Liverpool once again stuttered against a supposed ‘lower opposition’ as Burnley somehow took a point away from Anfield on Saturday.
Key Talking Points
Liverpool once again fail to break down stubborn opponents
It was one of the big criticisms, if not the biggest criticism, of Jürgen Klopp’s side last season – and judging by this game, it is something that the German boss has failed to remedy this season so far.
Liverpool showed total dominance from start to finish, racking up a colossal 35 shots at stand-in Burnley keeper Nick Pope’s goal, with nine of those on target: yet the Reds still only managed to score one goal.
On a day where top four rivals Manchester City destroyed Watford 6-0 away from home, it begs the question as to whether Liverpool’s forward line is clinical enough.
Defensive errors will continue to cost the Reds points
Anyone else getting a sense of Groundhog Day?
Every time Liverpool play, win, lose or draw, there never seems to be a game that goes by where the fans are not left talking about something that’s gone wrong at the back.
Klopp: “We still have room for improvement. We could have won nearly all our games. But we have to improve.”
— Anfield HQ (@AnfieldHQ) September 16, 2017
Liverpool’s two centre backs for the afternoon, Matip and Klavan, both found themselves marking opposition striker Chris Wood, who still managed to get the ball away from the pair, to feed Scott Arfield who came up with a composed finish to score the first goal of the game.
After silly errors at the back arguably cost Liverpool three points against Sevilla in the Champions League on Wednesday night, this latest gaff is sure to send fans and pundits alike into overdrive about the glaringly obvious frailty in this Liverpool side.
Return of Philippe Coutinho
Many fans were hoping this would be THE talking point for all the right reasons, praying that Coutinho would inspire Liverpool to a resounding victory today.
Although that is not the case, Coutinho’s return was a most welcome sight. The Brazilian maestro strolled around the Anfield turf as if he’d never been away, dictating most of what was good about Liverpool’s play – and really getting stuck in with the physical side of things too when called upon.
He showed a bit of ring rust in places, but having him available for selection again is a massive boost for Klopp and the team.
Simon Mignolet – 7/10: Largely a passenger for the most part of the game, having absolutely nothing to do in the first half apart from pick the ball out of the back of his own net. Made a smart save late on to deny Burnley a winner.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 6/10: Relatively untroubled at the back and looks so confident on the ball, but his delivery into the box was a bit wayward at times. Generally tidy game and got forward to support attacks well.
Ragnar Klavan – 5/10: At fault for the Burnley goal along with Matip, doubling up on Wood and giving Arfield all the time in the world to pick his spot. Didn’t do much else wrong, but this error was so costly.
Joel Matip – 6/10: As mentioned above, partly at fault for the opening goal, not being strong enough with Wood, but looked leaps and bounds ahead of Klavan. Made some impressive, marauding runs out from the back and showed tidy feet when linking up with attacks.
Andrew Robertson – 6/10: Not as impressive as his first appearance for the Reds, but steady all the same. Similarly to Alexander-Arnold, his delivery was left wanting on occasions, but was an eager runner down the left and took up some good positions.
James Milner – 5/10: Didn’t really notice that the captain for the day was on the pitch really. Milner didn’t make any fatal errors, nor did he light up the attack, but he gave his usual hard-working shift for the team.
Philippe Coutinho – 7/10: One of the few positives to take from the day was this man’s bright, creative, tenacious, energetic display. He was central to everything good about Liverpool’s play and his link up play with the front three was mouthwatering at times.
Emre Can – 6/10: The only reason he doesn’t get a five is because of his delicious assist for Salah’s goal. Other than that, he went missing and, once again, gave away so many needless, silly fouls that could have proved more costly on another day.
Roberto Firmino – 5/10: Not one of his better days. Largely absent for most of the game, but showed some nice touches when linking up with Coutinho, Firmino, Sturridge and Salah. We need more from him in games like this to pick the deadlock and turn one point into three.
Mohamed Salah – 8/10: Once again, the stand-out performer. What a start this man has made to his Liverpool career. Constantly making dangerous runs in behind the defense, never-say-die attitude, wonderfully taken goal and showed good understanding with the rest of the attacking players.
Daniel Sturridge – 7/10: An impressive showing from Sturridge, and valuable game time under his belt, too. Looked dangerous and sharp, also showing another side to his game with some great pressing and passing. Shooting was a bit off-key, but everything else was very promising.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 5/10: Pretty ineffective, but wasn’t exactly given much time to make an impact on the game.
Dominic Solanke – 6/10: Came on at the same time as Chamberlain, but put his stamp on the game far more noticeably. Could well have sealed all three points in the final few minutes, but his effort came off the crossbar.
Man of the match: Mohamed Salah