoughts on the game in the comments section.
Liverpool suffered a 1-0 defeat at home to Burnley in the Premier League on Thursday night.
It's the Reds' first loss at Anfield in the league since April 2017 – ending the club-record unbeaten streak at 68 – as Ashley Barnes fired in an 83rd-minute penalty.
Divock Origi came closest to delivering a breakthrough for the hosts but struck the crossbar towards the end of the first half.
Despite dominating possession and forcing goalkeeper Nick Pope into a number of saves, Jürgen Klopp's men were unable to take anything from the game.
Joel Matip made his comeback in the fixture as he replaced the injured Jordan Henderson at centre-half.
Meanwhile, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Divock Origi were handed starts, coming in for Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino, who both began on the bench.
The Reds made a strong start to proceedings and could've gone ahead after seven minutes. However, Sadio Mane's goal-bound header off a corner was blocked by Dwight McNeil.
At the other end, Burnley created their first opportunity, which required Alisson Becker to make a smart intervention. The No.1 initially fumbled a cross aimed at Chris Wood but pounced on the rebound to deny Barnes' close-range shot.
Liverpool dominated the first half and Xherdan Shaqiri went close to providing a breakthrough with a powerful effort from distance going fractionally wide.
The hosts' next two strikes at goal forced Pope into saves. Oxlade-Chamberlain's drilled shot went straight at the Burnley stopper before he got down low to keep out a hit from Origi.
Origi tested Pope again just past the half-hour mark with a shot right down the middle of the goal following a Mane-led counter-attack.
In minute 39, Andy Robertson was played in down the left and finished off the spell of pressure with another strike kept out by the gloves of Pope.
But the best chance of the half arrived two minutes before half-time when Origi pounced on a mistake from Ben Mee and ran through on goal. The striker tried to side-foot his finish in the top right corner but it struck the crossbar and bounced clear.
It was more of the same following in the interval, with Pope keeping out a well-struck effort from Trent Alexander-Arnold that was heading in.
Salah and Firmino were introduced to the contest in the 57th minute, and the former came close to making an instant impact.
Georginio Wijnaldum picked up possession off Alisson and carried the ball all the way to the Burnley penalty area. The No.5 laid the ball off to Salah, who was then denied at the near post by Pope.
After Burnley went close through Johann Gudmundsson, Firmino didn't connect properly when presented with a chance in front of goal and flashed wide following good pressure from Robertson.
The deadlock was finally broken late on after Alisson was adjudged to have brought down Barnes in the penalty area. The Burnley forward took responsibility from the spot himself and converted.
As Liverpool searched for a way back into the affair, Firmino attempted to flick a Alexander-Arnold shot towards goal but couldn't angle it in.
Joel Matip starts as Liverpool make three changes for this evening's Premier League fixture with Burnley at Anfield.
The centre-back returns from injury in defence in place of Jordan Henderson, who is ruled out due to a minor fitness issue.
Elsewhere, Divock Origi and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain come in for Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino as a trio of alterations are made to the team deployed against Manchester United on Sunday.
Kostas Tsimikas is back among the substitutes after a knee problem. Georginio Wijnaldum captains the side.
Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Matip, Robertson, Thiago, Wijnaldum, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Shaqiri, Mane, Origi.
Subs: Kelleher, Milner, Firmino, Salah, Jones, Minamino, Tsimikas, Phillips, N. Williams.
Joel Matip and Kostas Tsimikas have been named in Liverpool's matchday squad for this evening's fixture with Burnley at Anfield.
Matip returns after recovering from an adductor issue sustained against West Bromwich Albion on December 27 that ruled him out of the champions’ last four matches.
Tsimikas, meanwhile, will be involved again for the first time since picking up a knee injury in the Champions League clash with FC Midtjylland in Denmark on December 9.
Full team news will be released on Liverpoolfc.com at 7pm GMT.